Dieselpunk is a Punk Punk genre of Speculative Fiction based on the 1920s - 1950s period, spiced up with retro-futuristic innovations and occult elements. The dieselpunk narrative is characterized by conflict vs the undefeatable (nature, society, cosmic), strong use of technology, and Grey and Gray Morality. The protagonists are often Heroic Neutral and have low social status. Generally, dieselpunk can take inspiration from 1920s German Expressionist films, Film Noir, 1930s Pulp Magazines and Radio Dramas, Crime and wartime comics, period propaganda films and newsreels, wartime pinups, and other entertainment of the early 20th century. As this covers a broad spectrum, the precise sources of inspiration can vary greatly between dieselpunk works. Like Steam Punk, Dieselpunk is a genre dictated primarily by its aesthetics rather than by its thematic content. Both grime and glamour have their place in dieselpunk. Dieselpunk overlaps with Two-Fisted Tales and Raygun Gothic, but differs mostly in its Punk Punk theme. Two-Fisted Tales explore settings such as Heroic Fantasy, Space Opera, etc that are not properly a part of Dieselpunk, and Raygun Gothic tends to describe a period both chronologically and technologically later. Typically, Dieselpunk roots itself in urban and wartime settings of the 1920s to the late 1940s, both literally and figuratively 'down to earth'. A common point of divergence from our timeline is that The Great Depression never happened, leading to further economic and technological growth and less of the warmongering typical of the inter-war era. World War II may still happen in some Dieselpunk settings, see below. The term Dieselpunk was popularized by Lewis Pollak and Dan Ross in 2001 as the genre for their RPG Children of the Sun. Pollak stated that it was intended to be on the "darker, dirtier side of Steam Punk" and should be considered a "continuum between steampunk and Cyber Punk.". (On the other hand, noted reviewer Ken Hite described Children as "Not really diesel, and not really punk.") To be noted: unlike the 2000s, the Diesel-powered car in the 1930s was a rare curiosity, only a single model being put into small-scale production in Germany during that age (and almost exclusively used as a taxi), but on the other side the vast majority of the population could not afford cars back then. The life of an ordinary citizen was far deeper influenced by the oil-burning locomotive, bus, ocean liner or neighborhood power plant. Still, during this period steam engines were gradually being replaced by diesel engines in many areas.
GeneralVastness is key. This was the age of the Zeppelin, the modern battleship and the ocean liner, the flying-boat airliner, and the skyscraper. It also saw the first multinational corporations, large-scale social engineering, and mass political movements. World War I was still fresh in memory as the Great War, the most colossal conflict in the history of mankind. Man is dwarfed by his creations and things are subsumed into abstractions. Period technology encompasses everything found in Steam Punk, but internal combustion and electric power in combination with new materials (better alloys, plastics, etc) makes machinery lighter, stronger, and more versatile. The airliner is the prime example of this, but cars, trucks, tractors, and diesel-powered electrical generators are even more important in reshaping the world. Armored vehicles and useable submarines are less common but still important innovations. Wireless radio leads to the rise of broadcasting as an information medium. Anachronistic super-advanced technology, often of the Awesome, but Impractical variety, such as Giant Flyer, Spider Tank, Disintegrator Ray might occur. Such technology might be secret super weapons of a villain, or Homemade Inventions by the hero or his friends. Although the dieselpunk aesthetic can overlap with Raygun Gothic, and though dieselpunk is known for featuring Tesla technology and Wunderwaffen-style super-weapons, dieselpunk typically does not include transistor-based technology, other electronics or atomic power. In fact, another Punk Punk genre, Atompunk, was coined to describe fiction in this mode. Atompunk (such as the Fallout series and the comic book Fear Agent) takes inspiration from 1950s-era aesthetics and fashions such as Googie architecture and Jetsons-style technology, which typically lie outside the bounds of dieselpunk. The analogue sci-fi of Metropolis and Things To Come are closer to the dieselpunk tradition as it stands. Dieselpunk often focuses upon air travel and combat, including such ideas as literal "flying fortresses", air pirates, dirigibles, early UFOs, hotshot flyboy pilots, etc. Fascination for military hardware, weaponry and uniforms of the early 20th century is also often in evidence and a great amount of dieselpunk media is concerned with war, especially the Second World War and and fictional variations upon it. Owing to its pulp roots, dieselpunk is often very adventure-based, full of exotic locales such as Mysterious Antarctica, The Shangri-La, Hollow Earth etc. Some Geographic Flexibility is to be expected. Dieselpunk fiction can encompass the supernatural as well. In dieselpunk adventure, occult practices are Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, and maybe Magicians Are Wizards. The works of H.P. Lovecraft, tales of Nazi occult research, contemporary expeditions to 'mystical' places such as Egypt, and early research into relativity and quantum physics have greatly contributed to the occult mystique that informs dieselpunk. This tends to contrast with the 19th-century Gothic themes and spiritualism that show up in Steam Punk. As dieselpunk is a post-modern look at the past, it is not limited to the tropes and stereotypes that characterized fiction of the day — instead, it can use these tropes to comment upon the past and reinvent it. Dieselpunk (along with steampunk) can encompass a range of authorial voices and themes. Female characters in dieselpunk tend to be strong, encompassing flappers to pin-up girls and much more, and can include Rosie the Riveter-type action heroines, glamourous femme fatales, costumed crusaders, archaeologist badasses, dragon ladies, tough-talking reporters and other types common to pulp fiction of the era. Both male and female characters are typically Badass Normals with universal drivers' licenses. Sub-subgenres are listed below as possible options of exploration, but as these categorizations may only describe one or two works, if any, they should be taken with a grain of salt.
