It was inevitable. We knew it was coming, it was really just a matter of time. Well, now that time has come, and as gamers we may very well be the only force humanity has for countering the nearing zombie threat. In films the fat kid with a joystick in one hand and a Snickers in the other is usually one of the first to get eaten alive. We think that because he has trouble getting off the couch he couldn’t kick some undead ass if he truly wanted to. But behind that acne-ridden face is the mind of a killer, honed to perfection over years of mercilessly ripping apart zombies made up of bytes and sprites.
It’s up to us; I’m calling every nerd, geek, loner, and social outcast to ask yourself: are you adequately prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse? If you answered no, read this article and you by the time you finish you will be as prepared as I am for in it contains all my knowledge gathered over a lifetime of undead kickassery. If you answered yes, read it anyways, I could use the views.
Well, I’m glad you asked. There have been many signs over the years, but what follows are some of the more notable events:
Zombies Are Popular
Duh, you say? Zombies have always been a popular genre of horror in really all mediums of entertainment. But it wasn’t until now that the infected began to shuffle onto almost every facet of everyday life even including classic works of literature in the form of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. What’s next? Of Mice and Zombies? Les Zombies Misérables? There’s a reason the genre is so popular: the world’s leaders know the threat is looming and this is their way of getting us prepared without inciting a panic.
In video games the infected have spread like, well, a zombie virus. We have had Nazi zombies in Call of Duty, crazy fast infected in Left 4 Dead, and soon we’ll be getting another dose of curb stomping zombie action in Left 4 Dead 2. There’s also Dead Rising 2, Dead Island, zombies in upcoming Borderlands DLC, and even the possibility of zombies in a future Star Wars game on the way, so the genre isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
In films the most prominent news has been the announcement of not only a fourth Resident Evil movie, but a fifth as well. The fourth installment, dubbed Afterlife, is a sequel to Extinction featuring more of the sultry Milla Jovovich as Alice. The fifth, tentatively titled Resident Evil: Begins will be a reboot of the franchise and won’t star Milla. There’s also the film adaptation of the excellent zombie novel World War Z to look forward to and a possible film based on the unique novel Monster Island that gives a different perspective on the genre. Each of these are trying to give us another possible way the apocalypse could unfold, so it’s your job to play, watch, and read all there is to be adequately prepared.
Umbrella Corp. Has Surfaced
The Mega Corporation that made Raccoon City such a scary goddamned place to live has just surfaced in the real world. Obviously they couldn’t call themselves Umbrella as that’d be too obvious, so instead they masked themselves as a cosmetics company. But a recent commercial for one of their more recent products unveiled their true motivations.
For those unfamiliar with the marketing campaign for Resident Evil: Apocalypse, this commercial is startlingly similar to a certain trailer for the film. That alone could’ve been coincidence, but the similarities between Avon’s product and the T-Virus are hard to explain. Here’s the trailer for the second RE film, to refresh your memory:
Good! That means you don’t believe in everything you read. Here’s a cookie for you, for you’ve passed my first test. You’re not going to eat the cookie because it might have traces of a zombie’s saliva on it? Excellent! You just passed my second test. So let me prove it to you by giving you several possible scenarios in which the end of the world could develop:
As seen in games like Cold Fear and Resident Evil 4, this isn’t as crazy as it sounds but it is however, way scarier. There are parasites that have been known to infect and control ants causing chaos and terror in ant populations around the globe, but there’s another called Toxoplasmosa Gondii that infects rats. This parasite knows that it needs to get inside a cat. This parasite, you see, is intelligent. So it takes over a poor unsuspecting rat’s brain and makes it walk on over to a hungry cat. Anyone who’s seen Tom and Jerry knows what happens next, and now the parasite is free to grow and feed off the insides of the cat.
It’s also important to note that half the human population in infected with this parasite.
Now try and sleep at night.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s a fucking terrifying fungus called Cordyceps, which can take control of its host, usually an insect, before making it climb a plant and die. It does this so it’s at the perfect location and temperature for it to distribute its spores from the carcass of its host and spread its infection. Scientists have discovered fossilized remains of ants infested with Cordyceps spores, proving this hellspawned mushroom dates back over 48 million years. I think that’s plenty time to scheme its eventual takeover of the entire world, don’t you?
Ah, yes. Anyone who knows anything about the Resident Evil series knows about the malicious T-Virus, created and unleashed by the sinister Umbrella Corporation. Well, this isn’t some farfetched idea concocted by a bunch of sleep deprived Game Designers, it’s based on shit that’s happening in the real world right now. Let me say that again. This is happening in laboratories across the world right now.
It’s called Neurogenesis, which is the science of growing dead brain cells. Fuse that with our ability to put a body under suspended animation and all you’re missing is a hunger for human flesh.
We can probably expect a working zombie just in time for Resident Evil 6.
