Reality Check - Why all the Zombies in Video Games?

This week Cam investigates our fascination with Zombies in Video Games. In case you hadn't noticed, they're everywhere. Seriously.

Discussion

526 comments
H0RSE
H0RSE

For many US citizens, every other country is a part of the "out group."...

Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

I like zombies since Resident Evil 2. Because I loved RE2 I think for me the whole zombie game-play works as a combination of nostalgia and asthetic preference.

whitejackel
whitejackel

some zombies are ok and i know im more desensitiezed to them now then i was say 5 years ago, but i am getting tired of them everywayre i look for a foe id like some thing that is scary in the sense that its not dead and coming to get me but because its alive and smarter than me or some thing like that.

CrossKamui
CrossKamui

I specially liked Dead Island, though if you ask me if it was scary or not... Maybe sometimes when a zombie caught me unexpectedly. But this is almost the only thing that can scare the shit out of me: if an enemy (be zombie or anything else) jumps on me while i'm wondering around. :)

Blue-Diamond
Blue-Diamond

Zombies are fun and scary. But I don't like the too gross zombies, too gross just makes me sick and uninterested.

simplesurf7
simplesurf7

I know I'm late to the party, but I just think of zombies as the embodiment of gameplay mechanics.  A mixture of danger, numbers, and low-level AI, lets the player engage with action or strategy at their discretion. 

 Yes, zombies could take other forms like robots or whatever, but from a gameplay perspective nobody seems so troubled over double-jumps or 1ups. (game mechanics I also enjoy btw)

TM-Mordred
TM-Mordred

am i the only person that actually liked the animation in the polar express? :\

rojas2611
rojas2611

Another cliche in games, much more widespread, is the killing in and of itself.

In real life a minority of fights result in killing, whereas in games it seems that the majority of confrontations result in killing, sometimes when it would be even more fun having our opponent chicken out, run embarrassingly, join your side or faint.

If being original is doing something that is different from what everyone else does then originality is making a game the pits us against our opponents in ways other than what is essentially the same thing over and over again.

Perhaps most players are also desensitized to killing in games, in general.

Put these ideas all together and you might find that an enormous hidden market/genre is sitting there, waiting for a first title.

ThomasNelson
ThomasNelson

i incredibly tired of zombie move on to androids or something

zaber9
zaber9

Zombies are basically cliches by now.


cboye18
cboye18

Dying Light looks boring to me, probably because I'm indeed desensitized for zombies. The zombies all look copy/pasted to me which makes it even worse. It's a shame because they could have made better use of the engine.

cboye18
cboye18

Pop cap must've been like: hmm let's put a game where plants are fighting....insects maybe? Fuck it, we're doing zombies.

So much for originality lol.

LD36
LD36

Zombies are good cannon fodder, thats pretty much it.

DeathProofDelta
DeathProofDelta

They should make a game where you are a cop and you mercilessly kill criminals!

vredyq
vredyq

There is another reason for having so much zombies in video games these days.If you make a game where the player kill 1000+ russians, chinese or arabs, they may feel offended and do something undesirable like not buying the game and therefore reducing the profits.

BiohazardXTREME
BiohazardXTREME

I'm fairly desensitized to zombies by now, but that's not to say I would be in real life. The thing about zombies in video games is that they often lack uniqueness, and you're usually pretty much thrown into a world of zombies where they attack you and you kill them. But imagine if you're playing something like The Sims, where your character has to live a normal life, and interact with neighbors and family members and store clerks. Then after like 10 - 20 hours of that kind of gameplay, they start turning into zombies and you're forced to kill them. By now, you're familiar with their personalities, and know them a lot better. I think killing them would be much more difficult then.

Noonewarrior
Noonewarrior

The question to ask would be, If you were so used to Zombies in video games that if they miraculously appeared in the real would you be afraid or not?

happypanda53
happypanda53

killing zombies is fun, less chat, more splat.

Sargoroth
Sargoroth

My "uncanny valley" are children. They're somewhat human, but awkward; make strange noises and scream around... They repell me more than a video game zombie at least ^^

avatarIVN
avatarIVN

Now there is real (videogame) zombie apocalypse everywhere: you see if game developers need an easy DLC to launch you can always use zombies. It doesn't matter if it makes sense or not. All that matters is that you can kill (ruthlessly, in as many bloody ways as possible) group after group of zombies. And zombies don't even need such a powerful AI: they rarely cover, or take guns, or counter-strike you with aikido moves. So, why are zombies are part of our pop culture? The anser is: they were there already.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

I literally don't care if a Zombie game comes out now. Like last time I cared was Left 4 dead 2. Since then, I look at a zombie game preview and don't give a sht about it at all now. I look at the footage and just go bla, whatever. I don't even think about buying anything with zombies in it now nor care about it, ive seen so much of it. Not just with games, movies , Tv series. Im so saturated with zombies, that I couldn't care less about them.

Zensora
Zensora

I think for many people it is also the world that would change because of the zombies and the pure fight for survival that they would find so appealing, this goes hand in hand with the idea that Zombies would be something almost anyone could kill/attack, other than a fight against a human in which most of those people, who would like to live in a world full of survival and zombies, would lose or be afraid to get hurt. And as an answer to a lot of people here who call zombies just another fling and that they will be gone soon: Well, yeah, maybe they will be but that doesn't mean that they aren't fun in video games or that it is stupid to like this hype. I always enjoy a good zombie game (if it is not RE 4-6) Most are mixed with pretty good ideas and sometimes like in The walking dead for example make us think about ourselves and the people around us.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

the video game industry always has some kind of 'flavor of the week', and right now zombies are it. 

