Feature Article

How Games Became Obsessed With Nuclear Weapons

War never changes.

Whether it's video games, movies, or TV shows, entertainment is filled with iconic tools of warfare, and much of the stories we love are defined by them; the Pulse Rifle is synonymous with the Aliens franchise; the Man With No Name's mystique and effortless cool is heightened by the revolver he whips out in the squint of an eye; and the sound of a bullet from the Intervention hitting an enemy immediately conjures up Call of Duty-flavoured nostalgia.

These weapons are the focus of Loadout, a new show that will identify some of pop culture's most influential armaments and explore them in-depth. Each week, host Dave Jewitt will tackle a different weapon, delve into its origins, examine how it has been used, and lay out the impact it has had on pop culture.

In Episode 1, Loadout takes hold of the revolver, a legendary weapon that has been present from the earliest days of cinema to the current era of video games. Why is it so popular? For Episode 2, Dave takes a look at The Intervention, a weapon that Call of Duty players will be intimately familiar with and, given its status as arguably the most meme-able video game weapon, you may know it even if you haven't played the shooter series. For Episode 3, Dave delves into the world of Warhammer 40k to explore the history of an iconic sci-fi weapon.

Episode four delves into the history of the rocket launcher, a staple weapon for video games. Its use spans everything from first-person shooters like Quake and Doom, to fighting games like Smash Bros., courtesy of Metal Gear's Solid Snake. But the origins of the rocket launcher might surprise you. Episode five is all about the Pulse Rifle, which fans of Aliens will no doubt be very familiar with. The Pulse Rifle is almost as recognisable as the Xenomorph itself and went on to be featured in games, as well as influence other science fiction material.

For Episode 6, Dave takes a closer look--or lends a sharper ear--to silencers, one of the most popular tools used in video games and movies for stealth. Whether it's the James Bond franchise, Mission Impossible, Metal Gear Solid, or Splinter Cell, our entertainment loves to depict people quietly killing their way through bad guys using guns that make barely a whistle as the bullet exits its chamber. In reality, though, the silencer is anything but silent.

Finally, in the season finale of Loadout, nuclear weapons go under the microscope. Why is our pop culture so obsessed with stories that take place in a world ravaged by one of the most terrifying weapons known to humankind, and why do we give player control over them in video games?

New episodes of Loadout will air every Saturday and you can find them on GameSpot's YouTube channel--make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode.

Episode 7: Nuclear Weapons

Episode 6: Silencers

Episode 5: The Pulse Rifle

Episode 4: The Rocket Launcher

Episode 3: The Bolter

Episode 2: The Intervention

Episode 1: The Revolver

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Tamoor Hussain

Tamoor Hussain is the Managing Editor of GameSpot, he has been covering the video game industry for a really long time, having worked in news, features, reviews, video, and more. He loves Bloodborne and other From Software titles, is partial to the stealth genre, and can hold his own in fighting games too. Fear the Old Blood.

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