Video Game / Afterlife

The last word in sims!

Afterlife is a resource management game released in 1996 by LucasArts. In it, you play as a sort of celestial mayor called a "demiurge," with the ability to design a custom afterlife for the dead. It's sort of like Sim City, only the citizens are the souls of the departed and you are punishing them for their sins or rewarding them for their good virtues.

Help can be summoned to you in the form of an angel called Aria, and Jasper, the demon who really wishes he wasn't here right now. It's not all easy, though — multiple random (and weird) events can happen and mess up things badly. Like many life sims, the game doesn't end in the traditional sense, but you can lose the game in multiple ways.

Just remember not to cheat too many times. If you do, the Death Star will come and start destroying everything you've built.

In April 2015, the game was released on GoG, where it can be found here.

Not to be confused with the ITV show of the same name, or the 2009 film.

This game features examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Most of the higher punishments reach these levels by design.
    • And in the backstory, Scegf0d the Ungrateful Angel (and later the Ungrateful Demon).
    The Powers That Be: "You are the single biggest schmuck in all of Creation. You have found no joy in Heaven, and have known no pain in Hell. We are left with no choice but to reincarnate you as a rock. As the universe’s only sentient rock, you will be unable to to see, hear, smell, taste, or feel. You will be a thing of pure thought, unable to experience anything but your own, ever-increasing dementia. Have a nice day."
  • Bat out of Hell: Literally. And Hell buildings hit by their droppings increase productivity.
  • Berserk Button: The Powers That Be do not like whiners. The Ungrateful Angel/Demon found out what They do when one doesn't stop complaining.
  • Black Comedy: Any humor a Demiurge can find while building Hell comes from the descriptions of the buildings, which goes into detail about the punishments that the Damned suffer in them. If it isn't a sickening account of what's going on, it lapses into this trope.
  • The Blank: One of the Wrath punishments, appropriately named "Illuminatiland," is specifically designed to slowly, methodically, turn every SOUL living in it into one of these.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: The Ultimate Gluttony punishment "The Bowels of Hell".
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The player goes through this (including bank interest). And in a variant, some of Hell's punishments involve Infernal Bureaucracy.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: A SOUL's fate depends on what it believed in in life. If an EMBO believes that Only Cloud Realms Await, then it doesn't matter how sinful he is; he's going straight to Heaven upon death.
    • Not exactly. If an EMBO believed that Only Cloud Realms Await, then they only went to Heaven if they were good. Being bad either meant their soul ceased to exist or was reincarnated (presumably as something worse) depending on where their belief fell in that department. Alternatively, believing Only Pit Realms Await meant their soul joined the universal oneness (or was reincarnated) if they were good.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The fake religions. There's no actual Jesus analogue, but there are prophets you can inspire to spread one or more tenets.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: One of the disasters is "Hell Freezes Over".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jasper
  • Death Isnt Permanent: If you believe in reincarnation, that is.
  • The Ditz: Aria.
  • Endless Game: Like most simulation games, there is no victory condition. There are quite a few defeat conditions, though. Train too many angels and demons, and the unemployed ones decide that whole War-Between-Heaven-And-Hell thing would really solve their boredom. Lose too many Souls, and The Powers That Be perform the Heaven and Hell Fall, everyone vanishes miracle. And if your funds go too far into the red, you'll get a visit by the Four Surfers of the Apocalypso, who will destroy everything you've built with magma.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell
  • Gameplay Automation: The automatic balancing of buildings.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: What the people on the planet believe can and will have consequences for the Afterlife. They can believe that Heaven and Hell exist, Heaven is the only thing after death, or Hell awaits everyone. This directly impacts the amount of souls coming in to the respective sides of the Afterlife. The most dangerous is when they start believing that there is nothing at all; if not addressed, it will literally put the Afterlife out of business.
  • From Bad to Worse: Almost All the Envy Punishments work like this. The best example is the ultimate Envy Punishment the Escher Pits. In it Souls are Tortured through a variety of means, each different from one another and are in full view of their neighbors and given a chance to switch every few days. Naturally they'd switch thinking the others punishment is not as bad... only to find ALL the other punishments are somehow WORSE than the last.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Almost everything. EMBOs are Ethically Mature Biological Organisms. When they die, they become SOULs, Stuff Of Unending Life.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied. Aria's the nicer of the two, but she is by no means the smartest.
