Why We Love Zombies

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Aww, did Yahtzee make himself sad at the end?

Yeah, I like zombies, but the games are getting a bit boring. Some guy way back in the list made a good point, there hasn't been a good game with dinosaurs in it for a long time, someone needs to do something about that.

This article actually makes a good point. I've always found zombies to be easy to kill because:

1) They're already dead (even though they're walking around because of some parasite/virus/bee/SCIENCE)

2) I feel like if something is trying to kill me and there's no way to reason with it or it has no control over it's actions/won't have control over them ever again, it's fair play to end it so that it may rest in piece and give me piece of mind (or keep the whole thing seeing as that's the point)

3) While if I were able to save a person from becoming zombified (i.e. Zombrex or something), if the process of saving them put everyone/anyone else in danger (i.e. taking all the bone marrow of the only person immune to the virus to make a vaccine) I don't think I could do it. Sure, taking a blood sample is fine but ending the life of another person so someone else can be zombie free doesn't seem fair and defeats the purpose of preserving human life.

While I do see how zombies make great enemies in video games, I have to disagree that putting them in so many games right now is a good idea (I know Yahtzee didn't say that, just making a point). We need to look beyond the norm and find new ways of storytelling in games and new kinds of games to play.

Zombies becoming an arcade mode is getting boring. Friend of mine only bought Cod Blops because it had zombies in it. In fact yesterday we ran through a list of the people we know and decided if we would let them come with us in a zombie apocalypse. Decided by such things as if they would be prone to 'Cut and run' in a dangerous situation or if they just lack the 'Z' factor. But anyway a zombie game should have less zombies, not more. The game should not be set in America where guns are more common and accessible forcing the player to use the situation, making fleeing or avoiding zombies more appealing than killing them. Forcing the players to use melee weapons and whatever comes to hand, zombies would scratch and grapple the player so they pull them in and bite them. In Nazi Zombies and games such as Left 4 Dead, zombies are no longer scary because theres just too many of them and they die too easily. The shambling hordes in Nazi Zombies can down you in a couple of hits but if you and your friends get shotguns and SMGs then you can just sit in the teleporter until they overwhelm you, the one with the most money buys the trip. Eventually everybody has enough to Pack a punch their weapons and can just repeat.

Sorry about the rant but you get the point, a swamp isnt going to have 3,000 people just milling about in it.

Normally there are only two reasons this many costumed people get together - charity or for weird sex reasons.

...and furries, you forgot the furries. Because they don't get together for either of those reasons. (Well, maybe the first one occassionally)

OT: I'd agree with pretty much all of those points. Then again I think the reason zombies can be placed into pretty much any game now is because no one actually questions it... World at War... ok fair enough, Black Ops... ok well they did it once, Red Dead Redeption... ok wtf, well alright, more RDR is only a good thing, right?

The reason they're USED so much is because they're an easy money spinner but I think Yahtzee just about summed up the reasons why we continue to lap it up. If you can make a good game centred around the concept of zombies (L4D, the older Resi games) then fine, I'll play it happily (especially if you can give me an intelligent reason for their existance), but please developers, stop sticking them randomly in everything... please!

It's not the end of the world, Umbrella hasn't released the T-Virus and as for Wesker... well I doubt we'll be seeing his global saturation any time soon.

Your right! I have never posted on a forum before, but your focus on zombies made me feel like I had to do it!

SimpleReally:
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

He's said before that he's a fan of Seanbaby. So, yes.

What I got sidetracked with is that point about pack mentality. I've been wondering (and ending up depressed, mostly) about racism in our society, and that's the same thing I've been using to explain it to myself. Nice to see that I'm not alone in this belief, but what I find most depressing is how racists and other bigots will then go on to use in-depth arguments, research the matter for facts that they might be able to use, and think long and hard for justifications. Why? because they show that they are capable of being very intelligent and perceptive human beings... but manage fail to see the ignorance, idiocy and animalism in their own shortsighted behavior.

*sigh*

Proverbial Jon:

Normally there are only two reasons this many costumed people get together - charity or for weird sex reasons.

...and furries, you forgot the furries. Because they don't get together for either of those reasons. (Well, maybe the first one occassionally)

Nothing against furries, but surely you mean the second one, at least from time to time.

I've always seen the appeal of the zombie apocalypse to be much simpler than some of these suggestions. I don't think it has much to do with them being proxy shadow-puppets for things we don't like, or some manifestation of our instinctive fears or anything like that.