Diesel Deco/Deco PunkAlso called "Ottensian" Dieselpunk after Nick Ottens, some guy on the Internet, who postulated it. This is the most optimistic form of dieselpunk. Progress seems unstoppable and the future is bright. Things are designed to be stylish and opulent, ornamental and efficient at the same time. Think Bauhaus architecture and design, Art Deco, Expressionism, the 1939 New York World Fair. A good setting for a Science Hero.
Diesel NoirSimilar to Diesel Deco, but generally Darker and Edgier. Emphasizes the downside of economic and technological progress. Society is plagued by crime and corruption, technology seems to be at its most effective in producing increasingly effective weaponry. The occult basically amounts to Black Magic (including exotic religions), Sealed Evil in a Can might turn up in an archeological dig and subsequently have to be stopped to avoid The End of the World as We Know It.
Diesel Weird WarWorld War II is being waged (or World War I in some instances), but one or both sides are introducing superweapons, alien technology and/or occult forces into the mix, often with one or more Mad Scientists behind it all. For a less extreme variant, something like the real-life exploits of the nascent Special Air Service in collaboration with the Long Range Desert Group (briefly, Lawrence of Arabia upgraded with blast-incendiary explosives and "gunship jeeps"). (See Weird Historical War.)
Diesel DystopiaAlso called "Piecraftian" Diesel Punk, again named for some guy on the Internet. World War II did start and may still be in progress; if it isn't, either some kind of Cold War is being waged, or a One World Order has been established. Either way, The Government is intrusive and ruthless, ostensibly to protect the citizens. The political ideology might be any kind of totalitarianism, either one of the many real life examples of the period, a mashup of those, or a completely fictional analogue.
Diesel DesolationWorld War II did start and ended because there isn't anything left to fight over, and very few resources left to fight with, or even to sustain civilization. It's essentially a post-apocalyptic milieu, and certainly not a very common dieselpunk flavor. See also the article How dieselpunk Works.
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Dieselpunk is a modern genre, but some of the films and books of the period fit well, in the same fashion that Jules Verne's books can be posed as Steam Punk.
- Pretty much any Film Noir or crime film of the period
- The surreal dystopian writing of Franz Kafka, e.g. The Metamorphosis (1915)
- Some of the works of Karel Čapek
- Most of The Soviet Twenties' sci-fi:
- The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin, a.k.a. The Garin Death Ray, (1926-1927) by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy. It falls between Diesel Noir and Diesel Weird War, as the author manages to poke some fun at The Roaring '20s and The Soviet Twenties between the lines and also to imagine a dystopian world where Capitalist and Socialist-Revolutionary forces fight each other with poison gas, airships and Death Rays.
- Aelita, by the same author, about heroic Mad Scientist and Russian Civil War veteran flying to Mars, sparking a proletarian revolution there, and engaging in Inter Species Romance (though it turns out to be not so interspecies, after all, as the Martians are refugees from Atlantis). Notable for probably the first application of Relativity Theory in science fiction, use of Ancient Astronauts trope, and Atlantis myth. See also the 1924 film adaptation.
- Some works by Mikhail Bulgakov, all are united by Gone Horribly Wrong trope, satire on contemporary reality, and scepticism towards communism.
- Loss Of Sensation — where robots look not like humans, but like retro-Mecha, and are used to destroy capitalist system and free workers.note
- By the director-writer couple Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou:
- Metropolis (1927), also a novel
- Woman in the Moon (1929) features retro-space flight (strikingly realistic), The Flapper as one of the protagonists, a conspiracy of capitalists (including one Yellow Peril), a Mad Scientist (a benevolent version) and an atmosphere of pulp fiction of the epoch. Inspired several German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, in their pioneer rocket work.
- H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos crop up frequently in dieselpunk.
- The Dick Tracy comic (1931-).
- Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- The Shape of Things to Come (1933) by H. G. Wells and its 1936 film adaptation Things to Come
- The Mandrake the Magician comic (1934-).
- The Phantom comic (1936-).
- Non-Stop New York (1937): Noir intrigue 20 Minutes into the Future on a futuristic Streamline Moderne Flying Boat.
- The Superman Theatrical Cartoons (1941-1943) by Max and Dave Fleischer. Also instrumental in solidifying the Raygun Gothic aesthetic.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948) by George Orwell
- The Luft '46 and UnrealAircraft websites offer some pretty stunning examples of the aviation technology innovations that inspired futurists of that time and dieselpunk authors of our time.
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) is either very early Diesel Punk or very late Pulp Horror.
- Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
- J-Men Forever (1979) by the The Firesign Theatre parodies this style.
- The Indiana Jones films. In fact, if you want to explain dieselpunk to someone, the Indy films are probably the best place to start.
- The Element of Crime (1984) combines Diesel Noir and Diesel Desolation, for very grim results.
- Russian film Pervye na Lune ("First on the Moon") is a Mockumentary about secret Soviet flight to the Moon in 1938 (sic!), which features many elements of style of early USSR — parades of athletes, propaganda boasting about sports and industrial records, dreams about world revolution and building of communistic utopia, and omnipresence of NKVD surveillance with following purgings of dissidents.
- Brazil (1985)
- Batman (1989)
- Batman Returns (1992)
- The Rocketeer (1991)
- Cast a Deadly Spell (1991)
- The Hudsucker Proxy (1994).
- The Shadow (1994)
- The Mask (1994): A supernatural mask possessed by the spirit of the Norse god Loki transforms an introverted, awkward loser into a zoot-suited ladies man with cartoonish superpowers, and with an accompanying neo-swing soundtrack.
- The City of Lost Children (1995) is heavily dieselpunkish in design, in a dark and ominous way. The same goes for the Playstation game based on it.
- The 1995 film adaptation of Richard III by William Shakespeare. It is set in 1930s Britain (coupling Diesel Dystopia with Putting on the Reich and numerous Shout Outs to 1984)
- The Phantom (1996)
- Dark City (1998)
- The Mummy Trilogy
- 1999's Titus adapts the play Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare to a surreal version of Fascist Italy, that seems trapped between dieselpunk and Ancient Rome.
- Hellboy (2004)
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
- The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
- In Tin Man (2007), parts of the O.Z. (especially Central City) have a strongly dieselpunk aesthetic.
- Watchmen (2009) — the parts set in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Mutant Chronicles (2009)
- Yesterday Was A Lie — Dark City meets Sin City meets quantum physics and the nature of reality.
- Daybreakers — even though it's set in the future, it has substantial Diesel Punk aestethics.
- The film Sucker Punch (2011) is heavy on the dieselpunk.
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) It plays straight the trope in regards to technology used — creations of the 1940s blown Up to Eleven.
- The Polish film Hardkor 44, currently in development, is heavily dieselpunk. Set in Warsaw in the summer of 1944, as the Soviet army bears down on Warsaw, it recounts the Warsaw Uprising by the Polish Resistance, to liberate the city before the Russians get there. Then things get weird. As in "The Nazis have cyborgs and mecha" weird.
- An upcoming Hungarian film starring Mark Hamill, Thelomeris, is a mix of dieselpunk and clockpunk.
- The live-action adaptation of Casshern (2004) takes place in an effectively-portrayed Diesel Weird War/Diesel Desolation setting.
- Iron Sky (2012) contrasts the dieselpunk of the Moon Nazis against the white plastic/metal iTechnology of 20 Minutes into the Future.
- Dimensions: a line, a loop, a tangle of threads, an independent film about time travel, set in the 1930s.
- Dakota Harris includes alien technology, Nazi agents, a lost Polynesian civilisation, and a gang of Sky Pirates operating in the Bermuda Triangle.
- War of the Worlds: Goliath takes place in an alternate 1914 on the cusp of World War I, with walking tanks and giant heavily armed airships thanks to retroengineered alien technology.
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? does to the interbellum/Depression period what other dieselpunk films do to the deco and war periods.
- Sin City doesn't actually include dieselpunk tech elements (although an incredibly high-tech medical science is at least hinted at), but as a revisionist neo-noir, it's definitely got a dieselpunk attitude.
- Elements of Up, especially the younger days of Carl and his hero, explorer Charles F. Muntz.
- Inglourious Basterds gives WWII an alternate history ending with some serious punk attitude.
Anime and Manga
- Royal Space Force: The Wings of HonnÍamise (1987) shows an early Cold War era version of this trope.
- Some of the Studio Ghibli films take place in a mythical Diesel Deco-style Europe:
- Castle in the Sky (1986). The villains are based around this trope, while the heroes are more rooted in Steam Punk.
- Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
- Porco Rosso (1992) takes place in a fictionalized Mediterranean setting between WWI and WWII. Besides (possibly) fictional use of air pirates and the magical realist-style presentation of Porco's being a pig, Porco Rosso incorporates historically accurate cues that indicate Italy is about to come under Benito Mussolini's leadership.
- Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
- Super Atragon (1995): The undersea-battleship ''Ra'' is a superbly rendered piece of dieselpunk technology and style, plowing the seas of the modern world.
- Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999)
- The Big O (1999-2000)
- Metropolis (2001), also the manga by Osamu Tezuka.
- Fullmetal Alchemist (2001-2010), a rare combination of dieselpunk and Magitek.
- Last Exile (2003) combines dieselpunk with Steam Punk.
- Black Cat (2005-2006) has modern technology pop up, but the setting overall has a very Diesel Punk aesthetic and feel to it.
- Baccano!! (2007), also the book.
- Xam'd: Lost Memories (2008-2009)
- The Sky Crawlers (2008) depicts a future in which war has been eliminated, but corporations wage a continual war using clones and WWII-style aircraft for the public's amusement.
- REDLINE (2010) is a mix of Space Opera and a load of dieselpunk elements.
- Despera, a project by Yoshitoshi Abe seems to be taking place in a setting like this.
- Texhnolyze is a mixture of dieselpunk aesthetics and Cyber Punk technology.
- Polish painter Jakub Rozalski uses his paintings to document the 1920 Polish-Soviet War, but with giant mechs and... bears?!
- A Pixiv artist known as coh, N&S, and k.y. has created a series called "Mars Expedition", featuring girls wearing various headgear with false animal ears on them, alongside various other Moe tropes, representing several countries from throughout the world, all with a very WWII-style dieselpunk look to them.
- Dick Tracy (1931-), even at the time of its creation, included sci-fi elements that made it influential on dieselpunk.
- Several comics by Dean Motter including:
- Mister X (1984-1990)
- Terminal City (1996-1998)
- Electropolis (2001-2002)
- Sandman Mystery Theatre (1993-1999) brought us a Grim Dark pulp superhero fighting serial killers and bizarre menaces in a 1930s City Noir.
- Hellboy (1993-) and its spinoffs such as Lobster Johnson. And B.P.R.D. (2002-)
- Astro City (1995-2010)
- The Nevermen (2000, 2003) features mechanically enhanced '40s-era fighters keeping the city safe from crazed supervillains.
- Iron and the Maiden (2007)
- Atomic Robo (2007-) is a walking incarnation of this trope who's matured over the decades (he's been punching all kinds of strangeness in the face since the 30's) into an all-around Science Hero.
- Ignition City (2009)
- First Wave DCU (2009-2010) is a cross between Diesel Noir and Two-Fisted Tales, with many of the Pulp Magazine heroes crossing over with newspaper comics' The Spirit and another guy from the Thirties.
- Marvel Noir:
- Iron Man Noir (2010), featuring Tony Stark's "repulsor pump" pacemaker, the Iron Man armor itself, and Baron Stucker's lightning-hurling Power Fist — not to mention background stuff like the sleek super zeppelins. It's unique among the Noir stories for not even trying to be realistic.
- X-Man Noir is the least fantastic of the Marvel Noir settings, but introduces one dieselpunk element in the story Mark of Cain, the Office of National Emergency's Dirigi-Carrier.
- Carbon Grey (2011-)
- Dust by Paolo Parente, the inspiration for the Dust series of Tabletop Games below.
- Rork (1984-2012)
- Tyson Hesse's Diesel (2015)
- Arguably, Atlas Shrugged (1957) which seems to be taking place in an Alternate Universe 1940s where WWII never happened, most of the world went Communist, and someone invented, then destroyed, a futuristic power generator that converts atmospheric static electricity into direct current. The setting qualifies, but the theme is D'Punk inside out, with typical protagonist/antagonist roles reversed.
- The planet Saraksh in Prisoners of Power (1969), one of the Noon Universe novels of the Strugatsky Brothers. There are several dieselpunk Human Aliens civilizations in the series. Practically all of them are Fantastic Aesop attempts at Getting Crap Past the Radar about the state of Soviet society and the military during the Cold War era. One particularly disturbing case was the ironically-codenamed planet "Hope", which suffered from a severely polluted environment for years and was struck one day by a mysterious Depopulation Bomb. It's been a Ruins of the Modern Age Scavenger World ever since.
- The Iron Dream (1972) by Norman Spinrad
- Ian McDonald's Desolation Road (1988) and Ares Express (2001) are a mix of this, Desert Punk and Cyberpunk with the non-city areas being Desert Punk and the cities being a mix of Diesel and Cyber.