  • Hell Is War : The Ultimate Punishment for Wrath, War: What is it good for?
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Actually, Surfers of the Apocalypso.
  • Ironic Hell: Most of the punishments qualify to some extent, and there's actually a low-level building that crops up every once in a while that deconstructs the concept; the amount of time the demons within spend finding the most Ironic Hell conceivable is actually rather inefficient.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Heaven is easier to run early in the game, because Heaven prefers short travel times for SOULs to walk to their eternal reward, while Hell prefers the Damned walk a long time as another layer of punishment. As the game goes on, and both plane's road systems become more complex, Aria will inevitably start whining about it, and there's nothing you can do.
  • Literal Metaphor: Several of the punishments in hell invoke this. For instance, "Another Man's Shoes" (a punishment for those envious souls who spent their lives wishing they were in another man's shoes), involves spending eternity imprisoned in someone's giant, smelly footwear.
  • Loading Screen: Which has jokes, of course.
  • Logo Joke: The winged guy falls into a hellpit and emerges like an angel.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Averted in the intro. The defibrillator, referred to as the "electro-cardial stimulator" or, when the nurse is slow on the uptake, "the jumper cable, you fool!" does absolutely no good for the patient, despite liberal and increasingly frantic use.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Jasper dresses in a snazzy business suit.
  • Mundane Afterlife: A lot of the heavenly rewards bring to mind an indefinite vacation at an expensive resort hotel, something like a cross between Center Parcs and Disneyland. It actually comes off as really, really dull.
    • However, the Ad Infinitum that you collect to power the Rewards (and Punishments), also functions to keep Heaven and Hell eternally fulfilling and painful, respectively, so this is more or less an Averted Trope.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Or, "Our SOULs (Stuff Of Unending Life)"
  • Out of the Frying Pan: One of Hell's punishments places the damned in a literal frying pan over a fire. Souls occasionally jump, vainly hoping that the flames will be less hot this time.
  • Post Modernism: One of Heaven's fate structures is... "Game of Afterlife", in which the SOULs play a Heaven/Hell building game. The game's description even lampshades this:
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Omnibolges, massive buildings capable of punishing billions of SOUL at a time, are the remains of other Hells that were so actively evil that they collapsed in upon themselves. The horrible thing is that these buildings are still fully-functioning Hells themselves. That table? A super-compressed Lust punishment. That coffee cup? A super-compressed Sloth punishment.
  • Reference Overdosed: From the rewarding structure "Casino Royale" to the punishment "The Real Underworld", passing by the Death Star mentioned above (it's a LucasArts game, after all) Just take a good look at the descriptions...
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Of course this springs up. All Punishments revolve around the Sins, while all Rewards revolve around their opposing Virtues. You can imagine which side takes care of which.
  • The Powers That Be: These are the overseers of all Afterlifes, and are the ones who ultimately control them and the Demiurges who run them. It's rather surprising to discover that they start getting scared of a Demiurge that manages to make Heaven or Hell have 5 million SOUL's. They actually send the last gift structure as tribute to you.
  • Too Clever by Half: Scegf0d is this. He made devices that perfected the senses of everyone in a set radius in Heaven, then made terrible machines that made things even worse in Hell. As Scegf0d's story continues, it reveals that he was able to create these machines within hours near the end of his tale.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The creator of the structures you receive when you hit population milestones. He started as an angel who found issue with EVERYTHING in Heaven, no matter how pleasant, relaxing or beautiful they were, and made the heavenly ones to make the surrounding area more pleasant based on which sense it represented.. Eventually, the Powers That Be tossed him down to Hell... where he proceeded to do the exact same thing in Hell , focusing on trying to make Hell even worse than it already was. Ultimately he was reincarnated into a sentient rock, unable to see, hear, smell, feel or touch for his impudence.
  • Visual Pun: Most of the random events are the manifestation of popular phrases involving Heaven or Hell. Hell in a Handbasket is a giant handbasket that floats through Heaven and transports what it takes to Hell, as an example.
  • World of Pun: Almost everything has puns in its title or description.