They're just weak. They're slow, stupid, rotting hunks of meat, looking at a mob of them from behind your impromptu gas mask, Remington 12-gauge held firmly in your hands, you think to yourself - "These are the inhuman menaces who brought society to it's knees? I can take these fuckers on any day! The shambling ranks of Beelzebub don't got nothing on me!"

That's a much nicer way of putting it than...

We love zombies because we're too antisocial with people in this world that we gotta imagine one where all the people we hate are zombies which at that point we love to acquire weapons to beat their faces in time and time again.

It's like saying we're more sane when we're the only ones left in the world.

"Truth is a folly without which certain species can't survive." This, I guess, applies in the case of Zombies, too.

I find zombies entertaining: they can be a quiet a relaxing distraction, but I can't play a whole game based around them. Which is why I found L4D and L4D2 quiet bland.

snowman6251:
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.

That is a problem largely relegated to European nations and other places with a high population density. In many parts of the world, a permanent burial site is all but unheard of - the best you'll get is a few generations. In the US on the other hand, this is less of an issue in many places thanks to relatively low population density.

Yahtzee missed a big one here. One of the reasons we all love zombie entertainment is because we can easily place ourselves inside the shoes of the zombie-killing hero. Even if you are slow, overweight, or scrawny, you're still one up on a shambling semi-conscious beast. We all can easily envision that "what I would do if the zombies came for me" scenario and it sucks us right in to the story.

I didn't read through all the commentary, pro'lly because I'm just a fuckwad, but for the moment, I have the excuse of being one day off NaNoWriMo. That means I dunno if this has been covered. I'd also add:

(Contemporary) Zombies represent a virus we can battle directly. Normally, when a pandemic goes through our region, our only option is to isolate ourselves, often from loved ones, until everything dies. In the zombie-virus paradigm, the infection doesn't travel by air (through touch is often enough). Usually you have to be bitten before it's a problem. But still, as the virus tries to get you, you can fight it with real weapons, from shotguns to pointed sticks, and not just cower like a little child. (Given enough resources, interestingly, cowering like a little child, that is, hiding from the menace, seems to work until supplies run out.)

A few of these points were already kinda covered by Moviebob in his Zombieland review. I'm slightly surprised Yahtzee didn't toss a link in there.

I killed 4 k zombies today. And the best part is, that the day is not over yet!

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Why We Love Zombies

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

Read Full Article

awww Yahtzee that last part made me sad, go and sew some wild oats man, and teach your generation of children terrible dick jokes and make them ware sweet hats too.

The Yahtzee clan must live on, its the only hope against the space puritans!

I feel strangely compelled by the presence of the word "Zombies" in the title to post in this thread.

If your scared about not leaveing any marc on society Yatzee, you could always donate to a sperm bank and hope someone comes along to bare your children minus the sex.

or you know, their is Rebeca mays...

And we have yet to see a zombie survival game. I would love a zombie survival game oh so much, but no. That is apparently the most money-wasting project on Earth despite combining two of the most favorite subjects in todays society.

I have to say I disagree with most of your blanket statements about human nature, Yahtzee (for example, hating each other). You could make a valid case for humans generally becoming uncomfortable with the alterity of others, but that doesn't necessarily have to translate into hatred.

It's not necessarily a universal thing to find the idea of an afterlife comforting either. For example, any Buddhist or scientifically-minded, empiricist-leaning individual apparently find a return to nothingness more appealing (and that includes a relatively substantial portion of more recent generations).

You also committed a fallacy of 'appeal to ignorance' with your comment about how doomsayers are always wrong so this generations' will be too.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the article.

Hmmm, well I see the points being made, but I (like usual) don't entirely agree.

I think there is no reason to over analyze Zombies and their popularity other than they are a "sanitary" enemy to be fought. If you bother to look at issues with war games nowadays and how it's not politically correct for anyone, except maybe the Nazis, to be the bad guys, your left pretty much with extranational terrorists, zombies, and mutants for games you want to place on earth. I don't think there is any deep rooted psycological connection to this part of things.

I think the appeal of 'end times' scenarios is not so much depression over people realizing their irrelevence in the cosmic scheme of things, but because being one of the few survivors would make you inherantly important no matter how irrelevent you were beforehand. A lot of people hold onto the belief (justified or not) that if society wasn't holding them back,
they could be a lot more than they are now.

Of course an important thing to realize is that we're by and large discussing nerds here. Your typical zombie apocolypse fanboy is going to be some dweeb who has little in the way of money, no respect from other people, no girlfriend, and the most unsatisfying sort of life that leads to a constant desire for escapism. Rare exceptions are going to exist but we're talking on average here.

