Foreword: This feature was originally supposed to go up for Halloween, but we’re so lazy and useless it took us over a month to finally upload it against our better judgement.
Robots. They’re pretty good to shoot to bits, especially when their nuts and bolts bounce around all over the place. Terrorists? A little bit of virtual payback for 11-9 could easily tickle somebody’s fancy. But zombies? They’re the most popular of all the videogame enemies. You can decapitate them, burn them and shoot their decaying limbs off completely without guilt. All because they’re no longer proper ‘living’ human beings.
Except, they are still living – the living dead, see. And we have feelings too. Yes, I’m a zombie if you haven’t already guessed. A crow recently pecked most of my brains out and just last week a stray dog ran off with my left foot, but I was still able to persuade the flesh-bags at Games Asylum to publish my â€˜racism against zombies’ campaign. I did try to call my MP to explain how unfairly the videogame market purveys us zombies but my bottom jaw fell on the floor, while when writing an angry letter to Points of View a couple of fingers dropped off. So how am I writing this, you ask? Put it this way: I think rigor mortis is setting in down below.
Back in the days of Ghouls & Ghosts on the Master System and Castlevania on the NES, we zombies were so pixelated and badly animated that we were almost a caricature of our now proud race. Indeed, when Sir Arthur threw a spear at the undead folk in Ghouls & Ghosts they just exploded in a most inoffensive way. Capcom even gave us comical blue skin and red hair. The wags! No offense meant; none taken.
The problems all started when new fangled polygon consoles started to appear. One game in particular though got us spinning in our shallow graves – SCi’s Carmageddon. At first the game was full of fleshy, pink humans to run down in spike covered cars but that was deemed too violent, so instead the humans were replaced with crowds of zombies. You should have seen the demonstration we held in protest at the cemetery that night – there were some very amusing banners I can tell you. Later a patch for the PC version was released to turn the zombies rightfully back into humans but it was too little too late – one zombie was so offended she ate her own knees in protest, another sadly sicked his lungs out whilst tripping his tits off in shock.
Then came Resident Evil, a game which portrayed us as bumbling idiots with nothing better to do than break into an empty mansion and mooch around for a bit. This is nothing like typical zombie behaviour – just last week I reunited a recently deceased old lady with her zombified cat, Mittens. That bit in the game when the zombie dogs jumped through the window was pretty cool, though. Sega soon jumped on the undead bandwagon with House of the Dead where you used a plastic pistol, much to our outrage, to shoot us in the head, legs and blow a hole in our torsos. Giving us green blood softened the blow slightly, but letting children â€˜enjoy’ the thrill of waving a gun around targeting individual bodyparts still upset us deeply. When Sega released the first screenshots of the cel-shaded version of House of the Dead III we thought our campaign was starting to pay off; but no – a more realistic version was quickly reinstated.
Things were starting to look up last year – the party we had when Capcom revealed that in Resident Evil 4 there would be no zombies but instead crazed Spanish villagers is still being talked about, while when Stubbs the Zombie was released we managed to get hold of some illegal fireworks and burn that clapped out caravan that somebody had dumped next to my gravestone. Then it all went horribly wrong…
Two words: Dead Rising. To us, it’s like the holocaust times a thousand. The holoooocaust. Shooting us with a shotgun was unsettling enough, but now gamers could crack us over the head with a bowling ball, cut us in two with a katana, ram us with shopping trolleys and even humiliate us by throwing CDs or cans of carbonated soft drinks. There was even an achievement for killing 53,594 zombies – the entire zombified population of the city in which the game was set. The coat-hanger in the gob was particularly distasteful seeing as that’s how my lover, Thomas, died after a fatal fashion show accident. And don’t get me started on the whole â€œbraaaaainsâ€ thing. I can’t stand the texture. Far too rubbery. I’d rather go for some lamb chops with peas and carrots.
The future of zombie games is looking rather mixed. Capcom have decided to stay away from zombies again for Resident Evil 5, substituting us for uncontroversial Africans, but the developers of Dead Island – the largely unheard of Techland – could soon find me and my posse flinging fecal matter at their windows. Midway’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro Am doesn’t appear to feature any undeads while Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys on DS (what’s with the long titles all of a sudden?) could do our reputation a world of good. Man’s only hope are three teenage zombies, you see. The developers of that one certainly have a sense of humor too – you have to collect “unhealth” packs. Har har… whoops, there goes my jaw again.