Mad Max wasn't just a good movie — Mad Max was the kind of film that advanced its genre. If Alien redefined science fiction and Indiana Jones helped to redefine adventure, then Mad Max redefined post-apocalypse.
It wasn't all about hellfire and brimstone anymore — there were irradiated wastelands and the scum of humanity scouring the earth. The threat wasn't so much supernatural as it was based in humanity itself. The film introduced the idea that being vaporized in a nuclear holocaust wasn't the worst fate one could suffer.
Mad Max didn't just influence film — it had an impact on video games as well. While it may have taken a bit longer for those elements to show through, games have been looking to Mad Max as an inspiration for years. If a game takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, chances are that at least a few Mad Max motifs will make an appearance.
There may not be much in the way of official Mad Max-style gaming, but there are plenty of choices for those who wish to wander the wastelands. In honor of the franchise's upcoming return to theaters (and gaming later in the year), we've chosen the best games inspired by Mad Max:
Release date: Nov. 5, 1995
When it comes to car combat, there's no better example than Twisted Metal. While it doesn't necessarily share Mad Max's setting, the idea of using cars as weapons in the films was a clear inspiration. If you want fast-paced battles between cars slinging rockets at each other, there's really no better place to go than Twisted Metal.
Release date: June 30, 1997
Twisted Metal may be the more recognizable franchise, but Carmageddon's basically a Mad Max racing game — probably because it was almost an officially licensed Mad Max game. Looking back, it's easy to recognize that the setting, characters and car combat were all clearly inspired by Mad Max, even if it never ended up as an official title.
Release date: Oct. 20, 2009
If Mad Max were remade as a comedic first-person shooter with various RPG elements, you'd end up with Borderlands. Almost everything about the game's world and characters was directly inspired by the Mad Max films: the bandits, the vehicles, the weaponry... in all honesty, it's basically Mad Max with more fart jokes.
Release date: Oct. 4, 2011
Fans have never really gotten a chance to play through an official Mad Max shooter, but Rage isn't all that far off. The game's tone, story and enemies all feel as if they were lifted straight out of Mad Max, while the title's mechanics were developed by the same studio that created Doom. It's hard to get a better pedigree than that.
Release date: Sep. 30, 1997
If you want to play Mad Max before the official game hits this September, go ahead and pick up any one of the Fallout titles. They may be a bit slower and more methodical than traditional action games, but anyone who wants to wander a deadly irradiated wasteland needs to play through the Fallout series. Fallout 3 is typically considered the best in the series, and it's not all that expensive on Steam — it's the perfect game to play before Mad Max hits theaters.
When it was first released, Mad Max shifted what people thought post-apocalyptic stories could be. It wasn't just movies, either — it's obvious that Mad Max helped reshape the genre across all mediums, and these five games are just the tip of the iceberg. With any luck, the new Mad Max game will live up to the standards set by these titles. Judging by the game's debut footage, that probably won't be an issue.
Mad Max: Fury Road is set to hit theaters on May 15. The Mad Max game will be released on Sep. 1.