- Doc Sidhe (1995, 2001) by Aaron Allston mixes dieselpunk with Urban Fantasy
- Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen (2008-) series is this mixed with Ocean Punk. Its titular heroes are the crew of a World War II destroyer that gets transported via a time-space rift to the Pacific Ocean of an Earth where the dinosaur-killing asteroid never hit and evolution took a different course.
- Jonathan L. Howard's Johannes Cabal series straddles this and Steam Punk.
- Though Leviathan (2009) by Scott Westerfeld is definitely in the Steam Punk genre by how it's presented and what kind of story it is, the Clanker technology is more dieselpunk, as they frequently use gas, oil, kerosene, and diesel, not just steam. Also, the Darwist's "beasties" are a good example of Bio Punk.
- The novel Bitter Seeds (2010) by Ian Tregillis , which is set during a WW2 where psychic Nazi supers fight demon-summoning British blood-sorcerers. Quite GrimDark.
- Dreadnought (2010) by Cherie Priest. Thanks to the Republic of Texas discovering oil fifty years early, the Confederates are quite proud of their 'walker' which runs on diesel as opposed to the steam-driven Union mecha. Coal-diesel engines are also used by paddlesteamers and the eponymous Cool Train.
- The Ghost (2010) by George Mann takes place in a world that is moving from Steam Punk (coal driven cars, airships) to this (biplanes with rocket boosters) with hints of Ray Gun Gothic (holographic statues and videophones).
- Iskriget (The Ice War) (2011) by Swedish SF author Anders Blixt is an "antarctic" spy adventure taking place in an alternate 1940, in which German and Czech republicans rebel against the heavy-handed rule of the Habsburg emperor. It includes, among other genre attributes, diesel-electric Miyazaki-style cloudships and ice juggernauts.
- Empire State (2012) by Adam Christopher is this taking place across several dimensions and times and combines Noir with Weird War as the eponymous Empire State is in a never ending war with a mysterious Enemy.
- The flashback segments of Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker have elements of this, particularly the train and submarine used by Edie's employers.
- The Tales Of The Ketty Jay take place in a Magitek dieselpunk world of airships and jet fighters.
- Larry Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles combines this, magic wielding mutants called Actives and Alternate History.
- A major pl of Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell is a MMPORG starring the title character set in a Weird War WWII featuring things like tripod tanks and Nazi ninjas.
- Shattered Continent.
- Near the end of Victoria, the heroic Victorian state has banned most all technology not in common use by the 1930s, but still develops cold fusion and various Tesla-tech. They also make extensive use of zepplins.
- As with all subgenres, there is a Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, edited by Sean Wallace.
- Bruce Sterling's novella, Pirate Utopia takes place in the city-state of Fiume, along the Italian/Yugoslavian border shortly after WWI, an anarchistic enclave where they experiment with death rays and radio guided missiles.
Live Action TV
- Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982-1983), a single-season series from The '80s of the Deco and Two-Fisted Tales variety.
- In a Fringe (2008-) episode, Brown Betty had a world straight out of the 1950s, yet everyone was using (Retraux) cell phones and computers. And Walter's lap took it Up to Eleven.
- Caprica (2010): Syfy's Battlestar Galactica spinoff is a mix of dieselpunk and cyberpunk. The in-story virtual game "New Cap City", which plays an important role in the series is pure Diesel Punk of the Noir variety.
- In 2010, Toyota created an ad series for their Avalon series that were decidedly dieselpunk. The first, "Train", was set in an art deco train station (complete with a Twentieth Century Limited-inspired locomotive), where the characters are wearing 1940s-inspired clothes and a cover of Mr. Sandman by Pomplamoose plays in the background. The second, "Plane", depicted men and women in 1940s-inspired aviation uniforms as a Douglas DC-3 flew in the background.
- A 2013 mockumentary on The History Channel called "The Great Martian War" blended film footage from World War One with CG of Martian tripods. Watch some footage of it here. There was also a video game based on the film.
- The emerging musical genre known as Electro Swing captures the essence of dieselpunk through remixing vintage jazz-style music and swing with modern technology and house beats.
- The video for Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal was very dieselpunk, set in a speakeasy with flappers and gangsters, but with a lot of punk attitude and fantastic goings-on.
- The video for Lady Gaga's Alejandro is one-sixth this, one-sixth Ho Yay, one-sixth Those Wacky Nazis, and the rest is you know... Lady Gaga.
- Postmodern Jukebox creates covers of modern songs in the styles of the 1910s-1950s.
- Therion's music video for "Initials BB" features dirigible battleships over what appears to be London, with ranks of scantily clad Germanic-uniformed women marching (and inexplicably flashing their breasts).
- Electric Light Orchestra's music video for "Hold On Tight" is a fourth wall-breaking tribute to pulp serials of the 30s and 40s.
