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Thoughts on zombie games.

posted by Merlynn on - last edited - Viewed by 829 users

I guess what I hate about zombie games,and zombie media in general,is the whole "we're screwed" thing that pervades the whole genre. The idea that the zombies are an unstoppable force even when they're not.

For example,if you have a means to quickly kill a zombie,like shooting them in the head,it takes away the viability that these things are a real threat any more than any other deadly illness would be. One might point to,say,the black plague and say "But look how many people died because of that",but one has to bare in mind our knowledge of how to contain a disease was very limited back then due to how little we knew of biology. Modern quarantine techniques would make it much harder for a disease to get out of one city,zombies or not.

Second,the whole "attracted by sound" thing is as much a liability to the zombies as it is to the survivors. Consider this. You wire a building with homemade explosives. You turn on a radio/mp3 player/boombox in the middle of the building and sneak out before the zombies get there. Wait til it's full and boom goes the zombies. It's like the pipe bombs in Left 4 Dead taken a step further.

But over all,my point is that these zombie movies/games/etc,ultimately have this feeling of hopelessness to them. Like there's simply no way to win. And that just bothers me that all it takes is a few easily killed zombies and suddenly,humanity is on the run and everyone's dying left and right. Like we don't have attack helicopters,tanks,a full military,and,in the worst case scenario,the nuclear option. There just comes a point where you have to ask what,exactly,all these highly trained fighting men and women are doing while all this is going down? And that's not even considering how other countries would react. I'm pretty sure no country is going to sit around with it's thumb up it's butt while a zombie outbreak devours a major country.

Well,just wanted to put that out there. Thanks for reading. :D

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    harrisonpink Telltale Staff

    @Merlynn said:
    But over all,my point is that these zombie movies/games/etc,ultimately have this feeling of hopelessness to them. Like there's simply no way to win. And that just bothers me that all it takes is a few easily killed zombies and suddenly,humanity is on the run and everyone's dying left and right.

    I think that's actually THE point of zombie games / movies. The hopeless feeling of being a small group of survivors. It's more a fight against yourself / the other survivors as it is against the zombies. The zombies are just a means to an end, and most times a hamfisted allegory of consumerism. They get us to the real story, the day to day act of surviving, knowing you're probably just going to die anyway. It's what you do in those last few days / weeks / months and the impressions you leave on the people that succeed you that matters. THATS where the story comes from. The zombies are just how we get there.

  • @Merlynn said: I guess what I hate about zombie games,and zombie media in general,is the whole "we're screwed" thing that pervades the whole genre. The idea that the zombies are an unstoppable force even when they're not.

    For example,if you have a means to quickly kill a zombie,like shooting them in the head,it takes away the viability that these things are a real threat any more than any other deadly illness would be. One might point to,say,the black plague and say "But look how many people died because of that",but one has to bare in mind our knowledge of how to contain a disease was very limited back then due to how little we knew of biology. Modern quarantine techniques would make it much harder for a disease to get out of one city,zombies or not.

    Yes, but you are forgetting one of the staples of the zombie genre: everyone involved in the quarantine process is a massive bonehead!

  • Harrison: Um,I hate to tell you this,but we're gonna die anyway,with or without zombies. Also,I always thought zombies were a cross between past misdeeds (the zombies representing something you thought dead but still rises to come after you) and fear of large groups of people coming after you. To be a minority under attack by the majority,even if the majority is stupid,slow,and easily taken out one on one,the hordes of them will wear you down and ultimately overwhelm you. I don't see how consumerism works into it unless you basically consider the average person a mindless idiot who'll buy anything shoved in their face. But that would make you a pretentious moron who thinks he's better than everyone else while he goes out and buys the same crap the rest of us do. And that's not true,right? RIGHT!?

    Woody: Yeah,but that's kind of what makes it even more unbelievable. Airports and security got super tight with the whole bird flu thing. I find it hard to believe an outbreak of zombie virus would be treated more lightly. A more believable scenario would be people trapped in a city that's been over run with zombies and quarantined off from the rest of the world. Kind of an Escape from New York with zombies situation. That'd work better for me. Fighting to reach food and supply drops while outwitting or out fighting other survivor gangs as you wait for them to ok you from the quarantine zone for testing. At the very least,the zombies should be hard to kill as they have some imperfect regeneration ability that lets them recover from almost any injury but also gives them a ravenous hunger,especially for proteins which means meat.

    But in the end,yeah,when you have A) a containable threat with B) overreacting drama queens bemoaning their horrible fate,it comes off more like you're surrounded by emos who refuse to do anything about their situation rather than a truly hopeless situation.

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    harrisonpink Telltale Staff

    @Merlynn said: Harrison: Um,I hate to tell you this,but we're gonna die anyway,with or without zombies.

    Whaa....!!!? I thought I was gonna live forever! Well you've gone and spoiled my day! :D

    @Merlynn said: I don't see how consumerism works into it unless you basically consider the average person a mindless idiot who'll buy anything shoved in their face. But that would make you a pretentious moron who thinks he's better than everyone else while he goes out and buys the same crap the rest of us do. And that's not true,right? RIGHT!?

    Well, I actually started another thread on this exact topic. In the 1978 Romero movie Dawn of the Dead (when the survivors are trapped in the mall), one of the characters basically spells out the connection between the undead zombies and consumerist zombies:

    "Peter: They're after the place. They don't know why, they just remember. Remember that they want to be in here."

    Weird, but true! :D

  • But that's kind of reaching. One line and all. If anyone was an example of human greed in that movie,it was,well,the humans. The zombies are simply following the most primitive of instincts and just want to feed. If anything,the zombies would probably represent the poor who have nothing while the well off enjoy their spoils in luxury and security. So,yeah,how are zombies themselves consumerist metaphors again?

