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Top 5 Forms of Currency in Video Games
5. ADAM in Bioshock
In Bioshock, you play as a badass who beat enemies to pulp with a wrench and shoot electricity with your left hand set in a fictional underwater city Rapture. If that doesn't sound badass, nothing is. Based on the lore of the game, ADAM is a substance harvested and processed from a type of sea slug. It is believed to cause the formation of potent stem cells that have the ability to differentiate into any cell type.
Processed ADAM are used to make Plasmids, special serums that introduce modified stem cells into the body, allowing for genetic modification and mutation, giving the user what some might call "super powers". The user can shoot ice, fire and bees from their hand thanks to this innovation.
There are a number of ways to obtain ADAM in the game. Most notably is making a choice between saving Little Sisters and get a small amount of ADAM or "harvesting" them and get a ton of ADAM. By the way, Little Sisters are young girls who have been genetically altered and mentally conditioned to reclaim ADAM from corpses around Rapture. Oh, and you can also find some sea slugs and get a small amount of ADAM from them directly. Fresh!
4. Crowns, Florens and Orens in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
In sci-fi games, Credits is the most common name for their currency while in fantasy games, they use coins or gold coins. But Witcher 3 is not your average fantasy medieval game. In the last installment of Witcher series, there are not one, not two but three forms of currency, Crowns, Florens and Orens. Well, to be fair only Crowns are used in daily lives for business purpose but the other 2 isn't entirely useless. So, why put 3 types of coin if player can only use one type? There is a perfectly reasonable reason for that.
You see, Orens were used as main currency in Temeria while Florens, also known as the "Nilfgaardian Floren" is the monetary unit used in Nilfgaard and its provinces. Orens were used in Witcher 2 but after Nilfgaardian invades Temeria, Crowns are used as the main currency in Witcher 3. However, players can still found Orens and Florens as they explore the world and exchange them for Crowns at a bank.
What I love the most about The Witcher is that Geralt, the protagonist of the series is so human. He's not the kind of hero who wants to save the world from the Wild Hunt or anything. He's just a mercenary who took on dangerous job hunting monsters for a handful of coins. "Nothing is free", as he likes to say it.
3. Souls in Dark Souls
In most games, there are usually multiple form of currency for each feature. For example, in Borderlands normal money is used to buy new weapons and gears while eridium, a special form of currency, is used to increase the capacity of ammo you can carry at one time. Oh and you also gain experience and skill points to upgrade your character. Pretty standard stuff. But not in the infamously brutal Dark Souls series. Souls are the universal currency of Dark Souls. They are used to level up, purchase items, upgrade or ascend weapons, enhance armor, and repair equipment.
But wait, there's more to it. They are lost upon death, but may be retrieved from the player's bloodstain. They are lost permanently if a player dies again before reaching their bloodstain. Luckily, they're not that hard to come by. Almost all enemies drop souls. How many souls are dropped is dependent on the enemy type, the difficulty level the player is playing on and whether or not the player overkilled the opponent. Plus, there are some consumables that give souls to the player.
2. Bottle Caps in Fallout
In the Wasteland, anything goes. Before the Great War, Pre-War money was the currency of the United States of America. They look a lot like the printed paper that we are currently using in our daily lives.
How did it started? Well, in the first Fallout game, there is an enormous trading center and settlement established in an old town relatively untouched by the Great War called The Hub. It's basically the main town for all of the bigger caravans. They settled on using bottle caps as they were backed up by the main caravan groups and became the official currency of the Fallout universe.
You might be asking, "So, why bottle caps? Why not print another paper money?". Well, they actually did. The New California Republic introduced its own money around the turn of the 23rd century and initially it relied on coins minted from gold. However, by 2281, the currency was no longer backed by gold due to it losing its value as a result of the NCR-Brotherhood War. Plus, the Hub merchants supported bottle caps because the technology to manufacture them and paint their surfaces had been mostly lost in the Great War, which limited any counterfeiting efforts. Not only that, there are a limited number of bottle caps, which preserve their value against inflation to some degree.
Oh, and did I mention that you can craft mines using bottle caps as shrapnels? Ouch.
1. Military Grade Ammo in Metro 2033
Metro series is one of my favourite post-apocalyptic game, ever. The claustrophobic feeling of underground metro, the poisonous air on the surface, the horrendous monsters roaming around, love 'em. Just like Fallout series, when the civilization collapsed, so does the value of money. If Americans in Fallout used bottle caps of famous soft drink for barter, the Russians in Metro used ammunition. More specifically, pre-war military grade 5.45x39mm rounds, or MGR.
So, why ammo? In Metro, ammunition is used as currency as not only have not enough bills and coins lasted since the nuclear devastation. Plus, there are no more facilities that can produce these type of bullet so that scarcity makes them valuable. The residents of Metro make surplus ammunition in a great number in exchange of quality.
But, when desperate or just feeling like it, the player can use the military grade rounds to kill enemies quickly as they deal more damage. Basically, the player will literally be 'shooting money'.