After infiltrating popular culture through a variety of mediums, zombies have become so synonymous with gaming, that it’s difficult to recount a time when you weren’t barbarically brutalising, these marauding rigors. An apocalyptic world teething with decomposing humans has become such a common occurrence, that the entire “end of the world” concept has become a formulaic set of circumstances, so fraught with tedious story arcs, repetitive gameplay elements and insufferable characters that prevent progress, due to your very conscious attempts to manipulate them directly into the infected’s vicinity. The dramatic impact that should instantly induce terror has been expended, due to repetitive overuse of a once terrifying notion; a world full of demonic cannibals and you, a lone survivor armed with just a gun, a couple of clips and bowels of pure steel.
But let’s be clear, zombies aren’t an articulated subject, there’s no deep meaning. Zombies dont symbolise the archaic characteristics, of mans barbaric past, or our anomalistic desire for destruction and it’s not a self-reflection of our own morality. Zombies are just a vast collection of the walking dead, no purpose, no emotional awareness, just an unquenchable desire to ingest your gooey insides. You can’t incorporate any great meaning in their existence, for the purposes of an entertaining new direction for the subject, it just wouldn’t work. But if the mythology of the living impaired remains unchanged, then certainly the characters that inhabit the same world, should be altered.
Sure, decapitating zombies in any number of inventive and often hilarious ways (Dead Rising 2) is fun, but integrating a character development that doesn’t feel apathetically half-hearted, is a responsibility rarely taken by developers, particularly ones that allow you to empathise with the plight of the survivors, rather than resenting them. Naughty Dogs “The Last Of Us” looks set to buck this narrative issue, by making the survival horror genre into a more character driven experience, and I’m confident that if anyone can achieve this, its Naughty Dog. But what zombies could really benefit from is an extended break, so that when sufficient time has elapsed, surviving a “post apocalyptic world”, wont feel like such an aggravating pursuit.
Do you believe zombies are too overused? Let me know what you think.