Mat Langford’s Gaming World: Mmm…Brains! It’s the Zombie Infestation!

Zombies are everywhere lately; they’re in film, on TV and especially in our video games. With the success of games like Left 4 Dead and the Resident Evil series, it’s no wonder they’re being used as frequently as they are. But where is the line when it comes to undead oversaturation?

It is obviously a cash-in on the pop culture phenomenon that seems to have gotten much bigger since Resident Evil first pioneered the modern zombie hunt back in 1996. But now that it is creeping into games that perhaps wouldn’t normally feature the undead, it would appear that the zombie apocalypse might be wearing out its welcome.

Red Dead Redemption was easily one of the best games ever made. The country setting was ideal for an epic western experience. Then they released the expansion that centered around, you guessed it, zombies. Although the expansion was good, it was obvious that the producers at Rockstar were obviously looking for an easy sell. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cheapen the series for me a little, but that’s the business.

The issue I have with this zombie infestation – other than the unnecessary cameos in non-zombie games – is that many of the games that feature our flesh-eating friends share similar qualities. In fact, some would even venture to say that they’re almost all alike. It’s a small leap from a game like Left 4 Dead to Dead Island, the newest zombie adventure. In L4D, you play in a group of up to four characters, who strive to survive against an undead horde that has infested your city. In Dead Island, you play in a group of up to four people that must defend themselves on a remote island from a horde of zombies. Pretty similar to me! And lets not forget Dead Rising, which features extensive weapon customization. This feature is shared in Left 4 Dead as well.

If there are no major differentiations that set the inevitable sequels of this new set of games apart from the old, the genre may lose its appeal and stagnate. We can only take so many reiterations of Left 4 Dead. Lets see a game where you play as the zombie and infest a city yourself, causing mass panic and destruction! That would be different! I suppose it could be worse though, it could be …vampires.

Are you hungry for more braiiinnnssss? Do you think that its time to get rid of zombies? Let us know in the comments!

4 Replies to “Mat Langford’s Gaming World: Mmm…Brains! It’s the Zombie Infestation!”

  1. A main driver to the idea and success of zombies is that they lend themselves to a social setting better than other “monsters”: It’s great fun to watch a group of friends or strangers run from a zombie horde in a film. And in real life, who among us hasn’t lined up their best chums, over a pint of beer, put a “baseball bat” in one’s hands, a “shotgun” in another’s, and a “tire iron” in yet another’s and said: “Right. In case of zombie apocalypse, you guys are my chosen entourage”?

    That’s what makes LFD and other similar games so much fun – getting my 3 chums together on a lazy Friday evening and running around, in XBOX-land, trying to survive the end of the world whilst keeping our brains intact. And, of course, having a few laughs while we’re at it.

    Still, like you say, the games are all variations on the same theme. To keep us interested, we need new weapons, more tools and more adaptive environments. Make it as real an experience as possible. You know, given it’s zombies and all.

    I’d love to kill me a zombie with some purposely spilled water and a plugged-in hairdryer! Alas, that level interactivity still eludes us.

  2. Good point on creating a game where the player is a zombie. I’m pretty certain I’d be more than giddy at inflicting mass chaos and plague upon a city.

    One of the most exciting and refreshing zombie games that’s in development is an iPhone/Android game called “Zombies, Run!”. This game will basically take the zombie apocalypse (ZA) theme and marry it with exergaming (The two things I blog about weekly! Awesome!) through the gamer physically running. The more the gamer runs, the more points and supplies the gamer gets to support his/her ZA colony.

    What are your thoughts on the direction zombie movies have taken? Do you think they’re becoming redundant? What, if anything, do you think could be done to refresh them?

  3. Lady ARod,

    I’ve heard some good things about that particular game, and I fully endorse making games more heart-friendly! Although there have already been indie games that try and take advantage of exergaming (love that word btw) that – to put it lightly – haven’t really taken off. The success of more commercial games like Dance Central and DDR can’t be overlooked though!

    As for zombie movies, I think that there isn’t much that catches my attention anymore…aside from Walking Dead. I was a big fan of the comic books before the series though, so my intrigue is partially for how they will play out the comic story line. I’m not too sure what could be done to refresh this genre, seeing as there is very little trail left unexplored. Perhaps a merger of all genres into one teen movie starring Michael J Fox, and call it “Teen WolfVamZombStein? Just a thought 😀

    Thanks for your comments!

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