Earlier today I finished listening to The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and multiple times while reading it I had the thought that The Great Depression needs a video game. The first time was when it was mentioned that one of the people traveling to California seeking a better life had died of dysentery. This instantly made me think of The Oregon Trail and I wondered why they never made a Great Depression version of that game. Then the second time was during a shootout with unionized workers and strike busters.
The strike and strike busting scenes also reminded me of reading Blood on the Forge with the workers that were brought in right before a strike was expected and how racism contributed to the issue. I couldn’t help imagining a video game that is part Oregon Trail meets Red Dead Redemption meets The Grapes of Wrath.
It is interesting how some interesting times in history are almost ignored by video game companies. There are countless video games about medieval Europe and WWII but there are few about The Protestant Reformation, The Great Depression, or The Korean War. It feels like any of these time periods could be written about and made into interesting video games.
After finishing The Four Winds I sent a text to one of my friends that there needs to be an Assassin’s Creed game set in The Great Depression and the Templars could be Pinkertons. His response was that Pinkertons would make excellent Templars.
I don’t know exactly what this game would be like but following the tried and true story of a family having to leave the dust bowl of America seeking a better life in California and finding the road and their destination as unwelcoming as the land they leave behind. Because it would be a video game there would have to be conflict that can be resolved with violence which brings in the Pinkertons.
This is only one option for the game as they could also set the game in coal country or the Rust Belt. Either about a Harlan County coal miner making the Pinkertons and scabs disappear at the bottom of a mine or a Pittsburgh steel mill worker struggling to keep order as new workers are brought in daily to force immigrant workers to keep working out of fear of losing their jobs to Southern African-Americans.
Or it could be about all three and the protagonist is a union agitator that travels the country helping workers fight for their rights and showing them who their real enemies are.