    I think zombies work better as a metaphor for the inevitability for death and the desire to remain an individual versus becoming one of the mindless masses who exist in a miserable state and will probably end up being destroyed trying to find a meal.

  • @Merlynn said: But that's kind of reaching. One line and all. If anyone was an example of human greed in that movie,it was,well,the humans. The zombies are simply following the most primitive of instincts and just want to feed. If anything,the zombies would probably represent the poor who have nothing while the well off enjoy their spoils in luxury and security. So,yeah,how are zombies themselves consumerist metaphors again?

    I think zombies work better as a metaphor for the inevitability for death and the desire to remain an individual versus becoming one of the mindless masses who exist in a miserable state and will probably end up being destroyed trying to find a meal.

    I think the point it was trying to make was that there is a finer line between humans and zombies than we'd like to admit. Who are the real zombies in the mall, the monsters or the people?

    There is more than one way to interpret a zombie film, or any film for that matter. For example, one interpretation is that zombies represent everything the modern liberal fears from the "conservative agenda." Which you can find in this article.

  • Ah,but trying to hammer in extra meaning,especially political meaning,into something like a zombie often ends up as projecting. Consider this little joke from way back when.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a6YdNmK77k

    And more than one liberal has referred to conservatives as "blood suckers". So the metaphors are interchangeable and thus defy the connections. It's really just people,both the audience and the directors,who are projecting their own ideas into what the zombie or vampire represents.

  • @Merlynn said: Ah,but trying to hammer in extra meaning,especially political meaning,into something like a zombie often ends up as projecting. Consider this little joke from way back when.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a6YdNmK77k

    And more than one liberal has referred to conservatives as "blood suckers". So the metaphors are interchangeable and thus defy the connections. It's really just people,both the audience and the directors,who are projecting their own ideas into what the zombie or vampire represents.

    This is exactly what cinema is all about: the projection of ideas, the conveying of society at a particular point of time, the an expression of ones (the filmmakers) beliefs. Cinema is projecting, whether you like it or not, and has been to some degree ever since its inception. The zombie genre is just one of many different ways a storyteller can project a certain kind of commentary on society.

  • Actually,most movies are about storytelling. And the best stories,the ones people talk about the most,are the ones where you leave things up to the audience to decide what was right or wrong. A lot of times,I leave a movie theater and say,"Wow,they really tried to sodomize that dead horse while they were beating it." Come to think of it,rough sex with a dead animal pretty much does sum up how I feel about most movies and their forced messages.

    That's one of the things I was disappointed about by the Star Wars prequels. They could have told a great story about how the old republic tore itself apart thanks to the machinations of the Emperor,but instead chose to focus on every shoehorned in message,ideal,and dumb ass "comedy" bits. They didn't really focus on the narrative we wanted to see. That being how the republic ended,the Empire came to power,and Anakin Skywalker ended up Darth Vader. While that story is still in there,it's buried under so much crap,it's hard to enjoy it.

    In the movies,I can't shake the feeling you're supposed to see things a certain way. But danged if I can figure out what it is. The narrative is so confused by it's attempts at symbolism,morals,and side messages,you can't really figure out what they were trying to say. And they don't just let the story play out,like "this happened,which lead to this,which lead to this",like most good movies do. A good movie presents a bunch of events in a logical way so you can see how A leads to B leads to C. These movies go all over and lack any kind of focus so they can deliver little messages that don't really matter to the story.

    A lot of movies that try to use something as a metaphor often end up falling into the same trap. By trying to illustrate their ideals,they have to force their characters to behave like idiots,bring about unbelievably bad circumstance,and basically pretend something is a bigger threat than it is. Which brings me back around to my original point,the hopelessness forced into most zombie movies. It's all about characters being stupid and acting like something is a bigger threat than it really is.

    Take Evil Dead. There,the zombies,you lop off a hand,it keeps moving. You cut off it's head,it still screams for your blood. And they can infect you,forcing you to cut off parts of your own body to avoid being completely taken over. This,my friends,is a real threat. It's realistically dangerous to face off against these things. They inspire fear by the fact they are not playing by any rules that we understand.

    Most zombie movies,the zombies are little better than unarmed humans. Highly motivated,sure. Single minded and vicious,indeed. But how,exactly,is that supposed to be dangerous to people who have tanks? You could roll through zombie town in a tank with a guy on a machine gun up top and just roll over the zombie horde. Any that tried to get into the tank,well,good luck biting your way through freakin' tank armor. Hell,a helicopter with a loud speaker and a machine gun could easily draw out and shoot down any zombies out there.

    That's one of the things I liked about Left 4 Dead. They had some pretty good excuses for how the outbreak got so bad. First,you have carriers. People who aren't effected by the virus,but are infected. These Typhoid Marys would explain how the virus got past simple quarantine methods. And they state several times they don't know how the virus is transmitted. And then there's the special infected. I could see a tank ripping off a hatch lid. I could see a smoker pulling someone out of a helicopter. I could see a hunter leaping a quarantine wall and finding new prey. And all of them transmitting a virus that most people are likely to get taken by. They really help explain things.

    In the end,Walking Dead seems like another of those needlessly hopeless kind of zombie stories that just really don't inspire terror so much as "What the hell is wrong with you people,just run up behind the zombie and whack it over the head til it stops moving!" responses. Frankly,the only way I can see a virus like that becoming a wide spread problem is if someone was behind spreading the virus. Like the doomsday cult in Quarantine or Umbrella Corp.

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    harrisonpink Telltale Staff

    It took 3 days for FEMA to get supplies to the SuperDome ;)

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