Why We Love Zombies

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Why We Love Zombies

Yahtzee's got four good reasons why we love any book, movie or game that has zombies in it.

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Very interesting points. Number 1 and 2,especially, actually make enough sense to seem unsettling. I'm in agreement.

Even though you might be projecting (just a bit), deep down, human beings do indeed despise eachother on some level or another. Good point with that one.

Odd, never thought of it that way.

Ooooo, zombies! I shall read and comment on this! He/you are right though.

Ah Yahtzee. Your pessimism sustains me...

You really shot the zombie in the head with this one!

...that sounded a lot cooler and sensical in my head

"no one really knows what happens after death. The only thing we do know is that the concept of an afterlife, any afterlife, even the hot fiery ones, holds more appeal than the notion that our consciousness will simply cease to be."

Never knew you felt that way yahtzee, so do I.

I totally agree with all points, but number four sticks out to me the most. We're so obsessed with what might happen when everything comes to end (myself included). We find the subject fascinating because we imagine ourselves in these situations and being able to survive when everybody else has fallen. We project ourselves into these situations because we want to feel and believe that we are survivors or masters of our own fate. It's an attractive idea, and adding zombies to that mix, where we can act out our homocidal tendencies without much consequence, makes it more interesting. Good article.

I hate number 3. I don't disagree with it, I just hate it. A lot of horror comes from this aspect of the subconscious - that it's comforting to think that some sort of life exists after death. But I don't think horror should be comforting at all. I think it should make you feel like everything is fucked, especially you.

Good points. And I'm laughing at the lack of comments. Well done

Ooh, an article about zombies. :D

I agree with all those points he brought up on why we love zombies. We all despise somebody in our lifetimes, and we have to bring it out on somebody. Aliens are too technologically advanced and sometimes annoying. We can't kill our own species, we'll get thrown in a jail. We want to be able to kill things without consequences. Zombies are a great way to think about releasing our anger and hatred.(even if it is frustrating when you get to a high level and the enemy just hits you twice and brings you down)

Good article, Yahtzee! Look forward to whatever review you post tomorrow! :D

I disagree, on the grounds that I don't usually like Zombies. I find them bland and overdone. Why can't we have a more original horror villain for once? Why can't there be more along the lines of Chaos, from Warhammer 40k (and yes, I know Gw copied the Chaos idea from some book, but it's still more original than Zombies - and you can be very creative with it, as Dan Abnett never fails to demonstrate). Shambling hordes of groaning zombies rarely inspire any emotion other than boredom in me (the "rarely" bit added in due to Ravenholm, though even that scared me more because of the atmosphere than the "OH GOD HELP ME in reverse" zombies).

Clunks:
I hate number 3. I don't disagree with it, I just hate it. A lot of horror comes from this aspect of the subconscious - that it's comforting to think that some sort of life exists after death. But I don't think horror should be comforting at all. I think it should make you feel like everything is fucked, especially you.

Yes, but at the same time i think that its true, think about it. Would you rather simply stop, blackness, nothing, after death? Or would the notion that something resides that can be horrifically and monstrously woken up is in you?

Really i think number 2 is the main reason people like zombies though, i mean, look at Left 4 Dead.

I'm making a zombie survival during the 1800s with Unity. One of the things I've loved about zombie survivals are
A: Simple enemy. It needs no backstory. It's like an animal yet human. It does not try to hide or run away. It's goal is simple : To kill you. They are not invading. They have nothing to protect.
B: Dread. a zombie can die, but what effect are you really having aside from postponing the inevitable? Humans are often hopelessly outnumbered.
C: Random. They can be in swarms or small pecks, they aren't consistent and can be hard to plan.
D: Swarms. Zombie AI isn't as complex as a soldiers would be - this allows a larger amount of zombies to be against the player. This is refreshing after fighting only 3-4 enemies at a time in every game.

I'm sick to death (see what I did there?) of zombies because I've never particuarlly cared for them and they're goddamn everywhere these days.