The industry will make zombie games until no one can stand picking one up then they will go onto something else.  Business as usual folks.

tomtidona
tomtidona

Lately i thought im done with zombies and then "7 days 2 die " came out and im not afraid of the new zeds over there its just that they become more interesting or should i say there behavior did , anyway never was scared at an point but before dieing by one or being cornered by dozen it can be stressful . cheers thanks for that episode .

dwarvendk
dwarvendk

Zombies in games do not scare me anymore, unlike the first RE. Now it would be different entirely for me to walk out my house in the morning and get rushed by one... that would indeed be terrifying

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

I'm sick to DEATH of zombies... If I never see another one in any form on any media again I'd be supremely happy.

There was a movie made in 1938 called Things To Come I highly recommend. I has a short segment with zombies (even though they aren't called that...).  

I mean, mindlessly consuming, sometimes even in malls... there's a metaphor there and it's lost on the sheeple...

Raggar127
Raggar127

Another great episode thanks sir!

pablo_godoy
pablo_godoy

XXI century zombies are nothing compared to the brain-eating, slow-walking. moaning monster that terrified me as a kid

michaelsgreat
michaelsgreat

We can definitely get more creative with zombies... I mean, if we must have them why do the same tired thing over and over? The Last of Us got it right with blind mushroom headed zombies. They were still zombies, but Naughty Dog made them much different from what we are used to seeing.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Because the majority of gamers have become zombies.

NoahRoalson
NoahRoalson

Easy AI to program and survival modes keep people playing. Simple. Lazy way to give a game extra gameplay value.

r_ruiz6047
r_ruiz6047

I'm past the zombie part in these games but I love the survival concept like in "State of Decay", "The Dead Linger" and "DayZ". When I play DayZ now, I don't even care about the zombies, I'm more worried about eating, drinking, fixing cars and killing other players for their goodies. It's not the zombies anymore.

I think if a developer would make a game solely about surviving (eating, drinking, fort building, fixing cars) a catastrophe disaster w/out zombies and throw in some pvp, it would be a hit.  

artyom570568
artyom570568

what happened to "what if machine?"


btw i love the new show too....

dirkradke
dirkradke

Don't really have a problem with Zombies, but I am sick of them in video games.  They have been used too much.  I suppose if the living dead jump out at me and eat my face off in a video game it still has power to make me say: "whoa!".  The psychology of this weeks Reality Check is more interesting than Zombies even if it was about Zombie psychology.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

I don't think it's as much about becoming desensitised to them as it is about the way we interact with them.

Zombies used to be stars of the survival horror genre. A massive hoard of ravenous monsters that want to eat your flesh while you're still breathing. There was no way you could take them all on and survive. You needed to be stealthy. You needed to think about how to get passed them, or away from them. You were best to avoid alerting them or risk being eaten alive.

Nowadays, it's all about gunning down hoard after hoard, wave after wave. It's about killing as many as you can and getting a high score. The psychological aspect of it has gone and what's left is brainless run-and-gunning gameplay that plagues pretty much any FPS these days.

MADDjoe
MADDjoe

I think it depends on the game. Just because Zombies are it doesn't instantly make it a bad or over done game (personally I think FPS are way over done). If the game is awesome than it will be awesome, zombies or not. Being scared of something for me depends on again either the game or movie. If the movie or game is done right, and able to get your emotions into it than yes I would be scared. I do like the zombie games. My biggest thing is that there are all types of zombies: undead, infected, mysticly changed, etc... Which I think some people don't get this, and say those are how zombies are suppose to be. Well when you see a real zombie, and can determine how they are "suppose" to be than you can comment on that. 

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

I can understand the psychology behind it, I just don't feel that way and stay away from Zombies as much as I can. I've never found zombies appealing to be honest. I mean, I just don't like them at all. Whenever I see a movie or game with them in I just roll my eyes and move on. I guess it comes down to my hate for cliches. Or maybe it's partly because I find it lazy writing in that you don't need to give your enemies personalities or intelligence. I just don't see the appeal.

vivalatour
vivalatour

the interactions with zombies are quite easy , they walk or run and lunge at you and you kill them , it's almost expected and and very easy to predict and I think it makes the gamers who really don't care for the reality of the way more challenging games feel good about their short comings WOW that's really cool you killed a 100 zombies and there is another 1000 more in all the other games ? I played RE and a couple more and that was enough for me !

MAXAM999
MAXAM999

Once Capcom return to their roots on RE franchise .. we will be scared of Zombies !

so_hai
so_hai

It's my view that zombie provide a guilt-free kill. They represent everything about a person except a person's individuality and personality. Guilt-free kills mean that we get the gore, the satisfaction but without the niggling worry that we're a psychopath.

hornspiller
hornspiller

Zombies are about as scary as a banana peel on the ground. And less dangerous.

ORB1T4LOne
ORB1T4LOne

@simplesurf7 I'm late to the party too, just wanted to tell you that zombies are simply easy targets we can have fun with ! :D

LatinproX
LatinproX

@zaber9  What`s a bigger cliche is people who point obvious cliches. LOL!