Rolling with the last guys on the planet

Pretend that a zombie apocalypse has already come and gone. The planet is ravaged and ransacked of most normal, warm-blooded beings. As soft moans carry on the wind and the streets become increasingly cluttered with viscera and “undeath,” developers continue to make games. The games in this alternate reality are much like our own. Bethesda is still making Fallout 3 and thatgamecompany is still willing to talk about fl0w. The only problem is, who is left to discuss or present these games on a decrepit Earth? The gifted people at have it all handled.

When I first heard about GameZombie, my initial reaction was one of curiosity. How could a group of guys (and a few girls) present the videogame industry as if no one was around to play the games? After watching a few of their videos, I quickly became indoctrinated into the idea and their universe. Interviews can tend to be boring, especially at events when developers have already said the same thing hundreds of times. The playful twists, colorful jabs, and superb editing that GameZombie unrolls onto all their content certainly livens up the process.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to travel to the GameZombie office to check out the staff and see what they had in motion. Hit the break to learn more about their site and what they offer.

“We bring it to you first…’cuz everyone else is dead.”

One of the first questions I asked the crew at GameZombie was how they started and what made them decide to go with the slant of presenting material within an imaginary zombie apocalypse. The Creative Director of the operation, Spencer Striker, was more than happy to oblige my question. He told me that idea for GameZombie was born from himself and earlier team members being immersed in the right fiction at the right time. Books like World War Z and George Romero movies present a stark contrast to the real world in terms of the typical people-to-zombie ratio (which is currently zero from what I am told), and the concept of a group of survivors continuing to pump out interactive video-game related content in such a “material-rich, dark universe” was too good to pass up. With the idea in tow, the team started creating sketches, plot lines, and other content to back it up.

“We get some criticism for the amount of style we put in our videos.”

GameZombie was able to get their site up and running before GDC 2007 in time to get into the event. Once in San Fransisco, the team was willing and able to toss a camera in any industry veteran’s face that they could. Only after getting back home to their office in Bloomington, Indiana did they become aware that they had excellent, original material — and that’s what GameZombie focuses on providing. Content from E3 is still bumping out of the site, but it’s stylistic elements like GameZombie’s multiple cameras, remixed music and stringent editing standards that set them apart from the typical interview. As in the case of the Fallout 3 interview immediately below, the juxtaposition of angles and presentation certainly gives anyone a unique glimpse of Todd Howard and his baby in motion.

Naturally, there are critics of GameZombie’s style who would prefer to see one-camera interviews that are meant more to provide information than entertainment. While the staff admits to being a little more human than zombie when it comes to receiving negative feedback, they seem certain that their post-zombocalyptic, stylistic approach is the best way to provide unique content to viewers. 

“We win 80% of the time.”

Of course, GameZombie doesn’t just focus on interviews. They also provide reviews, previews, and discussion topics. The group is familiar with causing a stir as well. The series called “Zombie Bash!” is based on the premise of cutting down popular games. The first video in the planned series is all about the console version of Final Fantasy XI and how terrible it is. As you may imagine, the video is still taking its licks on the Internet.

Internet fights over popular titles are always great, but when I had a chance to ask who would when in a fight between zombies and Mr. Destructoid, the response that is sure to impress.

Mr. Destructoid would destroy the zombie horde with his left arm-mounted machine gun, his three-round rocket launcher on his right arm, and the twin launchers for mortar rounds/gas grenades behind his head. He would however, sustain several lethal bites in the course of the life or death battle, and would thereafter become a zombified Mr. Destructoid, forever torn between his desire to devour human flesh and his will to bring quality video game journalism to humanity.

I had a great time meeting the members of GameZombie and look forward to what they’ll be offering in the future. Unlike a horde of zombies, marching mindlessly through the streets, GameZombie is made up of passionate individuals dedicated to bringing something different to your computer screen. They update on a regular basis and keep a fairly large staff to make sure new material keeps coming. Make sure to take the time to check them out.

Brad BradNicholson