- Call of Cthulhu (1981)
- Daredevils (1982) by FGU.
- In Warhammer 40,000 (1987), thanks to its Schizo Tech setting, the machines and equipment of the Imperial forces can have a very dieselpunky feel to them. For example, the Imperial Guard Leman Russ battle tank◊ and the Imperial Navy Lightning◊ fighter.
- GURPS Cliffhangers (1989) by Steve Jackson Games.
- Crimson Skies (1998)
- Gear Krieg (2000), basically the same premise as Weird WWII
- Weird Wars (2001), a little-known World War II equivalent of Deadlands .
- Children of the Sun (2002)
- GURPS WWII: Weird War II (2003), World War II with Mecha
- Eberron (2004) has a Magitek version.
- Lemuria (2004) by Rävspel (written for d20 Modern)
- Pulp Hero (2005) by Hero Games.
- Hollow Earth Expedition (2006) by Exile Games Studio. Two-Fisted Tales meet The Lost World.
- Rocketship Empires 1936 (2008)
- Secrets Of The Third Reich (2008), a World War II wargame by Westwind Productions, which has, amongst other things, mecha, powered armour, and vampires. To say nothing of the werewolves.
- Operation: Fallen Reich (2009) by Fallen Publishing.
- Cosmopol (2010) ... and how.
- Mutant Chronicles which is set in a dystopian future where Earth is abandoned, and most of the solar system is colonized by mega corps who derive their style from old Earth cultures, from Feudal times to Cold War era society.
- AT-43 the U.N.A., Red Blok, and the Karmans have this as part of their theme, while mixed with Cyber Punk which the Therians use. The setting is a typical space dystopia, albeit some what nicer that most.
- Dust, a series of wargames, based on Paolo Parente's comic and set in an alternate 1947 with walking tanks, energy weapons, superheroes, zombies and war-apes.
- Despite Rocket Age being Raygun Gothic, the Nazis have war-walkers based on Ancient Martian design and the airships also qualify.
- Ravaged Earth, a Savage Worlds setting by Reality Blurs. It is 30+ years after the Martian invasion, and the world has undergone drastic changes thanks to the effects of the alien metal the Martians' tripods were made of.
- Scythe, based on the art of Jakub Rozalski.
- LEGO Adventurers (1998-2003)
- The Wolfenstein games.
- Power Strike II (1993), a Sega Master System Vertical Scrolling Shooter by Compile, released only in Europe and Australia (not to be confused with the Game Gear title of the same name, also by Compile, which is a completely different, more conventional space shooter). The main character is a bounty hunter, whose job is to shoot down Sky Pirates in an alternate 1930s setting.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
- Fallout — Usually classified as Atompunk, but takes place in a retrograde enough world to qualify (a world with atomic power but without the transistornote ). It's actually Deconstructed in that the inefficient technology ended up depleting resources faster, thus causing the conflicts that lead to The Great War.
- Gadget: Past as Future (1998)
- In Ross Smith's "Timeline" Half-Life mod trilogy (c. 1999-2002), rogue Black Mesa scientists adapt teleporter technology for time travel, specifically to help the Nazis complete their Sänger AmerikaBomber and heavy water projects and conquer the United States. Gordon Freeman must stop the Nazi invasion of time itself.
- Nocturne (1999) revolved around 1930s pulp heroes fighting off mad science and Lovecraftian monsters in a very dieselpunk mode.
- Airfix Dogfighter (2000)
- Crimson Skies (2000) all the way, to the point of being the Trope Codifier of this style in Video Games. Emphasis on dieselpunk Sky Pirates, Cool Planes and Cool Airships.
- IL-2 Sturmovik (2001) offers a more realistic than Rule of Cool take on the aesthetic, justified by bits of actual WWII history.
- Progear (2001) has technology somewhere between World War I and World War II.
- Iron Storm (2002) is set in 1964, in an Alternate History setting where World War I never ended. You'll see televisions and helicopters, while fighting in trenches and mud. Also, the weaponry is fictional but credible for alternate technology from the 1950-1960s.
- Silent Storm (2003) starts as a relatively realistic game focussed on managing a commando team during World War II (there are an Axis and an Allies campaign), then it switches to a plot involving a Thor Hammer Organisation (THO), Nebulous Evil Organization supplying both sides with Energy Weapons and Powered Armors, in order to weaken them enough to be able to Take Over the World by themselves. Its first sequel, the expansion pack Silent Storm: Sentinels, is set not long after the end of the war and features the eponymous Sentinels as a secret multinational (party members from both sides of the previous game are available) organisation struggling against THO, while the high technology is still there.
- Pathologic (2005)
- Iron Grip (2006)
- Iron Brigade (2011), best described as "World War I with Mecha — against an invasion of television monsters."