Clunks:
I hate number 3. I don't disagree with it, I just hate it. A lot of horror comes from this aspect of the subconscious - that it's comforting to think that some sort of life exists after death. But I don't think horror should be comforting at all. I think it should make you feel like everything is fucked, especially you.

Have you seen Return of the Living Dead? It's not very good, but it does say that zombies are in constant pain if they aren't eating people. It rather cleverly combines the two basic fears; pain and death. The film's more interested in being a quasi-comedy then developing the idea, though. The zombies came off to me as kind of mischevious old sorts (who eat people) rather than whirling masses of pain and despair.

I still prefer living killing humans in games. Some rich capitalist dicks preferably. Zombies.. They're usual, boring. However all those points Yahtzee made have been there from the first zombie-themed games.
Of course one can add some spice to a zombie game to make it less drab... L4D2 for example uses special infected and VS mode = sentient super-zombies. Dead Space use a very unique setting.

I gonna try Dead Nation soon to see what they have to offer. Looks like this one use RPG-style progression...

As for the afterlife, so far it seems that our consciousness don't continue to exist after death, yet it's not all clear what exactly happens with those recent experiments showing loss of mass and energy emission in the moment of death.

And what's damn important about zombies, games and realism is that dead muscles CAN'T function. Because the protein responsible denaturated and is no longer functional. But hey, there are walking skeletons in videogames, who am I to complain.

Well after reading this, I still don't like zombies in film/games.

Do you read cracked? your writing style in those last 2 points seems very similar to a certain cracked writer. I doubt it's intentional though

May I postulate number 5?

5. The first thing we do is kill all lawyers.

See, the world today sucks. It may suck more or less than it used to, but it does suck. When, historically, didn't it suck? During wars.

Yeah, sure, there was always the chance of getting bitten or blown apart or crushed; but that's there every day. Perhaps not as much, but it's still there.

Yeah, and also there's less stuff. But that's a good thing sometimes. If you're stressing about the exam coming up tomorrow, then the apocalypse will sort that out. Worried between buying games on the Xbox or PS3? Don't. You can't during an Apocalypse.

Your life is one long workday of running from one safe house to the other, but guess what? That's all it is. Gone are the worries of whether Alfie really loves Peggy, what you're going to have for dinner, whether Fox were right to cancel Firefly. And that guy down the street who winked at your girlfriend? He's alongside you blowing holes in the undead. And her. But she's a zombie. And her mother never did like you.

It's a simple, less brutal life. Living on the edge, safe in the knowledge that you're not only the counter culture, but the culture itself.

And anyway, Zombies are pansies. Not as bad as Triffids or something really scary.

Killing Zombies isn't particularly challenging or inspiring (unless their the boss in a Resident Evil game) but it does have tremendous "fuck you" appeal.

Tons of great points all around but I'd just like to comment on the burial/cremation comment.

There is a practical reason for those actions, particularly cremation. Corpses are not the kinds of things you want laying around, decaying, smelling, and spreading disease. We need to get rid of them somehow. Burying them works but cremation is very efficient as it doesn't waste ground that could otherwise be used for things like buildings. Its a necessary thing to do, burying or cremation that is.

I agree with both 1 and 2. 3 and 4 im more iffy on, but I can see why they would work.

Also, im being cremated when I die, and having my ashes mixed with water and put into a balloon, and thrown at the face of an Ex-president.

I found them to be overrated

OhJohnNo:
I disagree, on the grounds that I don't usually like Zombies. I find them bland and overdone. Why can't we have a more original horror villain for once? Why can't there be more along the lines of Chaos, from Warhammer 40k (and yes, I know Gw copied the Chaos idea from some book, but it's still more original than Zombies - and you can be very creative with it, as Dan Abnett never fails to demonstrate). Shambling hordes of groaning zombies rarely inspire any emotion other than boredom in me (the "rarely" bit added in due to Ravenholm, though even that scared me more because of the atmosphere than the "OH GOD HELP ME in reverse" zombies).