An apocolypse happens and Nerd-Boy is one of those survivors. Well he figures this means without society he can pretty much head out and loot whatever he wansts, build the ultimate nerd lair, and if he meets a girl he can finally score due to virtually being the last man on earth. It's unrealistic, but you'll notice that a goodly portion of the zombie stories out there largely deal with dweebs who 'rise to the call' and become important and empowered. The successful people who have everything, or are wll liked beforehand, are typically the biggest jerks and come to bad ends (again with rare exceptions).

Some people might not care for my analysis, it's very similar to what this article is saying, but differant on a few points... namely I think the issues involved have more to do with the fandom, and less to do with a humanity-wide existential crisis.

Pretty good points, although I don't know about this:

I guarantee you, in a zombie apocalypse scenario, relationships within the human strongholds will be considerably more courteous than they are now. We'll reserve our hate for those rotting punks outside.

In every zombie scenario I've seen, it's often your fellow humans you have to worry about more than the zombies. People will always find something to disagree about.

I'm getting pretty tired of the infatuation with zombies though, to the point where I roll my eyes every time I hear about a new zombie thing. I love Left 4 Dead, but I don't want zombies in EVERY DAMN GAME. Now it's spreading to TV too with The Walking Dead being everyone's favorite show ever (I think it's just OK).

Fuck

Fucking Ninja'd by Yahtzee.

This is exactly what I've been saying for a long time now. Essentially, we hate each other. And creating emotionless husks that resemble us, and allowing incentive for us to destroy them. Well it's the perfect way to explore this desire without winding up in a looney bin.

The idea of starting over. Of being able to wipe the slate clean and sort out all the things that we in our infinite wisdom have concluded to be ineffective or wrong. That the generations before us either didn't have the hindsight for, or simply didn't have the testicular fortitude to change in their own time. And to get to viscerally pummel hundreds of humans in the process... guilt free. All the traffic wardens, all the office bosses, all the yobs, thugs and wastes of space that we secretly want to take a baseball bat to.

It's basically just a metaphorical destruction of all the things we feel are wrong with our society, or lives. And the fresh lump of clay at the end of it all, for us to exact our own plans upon.

JaceValm:
Zombies becoming an arcade mode is getting boring. Friend of mine only bought Cod Blops because it had zombies in it. In fact yesterday we ran through a list of the people we know and decided if we would let them come with us in a zombie apocalypse. Decided by such things as if they would be prone to 'Cut and run' in a dangerous situation or if they just lack the 'Z' factor. But anyway a zombie game should have less zombies, not more. The game should not be set in America where guns are more common and accessible forcing the player to use the situation, making fleeing or avoiding zombies more appealing than killing them. Forcing the players to use melee weapons and whatever comes to hand, zombies would scratch and grapple the player so they pull them in and bite them. In Nazi Zombies and games such as Left 4 Dead, zombies are no longer scary because theres just too many of them and they die too easily. The shambling hordes in Nazi Zombies can down you in a couple of hits but if you and your friends get shotguns and SMGs then you can just sit in the teleporter until they overwhelm you, the one with the most money buys the trip. Eventually everybody has enough to Pack a punch their weapons and can just repeat.

Sorry about the rant but you get the point, a swamp isnt going to have 3,000 people just milling about in it.

It's not that easy in Black Ops. Unless you are using juggernog it takes two slaps from a zombie to kill you/knock you down (in Coop). I've had the annoying experience to get hit once by 2 zombies at the same time and lose.

The word "zombies" in the title was so striking I felt compelled not only to post but to create an account to do so. More to the point I'm a big zombie nerd so I decided I'd bite.

My personal feelings on "Why the living love to hate the undead" boils down to how little diffirence there is between them. Zombies are scary because they are *us*. Strip man down to the most basic of needs, to consume, and take away every biological thing that gets in the way of that.

Dead Rising also makes an excellent comparison between the flesh eating zombies consuming all the people to the flesh eating people consuming all the livestock. Countless chewing, gnashing, and flesh rending mouths on either side of that coin. The only difference is whats on the menu. Zombies have that fatal attraction because we see our own human gluttony portrayed through them, and it's alot to swallow.

In addition I belive it's also the fear involved in viral outbreaks. Any "zombie virus" is at least twice as deadly as anything we have because there is no definite window of infection. Usually the elements will kill any living virus in time, however so long as a single zombie remains standing it can spread. Not to mention how the virus can kill a person and *then* make them get back up to spread it further. Such a virus makes humanity it's own worst enemy.

Eh, I could go on all day about this stuff hehe. For a good zombie book recommendation I'd vote for the Morning Star Strain series. Very realistic and action packed. Anyways thanks for reading.

