Something struck me (not literally) when I was playing Fallout 3 the other day, as I was trapsing across the wastelands, randomly encountering giant scorpions and protectrons and scavenging through the wrecks of abandoned buildings. It was a feeling that something didn't quite fit with the game.
I'd been playing Fallout 3 for atleast twenty odd hours at that moment, and generally enjoying the gameplay. So when I did have the realisation it felt like something had clicked into place and explained why it wasn't a 10/10 for me. It wasn't so much a straight-forward, overwhelming feeling of 'THIS IS WRONG!' so much as a realisation that some aspects of the setting and art-style didn't sit right with (my own) vision of a post-apocalyptic future.
I'd recently been watching some of the new Deux Ex: Human Revolution footage and repeatedly been impressed by the sheer scale of the cyberpunk imagery; and even though Human Revolution is only set in the near future it'd led to question what sort of technology I thought a society a hundred or two hundred years in the future would have.
Typically the standard vision of the post-apocalyptic future is either one based around the immediate after-effects of an apocalypse or set in the distant future of a post-apocalyptic world - a future in which much of the world has become barren or inhospitable. So in a sense they typically either depict the collapse of society or they depict the future hardship for humanity after the apocalypse.
Add to this maybe some sci-fi, some future technology, the scarcity of resources, usually the constant fear of death and you have something nearing the 'standard' post-apocalyptic story. My take on things:
For me atleast I imagine a vision of the post-apocalyptic future not unlike that of Fallout but crossed in part with Deus Ex: Human Revolution's sense of Cyberpunk aesthetics and Chronotrigger's dark wasteland future. Perhaps a nuclear holocaust has wiped out most of humanity in the distant past and left the earth largely barren, and scant groups of humans are left to pick at the carcass of what was once human progress. Vast, fully-automated factories sitting idle for decades, centuries - even millenia. Thrust into all of this chaos and madness the reader/the viewer/the player
would experience the struggle to survive.
...but that's just me, and my perspective. Obviously just about anything could spell the end for humanity - disease, overpopulation, zombies, meteors, aliens, Steve Guttenberg, the metric system, you name it and it could send us all to hell in a hand basket. So the question is: What does your future look like...?