Zombies: Done to Death?


At the Spike Video Game Awards, a new upcoming video game was revealed. Created by the legendary developers Naughty Dog, it promised incredible graphics, a genre-blending formula of survival and action, and most of all, the renaissance of video game story telling. Coming from anyone else I would be skeptical, but if anyone knows how to do a good story in a video game, it’s Naughty Dog. The game is called The Last of Us, and the trailer is below:

And while objectively it looks awesome, I still have a few reservations, not the least of which is that it looks extremely similar to the famous Dead Island trailer. As we all know, the actual game turned out nothing like the trailer; and while a fun game in itself, it ended up being utterly forgettable in the shadows of this year’s bigger and better games. But I think the bigger issue is the subject matter. Zombies have so saturated our media that I’m not sure they’re actually that exciting anymore. Can it be, that I’ve actually become bored with zombies?

We could have stopped after Shaun of the Dead. There was nothing else to do.

Zombies have been a “fad” for years. I’ve got zombie movies, zombie video games, normal video games with Nazi zombies, and every other type of zombie thing they throw at me. But I think I’m getting over it. And now Naughty Dog is coming out with another zombie game? But, you say, this time it’s a real infection by a real fungus, the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis! That same fungus that, in actuality, takes over the brains of ants and controls their minds, not unlike a zombie infestation. I say who cares. Sure, it’s a unique concept, but it’s a fresh coat of paint over an already done-to-death plot point. That’s where my hesitation comes from. I thought zombies were over with. I thought, dare I say it, that zombies were dead.

Yup.

Now we’re at the point where you skip the rest of the article and flood the comments section with “But The Walking Dead is awesome, you fat dickhead!”. Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve yet to see the show. In fact, everyone has told me it is nothing short of epic. And I intend to watch it, I really do. And I believe it will be great. But for some reason I keep watching old episodes of 30 Rock while playing Battlefield 3 instead of sitting down and actually beginning the show. I’m not sure why, but something about zombies just keeps me from getting excited. The novelty is gone, and I don’t know how to get into it anymore. I’m an old man, and my zombie apocalypse weapon is to yell at them to get off my lawn.

Fucking zipper-heads...

Jsixgun said it best to me today when he described his reaction to The Last of Us. “Naughty Dog, without the name I would have gone ‘meh’, but with the name I went ‘hmmm.'” And despite the fact that he said it like an old Yiddish woman, I agree. Naughty Dog really is the best developer out there when it comes to stories, and I anticipate I’ll be blathering on about how amazing it is once I play the game. But at least for now, I just think I’m all zombied-out. Maybe I just need a break from it. Maybe that’s why I’ve been drowning my sorrows in uber-realistic shooters lately. I just need a break from the undead for a while; that way when I do jump back into the fray, I’ll be fanatical about The Walking Dead and The Last of Us instead of burnt out and indifferent. Honestly, I’m not sure how much gas this zombie craze has left in it, but I can at least rest easy knowing that those who are keeping the fad alive are doing it with some great story writing. And I really do anticipate loving The Walking Dead and The Last of Us once I finally dig into them. But for now, if I can’t complain, then what else do I have?

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7 Comments to “Zombies: Done to Death?”

  1. My favorite article in a long time. One question, what is Yiddish Women?

    • Come on jsixgun that is a need to know. Yiddish is the slang that Jews use. You Got to love your Yiddish Grandmas.

      • In my opinion there are only a few things need to know. One, Georgia is not “north” of Tennessee. Two “your” can also be spelled “you’re” depending on the usage of the word. Three, Jessica Simpson IS NOT pregnant with my baby., Everything else is suspect.

  2. Fantastic Post! I feel zombie stuff is getting out of control. We need the good stuff. The WOW factor. Not another zombie poop. The Walking Dead TV show I have liked. Only seen Season 1. I think it is TV worth watching. 95% of TV now is garbage.

    Love it how you feel like Clint Eastwood. Looking forward to your review of the game! all and all Great post.

  3. I’m, like everybody else, getting pretty bored of Zombies. But I realized i’m bored of shetty zombie game and spin-off, more than actual zombie fest.

    Lately we got no great Zombie games on the scene. Dead Nation DLC was meh, Zombie Apocalypse : Never Die Alone, I played for 10 min and turn it off in a outburst of being ripped off of 10$. What about Dead Rising 2? It was the worst zombie game I played last year.

    But I also remember Resident Evil 4, that I have buyed on PSN, and it’s great killing Zombies again, same for Resident Evil 5, even if it’s not has stellar as the 4th. So if Naughty Dog bring a Zombies game, I have no doubt they will deliver the best zombie killing fest of all time.

  4. I honestly think that zombie games are here to stay. They are pretty noncontroversial as an enemy. Instead of having to make up some fake terrorist organization at the risk of offending people, companies can simply bypass that by throwing zombies in there. Also, normally if you had the gamer shooting women and children this would cause a ruckus, but simply turn them into zombies and you do not run into this problem.

    Also, If you think about it, zombies in games have been around since the dawn of the FPS, from Doom til now. However, only now are they taking center stage as the enemy instead of simply one type of enemy among others. Designers will use zombies as the main enemy when they feel lazy. Zombies do not have to have a motivation to kill. They want you dead to eat your brains, dick, or whatever else. But if you have a real human enemy there needs to be more story behind why they are against you. Are they trying to take over the world? How are they going to do it? There must be more thought put into the story in the game when real humans, or other intelligent beings are the enemy and designers need to put a motivation of wanting you dead.

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