I find that Number 1 and 2 might be very close to the truth, deep down humans is pack animals with quit strong terratorial instincts, and with the way we live in overcrowded cities its hard to destiquch who belongs where so we group together in small well-definde "tribes" and then hate everyone else

Yahtzee must be gay for Allah. He can't put two sentences together without talking about religion. Just come out already Ben! We'll still love you!

Therumancer:
It's unrealistic, but you'll notice that a goodly portion of the zombie stories out there largely deal with dweebs who 'rise to the call' and become important and empowered.

What zombie stories have you read? I've never seen this.

beema:

In every zombie scenario I've seen, it's often your fellow humans you have to worry about more than the zombies. People will always find something to disagree about.

Every zombie scenario you've seen huh? Funny, I could have sworn that zombies don't exist. Citing fiction as evidence of how humans act is kinda iffy, to say the least.

Odegauger:

Therumancer:
It's unrealistic, but you'll notice that a goodly portion of the zombie stories out there largely deal with dweebs who 'rise to the call' and become important and empowered.

What zombie stories have you read? I've never seen this.

Pretty much every zombie story ever. Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Night Of The Living Dead, Shaun Of The Dead, Zombieland, Diary Of The Dead, Zombie Diaries, 28 Days later, Evil Dead, The Video Dead, etc...

Typically the protaganist, or at least major character of these stories, is an "ordinary guy" as defined by the lowest common denominator, or in short a dweeb.

It's generally a rare exception when the central character is someone who you'd expect to be effective in a situation like this. Typically they start out going "OMG, OMG, OMG" but then by the end of the movie they wind up making a lot of the desicians, making headshots with the best of them, and generally getting involved in zombie bashing. Even in movies with a bad ending this is the guy who typically winds up being the last one left (or among them).

Zombie movies being very much into the entire "final girl" thing. Horror movies being in many cases morality tales. It's the nice guy, or (more more often, hence the name) girl who actually wind up surviving to the end of the movie, even if they get picked off as a final "surprise".

It's the dweeb who does his school work, minds his own business, and generally is just along for the ride who survives where all the jocks, slutty cheerleaders, rich guys, gang bangers, and similar types wind up taking starring roles in the brain buffet.

What made "Evil Dead" a cult classic (speaking for the first one, when it was more straightforward horror fare) was above and beyond anything the simple fact that it turned this convention on it's head. Despite what people think of the character (mostly from "Army Of Darkness") Ash was pretty much the worst kind of person, exactly the kind of cowardly slime you'd expect to be an early (justified) fatality, yet he survives to the end of the movie. What's more his competance increases when he goes crazy (and is greatly exagerrated in later movies).

C.Flat:

JaceValm:
Zombies becoming an arcade mode is getting boring. Friend of mine only bought Cod Blops because it had zombies in it. In fact yesterday we ran through a list of the people we know and decided if we would let them come with us in a zombie apocalypse. Decided by such things as if they would be prone to 'Cut and run' in a dangerous situation or if they just lack the 'Z' factor. But anyway a zombie game should have less zombies, not more. The game should not be set in America where guns are more common and accessible forcing the player to use the situation, making fleeing or avoiding zombies more appealing than killing them. Forcing the players to use melee weapons and whatever comes to hand, zombies would scratch and grapple the player so they pull them in and bite them. In Nazi Zombies and games such as Left 4 Dead, zombies are no longer scary because theres just too many of them and they die too easily. The shambling hordes in Nazi Zombies can down you in a couple of hits but if you and your friends get shotguns and SMGs then you can just sit in the teleporter until they overwhelm you, the one with the most money buys the trip. Eventually everybody has enough to Pack a punch their weapons and can just repeat.

Sorry about the rant but you get the point, a swamp isnt going to have 3,000 people just milling about in it.

It's not that easy in Black Ops. Unless you are using juggernog it takes two slaps from a zombie to kill you/knock you down (in Coop). I've had the annoying experience to get hit once by 2 zombies at the same time and lose.

Although if you sit on the teleporter it kills zombies when you turn it on. You have a point though, zombies are nice and dangerous and in certain situations you can easily kill 100 them and in others you are faced with 4 and know your going down, thats something Nazi Zombies gets right. I'm just saying that they don't seem scary when you have a really good weapon and can scythe them down.

they are the reason i still think world at war is the best Call of Duty game. and maybe once i get black ops when it isnt 1/5 the price of my ps3, that will be my favorite.

