I love video games, obviously. I also like long walks on the beach, stopping to smell the roses, and watching anything from deep and meaningful to childishly stupid and comical. And despite popular belief I expect dinner and a movie first before we start discussing what safety words Iíll need to use. I also enjoy a bit of manga and anime.
With a loving family, yet little parental supervision, I grew up watching tv shows and movies I most likely shouldn't have giving me a nearly unfiltered since of humor.
I don't facebook. I don't twitter. If there is some other face-twit thing out there and you are curious to know if I may be on that, the answer in no. I know, I know, youíre disappointed. I get that. It's just something that isn't going to change.
Every day around the world millions of the living dead suffer cruelty from shootings, burning, decapitation, and getting their decaying brains bashed in and their crying out for help. Well, groaning for brains actually, but whatever. I realize this must come as a bit of a shock to some of you out there, but zombies are people to. At least at one point they were. Just because they stopped living does that mean we should stop caring?
Developers and publishers seem to want us to have a love-to-kill relationship with zombies and not a lot is getting done about it except for more of the same. Violence against zombies in videogames is at an all time high and let's face it, the ACLU isn't doing shit to stop it. It's like we all have an addiction to killing zombies in any and every way.
At one time I was like many of you. Why, I canít even begin to describe the ecstasy I felt at the sight of the undead now dead again after unleashing my full load of ammunition in its face. Sadly, no zombies were rescued last year and the bodies continue to pile up. If something is going to change we have to first recognize that we have a problem before we can do anything about it.
There Goes My Baby
After my gratifying playthrough of Dead Space 3 from start to finish I needed to quench my thirst with some much-needed Gatorade followed by a rejuvenating slumber after those long and late hours of stomping on Necromorphs like Mario making turtle wine. Oh, the joy I had killing those rabid sons of bitches. All that changed, however, when I later woke up and my mind began racing.
The thought of wanting something new, something different, something crazy, and something downright blasphemous to all the other typical zombie games out there on the market unrelentingly began banging the drum of my mind. I knew what it was I was wanting. I was wanting to play a zombie game as a zombie.
Recalling the last game I was given the opportunity to play as a zombie I jumped back in it to remember to good times and that game was Left 4 Dead and letís just say it had me Left 4 Wanting.
As an attractive hunter on the prowl I went about scouring the land in search of the living to befriend with a loving, some may argue as brutish, embrace. Sadly each person I found was a bit of an asshole.
Going to great effort to climb up tall buildings for a better view of my surroundings I wanted to know who and what was out there. In a minute or less I would quickly find someone who had not been turned, a living, breathing human being. I immediately pounced at the opportunity to engage them, literally. Alas, I was quickly met with hostility by their companions and thenÖ no more.
Tears On My Pillow
After several encounters ending exactly the same way it became quite clear that not only did they want nothing to do with me, but that they treated zombies with shoot first and high-five later attitudes like it was all some sort of game. Thatís when I realized what kind of world this was. I was playing in a world that saw zombies not for who they were but for what they are. I now understood what it was like for zombies to be treated as a disease needing to be eradicated without mercy or hesitation purely for entertainment.
Yes, thatís right. This was a gaming world full of zombie bigots. "Zombigots", I call them.
So I did what any grown man would do after suffering such soul-crushing rejection. I locked myself in my room and reconciled myself to crying into a pint of Haagen-Daz whilst listening to Adeleís ďSomeone Like YouĒ on repeat for 45 minutes.
While I was not able to overcome the social stigma of my undeadness there was one who raised from the earth and he didnít take shit from anyone. Not from pubescent teenagers, slack-jawed farmers, or fictional Pennsylvania police. He was a manly man of a zombie with more class than etiquette lessons at Downton Abbey. That zombie was Eddie Stubbs in Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse.
Once alive as a traveling salesman during the Great Depression Eddie found love with a girl named Maggie Monday. It wouldnít last long for her father discovered the two together and shot poor Eddie as he tried to make his escape. Around 26 years later Eddie burst from his resting place to discover a brand new city looking like the typical imagining of what people thought 20 years of time passing would bring with laser guns, and robots, and hovercars! Oh my!
It was an amusing game in its day and while I wonít go into complete spoilers I will say, however, that this was one zombie that had a happy ending.
The Living Dead
The fascination with being a zombie isn't limited to a small amount of people. A growing number of people the last few years from all over the world participate in what is called a "Zombie Walk". Large numbers gather decked out in the most amazing zombie cosplay you'll ever see and walk about the city acting like a zombie. The first walk was held in 2006 with almost 900 people gathered and certified by Guinness World Records. Over the years the participation has grown to staggering numbers with as many close to around 30,000 participating.
Even science has taken an interest in zombies.
All I Have to Do Is Dream
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse was released back in 2005. It was crafted using a modified version of the engine used to make the first Halo. Yeah, that's right, the fucking Halo engine. With the hijinks one could ensue using Eddieís special zombie abilities being able to turn humans into fellow zombies, dismembering his hand, guiding it, and attaching it to control the bodies of his human enemies, throwing his internal organs as grenades, and the nonsensical use of his head as an explosive bowling ball was all pretty impressive. Now that itís 2013 what tools do digital carpenters have to work with?
Thanks to continuing advancements with PC hardware and new consoles on their way developers are able to make better use of their skills with the decreasing technological strains of inferior hardware and digitally craft magnificent worlds thanks to great looking engines, such as AnvilNext, CryEngine 3, Frostbite 2, Glacier 2, RED Engine, and the new Unreal Engine 4.
You want minions? Look no further than games such as the Overlord and Assassin's Creed games. You want mobility and crazy abilities? Prototype and inFAMOUS proved it can be done. Hell, I'm going to remind you all about Project Awakened from Phosphor Games which has crazy abilities coming out the ass. Certainly such a game would need a dark, gritty, and open world to crawl around and infest. Batman: Arkham City was a satisfying masterpiece of a dark and gritty open world.
If one were to pull these ideas together and make a single game from them my only concern isn't going to be whether or not it will sell. My concern is my heart exploding out of my chest from excitement at the sight of this dream becoming a reality. The only problem, however, isn't an issue of either hardware or software.
If I Only Had a Brain
If something isn't done soon I fear for the future of both our decaying brethren in videogames and videogames alike. Gamers want something new and developers are starting to want to take some risks with new ideas, but publishers seem dead set against it because new ideas aren't a sure thing. Originality isnít dying out, itís being snuffed out.
Project Awakened is the perfect example of originality snuffing after many liked what Phosphor Games was doing yet still turned them away because, "the company was only investing in sequels or similar games to well-known IPs ... 'tweaks' of ideas already in the market". We are heading down a dull path. It's time things change before we begin seeing games starting to copy each other left and right.
Have we already arrived at that juncture? Have videogames taken such a depressing turn that everybody is stooping to copying Call of Duty's zombie horde? Are people just going to keep doing more of the same and expect great things? Maybe I'm just overreacting here. I mean, we've already seen horde modes of zombies and Nazi zombies, but it's not like people are going to start giving zombie hordes guns or anything.