Zombies Could Help Reanimate Topeka, Kansas


A team of college students hopes that a zombie-themed videogame will help convince people that Kansas’ capital city Topeka isn’t as boring as they think it is.

Pop quiz, everyone: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Topeka, Kansas”? If your answer was along the lines of “nothing, really,” then you’re probably like most people in the world, who never give Kansas’ capital more than a second thought.

In this economy, though, it’s probably not a good thing for a city to have absolutely no reason for people to visit it – and that’s why some students in a Washburn University videogame design class are hoping that the living dead can bring life back to their city.

In the students’ game, the player will start in a zombie-infested, boarded-up Topeka. These zombies, however, are more politically minded than your average undead, and will be carrying signs that disparage the city. Slaying the zombies will restore color and vibrancy to Topeka’s downtown, returning it to a bustling city (or so they hope).

Let’s be honest, here: A videogame probably won’t help restore life to a dull downtown on its own. However, it isn’t about making direct change so much as it is about getting peoples’ spirits up, say the students creating it. “We want to shake the negative vibe,” said Washburn senior Robert Riley. “Topeka hasn’t had the most positive attitude, but that’s been changing over the last two to three years.”

Art Department Associate Professor Azyz Sharafy, who is overseeing the project, said that the biggest problem would be limiting the violence in the game while still making it entertaining to younger players. In general, though, he was positive on the project. “It’s good for Washburn, it’s good for the students.”

I’m still a bit unconvinced. A game won’t get me to go out to Topeka, Kansas. Real zombies, on the other hand? Hell yeah, I’d go! You should get on that, Washburn University.

(Alva Review-Courier via GamePolitics, Image from CJOnline)

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