I think Yahtzee's claim that humans are antisocial betrays something of his own misanthropy. He makes an unsustainable claim about how everyone is suspicious of everyone else. The fact is, for better or worse, we have evolved as social creatures many millions of years ago. Long before the advent of language. It's true that the urban environment is too recent to have affected evolution meaningfully. What I mean by "better or worse" is that Evolution has carved away human distrust to a significant degree. At some point in the past, maybe as mammals or something prior, we were primarily lone hunters. Providing only for our families. As our expanded families grew larger, we eventually evolved social instincts. As social creatures, we have evolved the lust to do "good things" to others. Doing good deeds increase our pleasure hormones (serotonin). Without it, we wouldn't be able to sustain a civilization in the urban environment. When we were just small tribes, helping a member of our own tribe would've given us credit. Credit for reciprocity. Back then you would've remembered everyone's faces/smell/other features. Those who have exhibited antisocial behavior would've long since been outcast from this social group. This social reciprocal behavior has eventually become an accellerant. Accellerating as social beings cross with other social beings - their offspring will be even more social. Those who die out, lacked the necessary ingredient.

My take on zombies is that they represent the simplified enemy. An enemy without complex desires, motivations, etc. This appeals to us at a base level. We find it easier to cope with enemies that are monochrome and easily identifiable.

One more factor, perhaps the big pink elephant in the room, is the following;
Christianity has defined our greatest fears for the longest of times. This is what I call "Christocentricism." Think about it. Vampires are afraid of the cross (except in True Blood). Dr. Frankenstein's monster represents the scary prospects of science. Zombies represent the undead rising up from their graves. Witches are afraid of the cross, and are represented by the pentagram. Then you have the Anti-Christ, and the whole shebang. It all betrays our fear of the "unknown" - but ONLY in the eyes of a Christian.

Today, very few are believing Christians, in Northern Europe. So what has sustained this fear for so long? I think it's time for Christocentricism to lose its hold.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent does a good job at leaving this anachronism. It shows that you can make an excellent rollercoaster of fear without appealing to christocentric notions.

You forgot: Zombies are boring.

He REALLY needs to get laid!

OT: I think Romero had it right when he said that re reason why Zombies are so effective, is simply because "Their us".

If you think of it; the biggest threat to the "average American" is the average American!
You're more likely to be attacked by someone from your own home town, than you are from a terrorist.

I hate zombie games, you play one, and you play them all, its very cliché and unoriginal.

Therumancer:

Odegauger:

Therumancer:
It's unrealistic, but you'll notice that a goodly portion of the zombie stories out there largely deal with dweebs who 'rise to the call' and become important and empowered.

What zombie stories have you read? I've never seen this.

Pretty much every zombie story ever. Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Night Of The Living Dead, Shaun Of The Dead, Zombieland, Diary Of The Dead, Zombie Diaries, 28 Days later, Evil Dead, The Video Dead, etc...

Typically the protaganist, or at least major character of these stories, is an "ordinary guy" as defined by the lowest common denominator, or in short a dweeb.

It's generally a rare exception when the central character is someone who you'd expect to be effective in a situation like this. Typically they start out going "OMG, OMG, OMG" but then by the end of the movie they wind up making a lot of the desicians, making headshots with the best of them, and generally getting involved in zombie bashing. Even in movies with a bad ending this is the guy who typically winds up being the last one left (or among them).

Zombie movies being very much into the entire "final girl" thing. Horror movies being in many cases morality tales. It's the nice guy, or (more more often, hence the name) girl who actually wind up surviving to the end of the movie, even if they get picked off as a final "surprise".

It's the dweeb who does his school work, minds his own business, and generally is just along for the ride who survives where all the jocks, slutty cheerleaders, rich guys, gang bangers, and similar types wind up taking starring roles in the brain buffet.

What made "Evil Dead" a cult classic (speaking for the first one, when it was more straightforward horror fare) was above and beyond anything the simple fact that it turned this convention on it's head. Despite what people think of the character (mostly from "Army Of Darkness") Ash was pretty much the worst kind of person, exactly the kind of cowardly slime you'd expect to be an early (justified) fatality, yet he survives to the end of the movie. What's more his competance increases when he goes crazy (and is greatly exagerrated in later movies).

I guess your definition of "dweeb" is different from mine, because a good lot of your examples are just about normal guys, distinct from dweebs in my mind. Normal guys are often the hero of these movies simply because of story-telling convention - an average joe protagonist gives something for the audience to connect to, and in this case also provides a contrast to the insanity going on around him. This sounds like just another rant about how nerds are obsessed with self-indulgent power fantasies as a way of coping with their social dominance issues.

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