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Why I Can Never Hate on Dead Island


I get it. I can understand the buggy saves, the shoddy multiplayer, the complaints regarding the promises that the trailer made but never quite fulfilled. The first time my roommate picked up Dead Island and hopped into a co-op with me on Banoi, we had this conversation.

SA: Hey, do that jump again.

Me: *jumps*

SA: You look stupid when you do that.

I understood where he was coming from. The character models do a little squat jump when they make their leaps. I made the mental connection, but immediately started looking at him like he was kind of a douche. He was viewing this game from a technical standpoint, a critic's standpoint. Someone who has heard the hype, and heard hype like it before, and immediately wanted to spot things to lessen it. How dare he!

You know why I was jumping so much? Because when you jump kick a Walker/Infected, they fall down, and when you attack a fallen enemy, you include your weapon's force attribute with it's base damage. This saves you precious swings of your already rapidly-deteriorating weapons. I make it a habit to jump kick a lot, and I'm sure people think I look stupid doing it. But it gets results. Results in the form of decapitated heads and smashed-in craniums.

Also: jump kicking zombies makes me feel like a fucking bad-ass.

(I don't care what my character's model looks like in the game, when I knock down that Infected that's running balls-out for my brains, I feel like this.)

When I see a zombie coming for me in this game, I don't look at the sprite in detail while it tries to kill me. I don't make a negative mental check in my mind if there are a few 'clones' running around. And I certainly don't have time to complain if the reach of my weapon is a little different than what I think it would be in real life.

What I do is I kill the bitch.

It's the difference between playing and observing. I've been the most hardcore gamer (not saying much, in my situation, as I've been the only gamer) in my social circles for the majority of my life, and part of that personal development has been a single-minded focus on gameplay. I wasn't the type to walk around and look at all the sprites and models of a game, to see how the art direction complemented the setting. I didn't especially care about voice acting or FMV.

What I did care about was that if I got Shade's magic to 8:99 in Secret of Mana and cast Dark Force, an alternate animation showed that did tons more damage. If I knocked out a Koopa in Super Mario 64, I could ride its shell around, KOing other enemies and surfing across water hazards. I continuously entered and exited the shop menu with Adria the witch in the original Diablo, looking for new spellbooks, until my aunt could quote, with perfect inflection, "I sense a soul in search of answers,". I progress through the levels in Little Big Planet, timing my jumps perfectly and holding up the integrity of the party, I DO NOT STAMP EVERY FUCKING THING ON THE SCREEN FOR FIVE GODDAMN MINUTES.

I didn't learn, until very recently, that other people play games differently than I do.

And I still wonder why. Dead Island's reception has brought this to my focus, because it is a game where the gameplay is "kill lots of zombies, strategically." Other games, like Left 4 Dead, focus on speed, clearing a path to reach the next objective. Dead Rising is simply clearing that same path, but there is no way for you to "kill them all." In its own way, Dead Island is all about Killing Them All. It's not the game where you look at what you can and cannot pick up, or wonder why those pool floats can support the weight of a grown man/woman. Turn your back for a second, lose your focus, and you're surrounded.


People have called it the closest thing to an actual zombie apocalypse, and I agree.

The Zombie Apocalypse isn't about complaining that your skull-bashing hammer is falling apart. It's not about whining that someone stole your shotgun. It's not crying because you're suddenly all alone. Start bitching too loudly and you're something's lunch. To survive, you need to accept what is happening, come to terms with it. Make some goddamn lemonade. In a way, it's a reflection of what you have to do to really appreciate Dead Island. Stop looking for bugs, and glitches, and for God's sake stop fucking arguing about which console is better. Just...just stop.

Pick up a paddle, chuck it at something. Stockpile Alcohol, make Molotovs. Jump kick an Infected, then stomp. Drown a walker, for the lulz.

But above all, remember: Kill. Every Zombie. You Goddamn See.
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About AtomicBananaone of us since 4:45 PM on 03.23.2010