- Outerlight Ltd.'s The Ship: Murder Party (2006), a very warped tale set in an art deco cruise liner.
- The BioShock series take place in a very distinctly Bio-dieselpunk world, complete with analogue vacuum-tube computers/robots and a jaw-dropping Art Deco setting. It does not entirely fit any of the types above, as it is set in an abandoned (well, by anything we could reasonably call inhabitants) underwater Gulch (a la Galt) and we do not know how different the surface is. However, the setting does apply. Often erroneously referred to as steampunk, possibly because the hacking minigame in the first game involves flowing water, leading to some people to think they're powered by steam.
- The Nazi Zombies (2008, 2010) game mode of Call of Duty has some elements of World War 2 dieselpunk, namely the Wunderwaffen and Teleporters developed by the Nazis.
- The zombies level featured in the 4th DLC of Call of Duty: Black Ops II took this theme to a whole new level with a World War 1 setting featuring giant robots, wireless transmission of electricity, and a special zombie operating power armor that actually runs off of a diesel backpack.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III returns zombies with a distinct Film Noir inspired yet patently Diesel Punk setting.
- Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (2008)
- Akai Katana (2010) takes place before or during World War II
- Dino D Day (2011): World War 2 meets Jurassic Park.
- Skullgirls (2012) definitely draws on the dieselpunk aesthetic, although the makers prefer to call it Dark Deco.
- Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (2012) shifts to a WWII Punk setting...in 2082. Justified in that microprocessors are no longer in production due to silicon-eating microbes appearing as early as 2020, hence the technological regression.
- The Dishonored Series
- Dishonored (2012) has the rare In-Universe material Justifying the setting, a specially treated and processed "whale" oil known as trans. The substance itself would be identical to diesel if it wasn't luminous blue or incredibly volatile.
- Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness is about an Occult Detective agency battling Eldritch Abomination Gods in an Anachronism Stew version of 1920s America overrun with oil-and-clockwork powered robots and mad cultists. It couldn't possibly be any more dieselpunk!
- March Of War: While atomic does appear in this MMOTBS, it is exclusively as a special superweapon project. The rest of the technology is entirely rooted in dieselpunk themes, albiet with... modifications for some of the factions.
- Tales of Xillia: The world of Elympios that you visit fairly late in the first game and where much of the sequel takes place is a decaying land where the dingy cities are full of skyscrapers, and the background music is heavy on jazzy saxophones. Its largest city (and only city in the first game), Trigleph, looks like it was pulled straight out of a Film Noir hard-boiled detective movie.
- Nazi Zombies had ended its Call of Duty: Black Ops II DLC line with Origins, a very much dieselpunk World War I setting. Giant Mechas, diesel-powered armor, perk drinks, tanks, and weaponry. All of this makes the return of the original crew from earlier games so much more awesome. And of course, the main appeal, the antagonists.
- In Civilization: Beyond Earth units built by the Purity factions have a definite Diesel Punk flair. Take a look at their tanks◊, their warships◊ and their Airborne Aircraft Carrier the LEV Destroyer◊.
- Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic is thoroughly suffused with Art Deco, from the design of the starliner itself to its robot staff. Better still, it actually uses Dieselpunk motifs such as pneumatic tubes.
- World of Tanks is set in the period in which this genre is set and many of the vehicles never came off of the drawing board.
- Same applies for World of Warships.
- While borrowing more Cyber Punk themes, Jak and Daxter?from=VideoGame.Jak And Daxter certainly contains Dieselpunk aesthetics, most prominent are the zoomers. Haven City also has some of this aesthetic.
- The retro-cult Taerkastens from Urban Assault, are a 26th century version of this. Since the Taerkastens eschew electronics and related tech, they use propeller powered war planes and giant zeppelins when the other factions are using more standard futuristic units. But what they lack in the electronics department, they more than make up for by being on the leading edge of engineering and material design. The Taerkastens have the most heavily armored units in the game.
- Pulp Adventures is a Two-Fisted Tales story set in the Thirties and its Massive Multiplayer Crossover roster of available party members includes the Rocketeer, as well as Nazis with jetpacks.
- The Valkyria Chronicles series of games is based in an alternate reality continent of Europa, loosely based on WWII Europe. "Ragnite ore" takes the place of petroleum in the game, which is centered on the small country of Gallia, a state rich in said ore, and sought after by the Atlantic Federation and the East Europan Imperial Alliance (roughly, the Allies and the Axis).
- In the Resistance series, WWI ended differently and WWII never happened. Unfortunately, Asia and Europe got invaded by aliens instead.