The Rage Virus
As seen in Left 4 Dead, and the film 28 Days Later, there is a real disease out there that turns us into mindless curbstomp-happy freaks. That disease is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and here are the symptoms:
Changes in gait (walking)
Lack of coordination
Myoclonic jerks or seizures
Rapidly developing delirium or dementia
Now we just have to wait for an evil mastermind or possible Avon scientist to add a few more symptoms to the list like, say, cannibalistic tendencies and fucking hard to kill.
Ask yourself: how many zombies have you downed during your career as a gamer? I can say with complete certainty that I’ve downed enough zombies to fill a large city after my time playing zombie-themed games. If it were as easy to kill virtual zombies as it is to kill real ones, I’d soon claim the title of Zombie Murderer Extraordinaire (or something along those lines). Unfortunately, it’s not. In reality guns don’t have unlimited ammo, there’s no such thing as a cheat code, and you don’t have a health meter.
The best strategy for killing hordes of the undead in the real world is to keep your head in the game. To help you do this I suggest finding a gun with a laser sight attached to it. This will bring out the skills you’ve improved after spending countless hours playing Dead Space and the more recent Resident Evil titles. If it helps keep you in the mood you could even yell out clever witticisms after each zombie you cut down like “Yippe ki yay mother f#%ker!” or “Hasta la vista baby!” Of course, your one-liners don’t have to be taken from action films, so if you’re a more creative person than I, feel free to come up with your own.
So how prepared are you physically? Do you think yourself capable of severing the spine of a quickly advancing and wildly swerving foe with a single shot from your rapidly diminishing supply of ammo? If you answered no, than I’m being completely honest when I say you’re probably screwed. Gamers are notorious for our geeky demeanor, lack of agility and/or brute strength, and undying affection for Jean-Luc Picard. We do however, have good reflexes, sharpened over years of twitch shooters and frantic joystick waddling (stop giggling).
Sadly, games do nothing to keep us in shape. Pulling the trigger on an Xbox controller doesn’t quite mimic its real-world counterpart and the Wii Zapper isn’t quite the same thing as holding a shotgun. So how can you become a zombie slaughtering badass? Well, you’re already halfway there. If used correctly, the skills games have taught us can be used to make us the perfect weapons. It’s hard to fear a wave of coming zombies when we’ve seen it a thousand times before. When the government is still telling people to stay inside their homes so the ‘crazy people’ don’t get them, we’ll be warning them to shoot them in the head. You can become the badass warrior the world needs you to be by gifting your boundless knowledge onto others. I also suggest working out because there’s no such thing as a badass who can’t lift a shotgun.
Video games have taught us some important life lessons, but they’ve also engraved into our tender minds things that are best left forgotten.
Remember: Anything can be used as a weapon. Have a helmet and a couple drills? Good. Step 1: Attach said drills to the helmet, turn on. Step 2: Place on head of advancing zombie. Step 3: Enjoy the bloody show, make sure not to get any brain matter inside your mouth. Step 4: If you got some gore in your mouth the next step is for the survivor next to you: return to Step 2, repeat.
Forget: Do not stop to take pictures of the zombies. But since that’s a no-brainer (forgive the pun) you should also know that jumping from the head of zombie-to-zombie isn’t as easy as Frank West made it look.
Remember: Corporations are evil and zombies come in a variety of flavors. If this series has taught us anything, it’s that there’s always room for terrible dialogue and that zombies can even become semi-intelligent.
Forget: The dialogue. Oh, and if you see giant plants with faces that resemble a woman’s lower parts I suggest you run. Also, leaches are gross.
Burn Zombie Burn
Remember: The Undead are easily flammable.
Forget: A stylish 60’s era hairdo can actually do more harm than good.
House of the Dead
Remember: There’s always time for some witty dialogue or a couple dozen curse words in between mowing down countless corpses.
Forget: Uwe Boll. Should you find his lifeless corpse shambling about I suggest you put two in the head for good measure.
Plants vs. Zombies
Remember: Not sure about this one. Keep a healthy amount of sunflower seeds with you at all times, perhaps?
Forget: Zombies won’t be as cute as they are in this game.
Left 4 Dead
Remember: Groups of people have a better chance of survival than those who wander off alone. Keep a close eye on your friends, share items, and save your jokes for safe areas like elevators. Also, pay attention to your surroundings and listen out for any strange sounds.
Forget: Speaking of strange sounds, just because the Special Infected give their location away in the game doesn’t mean they will in the real world, assuming of course there are further mutations beyond normal infected. You also shouldn’t be expecting any revealing theme songs when something bad is on its way. Oh yeah, and no matter how far you run you shouldn’t be expecting the occasional well-placed safe house full of ammo, health, and other assorted goodies.
You may require some time to allow all this information to soak in, but when it does you will be as prepared as I am for the nearing apocalypse. We’ve seen it happen a dozen times before, almost every scenario possible. However the real zombie apocalypse begins, whether it starts by a rogue virus, curse, lack of room in Hell, or whatever else, we will be ready. Now grab a shotgun or whatever weapon you have near, practice your headshots and catchy one-liners, and wait.