I don't think Yahtzee is saying that zombies are the best enemies in games or anything like that. I think the purpose of the article is just to explain where the obsession with them stems from and he does a good job. I'm sure plenty of people would agree with you and happily find some new enemies to face but as he explains, there are some pretty solid psychological reasons why consumers will consistently buy into the zombie craze. Pretty ironic when you consider that Romero's Dawn of the Dead was all about criticising consumerism.

This entire article could have been written about Vampires (since Romero's zombies were originally based on vampires), and no one would know the difference.

Nah. I think zombies are fascinating and frightening to people on various levels, but in terms of why geeks in particular love them, I think you've missed the biggest point: zombies represent everything we hate about modern society, because they're average joes. They represent soulessness, conformity, and a loss of individuality. There's a reason so many zombie movies take place in malls - all of it is associated with superficiality, capitalism, and the mindless pursuit of stuff. We love zombie apocalypse because in the breakdown of society, being a loner is the only thing that will keep you alive, and we feel good about that.

Basically zombies are everything we're afraid of becoming, because we all want to be special. Particularly geeks and artsies.

You insights into the human mind are stunning as always!

And what more, i cannot argue with any points you made. You for got the most important part though.

Theyer food source. While this subject is more or less self explanitory, it still needs to be sighted.

THEY EAT PEOPLE MAN!!!! And to live, its you or them. No ands, ifs, or booty--booty-booty-booty rockin everywhere ((buts)).

They crave nothing more then flesh. Sweet human nomnoms. And that, goes without saying, is bad.

The commments entertain me more than the actual article. Though the dick joke part is humouring me beyond belief.

I like it, but #3 sorta felt off. I don't follow the logic that some fragment of Joe still rolling around in there counts as an afterlife, I figured we were drawn to naturally target zombies because they were the anti-afterlife.

Some recognizable measure of Joe is didn't make it to Valhalla and is trapped here. That must be awful for quasi-Joe, stuck in that ugly thing; I should help him get back to the whole being dead thing. I hope it not being a surprise doesn't ruin it for him.

Also: it's an affront to natural law! This cannot stand, there are rules here; You go down, you're gone! It's my civic duty to correct Joe of his deviant ways.

Braaaaaiiiiiiiinzzzzzzzz...
Guilt free is much better than caffine free.

This is pretty much the same list everyone else has come up with. Only with Space Puritans.

I think it has most strongly to do with #2. I have long had a theory about video game enemies. It came to me as I was playing Return to Castle Wolfenstien. I walked up to a wounded Nazi soldier who was trying to crawl away from me and shot him in the head. Then I laughed.

I realized then that what we gamers seem to want the most is not only to kill things, but to do so in epic and merciless ways without guilt. So we need video game villains that we feel no compunction about slaughtering. Also, the more intelligent the creature, the better. Its fine to kill a cougar in RDR, but it doesn't have the same feeling of satisfaction as offing a creature that can reason. The list I came up with is as follows and is not considered exhaustive but it hits the high points:

Aliens
Nazis
Zombies
Storm Troopers (Alien Nazis!)

Now, you could put monsters in there but I feel like they don't have the same satisfaction because we don't feel a connection to them. Thus we don't get the same feeling of ruthless destruction. Zombies are the least intelligent and most "mystical" thing on my list... but the fact that they used to be your neighbor and local shopkeeper tips the scales in the far other direction. We get to murder them without remorse, we have to shoot them in the head, and we resonate with their basic humanity. So it feels twisted and wonderful to blow their heads off.

As a side note, I had robots on the list for a while because you can destroy them without a second thought, but they aren't messy and biological enough to meet that completely ruthless desire to dispense super-freestyle murder that we gamers apparently secretly crave.

If you want a quick laugh search "New Zealand Zombie Walk" and check what the money was going towards.

Reading this, I feel like I've walked in on something I shouldn't have.

I have been tired of zombies for a while. They need to bring back dinosaurs. Red Dead Raptor would be awesome.

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