- Parodied in the Metal Slug series, which (although ostensibly taking place 20 Minutes into the Future) are set in a bizarre version of WWII(with some Korean/Vietnam-era trimmings), where propeller-powered planes, railway guns, and zeppelins coexist with Humongous Mecha, Land Battleships (literally a Yamato-class battleship with tank treads bolted on), Zeerust aliens, and Wave Motion Guns.
- Taken up to eleven in the seventh entry, where the villains are a time-traveling army from the future . . . still driving the same WWII-era vehicles, except now they're painted blue and shoot laser beams.
- In Somnia, a game being developed in Russia and greenlit for release on Steam, is a dystopian dieselpunk RPG that takes place in a decaying art deco space station.
- Adventures of the 19XX — A secret society protecting the world from occult villains.
- Athena Voltaire — A female Indiana Jones much cooler and better-dressed than Lara Croft.
- Captain Spectre and the Lightning Legion A Rocketeer-style hero done in a retro serial style.
- Femme Noir — A sexy P.I. solves mysteries in a shady neo-noir fashion.
- Even Death may Die, formerly Strange Aeons — Nazis, Lovecraft, noir and pulpy intrigue set in a crazy-ass Art Deco Mega City.
- Warbirds of Mars — Diesel-fied America at war with Nazis, alien invaders and (maybe?) Nazi aliens.
- Anathema, hosted on Slipshine.
- Deep Dive Daredevils — A Diesel Punk adventure AT SEA!
- The Chronicles Of Taras combines this with Bio Punk, featuring a Crapsack / Crapsaccarine World of Improvised Diesel Punk tech, with Action Girl and Wrench Wench characters and more Engineered horrific creatures than can be listed.
- The Danger Element (The Adventures of Battle Jitni)
- ''Decoder Ring Theatre has a whole tropes section to itself.
- The Disney cartoon TaleSpin (1990-1991) and its 1930s pulp adventure style was a high-flying, lighthearted brand of diesel.
- Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995, 1997-1999). To a lesser extent Superman: The Animated Series keeps some of Superman's timeless feel from the 30/40's.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot (2003-2009). Though it's a little more leaning towards Raygun Gothic than Diesel.
- The Legend of Korra (2012-2014), a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, is a Far East Science Fantasy, Urban Fantasy variant of this, complete with power plants being staffed by people with lighting powers. It's particularly apparent in Republic City, a Culture Chop Suey of various 1920s-era metropolises with the Asian aesthetics accentuated. The soundtrack has been described as "1920s New Orleans jazz but if it were invented in China".
- And just like that, it takes more books until the punk's theme and aesthetics eventually appears through most of Book 3 until with Book 4 finally become thing in the universe both technologically and politically with dieselpunk-style giant Mecha that avatar crew face with.
- Mr. Hublot: Everything is mechanicalóMr. Hublot, the dog, the flies that the dog tries to catch, Mr. Hublot's flowers. The robot people fly to work via propellers in their heads. Yet the cars and the architecture have a 1950s flavor.
- The eighth season of Archer will take the super-spies cum drug lords cum detectives back to 1940s Los Angeles.
- Second episode of season 3 from Rick and Morty have main plot to explore a dimension that Human civilization has already destroyed while ago and focuses on Mad Max Raiders with their lives and their dieselpunk cars.
- Britain's failed death ray
- Since Doctor Steel was a Steam Punk musician who leaned on dieselpunk tropes as well, it isn't surprising to see a lot of dieselpunk fashion sense in the uniforms of the Army of Toy Soldiers.
- Those Wacky Nazis designed a series of "superweapons" termed Wunderwaffe (German for "wonder weapon") before and during World War II. Many of them were outlandish and never made it past the prototype stage, but in retrospect were heavily Diesel Punk in their design. In fact, many Diesel Punk aesthetics are inspired or pulled directly from Wunderwaffe designs, such as those featured in Captain America: The First Avenger. Let's take a closer look at a few shall we?
- The humongous Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte was a proposed massive 1000-ton Nazi land battleship (er...cruiser) armed with dual 280 mm naval cannons as well as various smaller caliber guns which might or might not have been mounted on smaller axillary turrets, all powered by no less than two engines derived from submarines. Allegedly, the main turret of this monster was completed before it was realized that Germany could ill afford to operate such an awesome weapon by its 1943 state, but it definitely deserves a mention by virtue of sheer scale.
- The Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster. Instead of a pair of naval guns, this bad boy was to be made up of a single Schwerer Gustav railway cannon. To put this into perspective, the cannnon this baby packed would have been lobbing shells that were fourteen feet tall and almost three feet wide (a bit over four meters, with an 800 mm caliber).
- The Horten Ho 229, a prototype German bomber built towards the end of World War II, certainly qualifies both in design and function. It even makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Many a gamer can be forgiven for thinking it was just standard Diesel Punk hijinks.
- The GM Futurliner.