Undead Invade Industry Undetected

7748_dead-rising01The zombies are coming! The zombies are coming! Err wait, they’re already here…and no one seems to mind. Awesome.

At least this is the only logical conclusion I can come to. In the last year the game industry has been literally overrun with zombie games, ranging from gory to silly to thought provoking. Don’t believe me? Well then Mr. Skeptic, here is a partial list I came up with off the top of my head after staring at my computer screen for ten minutes.

1. Teenage Zombies: A tongue in cheek DS title that slipped under the radar last April.

2. Left 4 Dead: One of the top Games of the Year. Easily spotted.

3. Resident Evil 5: Zombies go on safari.

4. House of the Dead: Overkill: Wii exclusive prequel to the original title.

5. Zombie Infection: Even your cell phone isn’t safe. Contest for tickets to Comic Con make this flash game even more dangerous.

6. Call of Duty: World At War: Nazis? Zombies? NAZI ZOMBIES?! We can’t kill these things fast enough.

7. Dead Rising: Chop til You Drop: Wii exclusive. Self-explanatory title.

8. Fallout 3: I’m counting the Ghouls here. They’re zombies by another name.

9. Dead Space: Creepy mutated space zombies still count.

10. Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers: Yes, this is real. No, I’m not kidding. Also available on 360!

11. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ: Contra style Gameplay + fairy tales + zombies = bizarrely entertaining DS title.

The two iffiest in that list, as my husband so kindly pointed out, are Dead Space and Fallout 3 since technically neither are classic zombies. But neither species in either game is living or not actively decaying, so I’m counting them. Take that as you will.

The question then becomes why the sudden glut of zombie killing goodness? After all, the oldest title on my list isn’t even a year old. Sure, there were zombies around before that, but mostly in rail shooters in the arcade or in the staple Resident Evil series. So what happened? Oh, lots of things. Some have suggested our renewed love of zombies stems from the repetitive mindlessness of modern living, such as Shagtee’s opinion . Interesting read there, by the way.

I think the release of Shaun of the Dead in theaters and Dead Rising on the 360 brought a sharper spotlight to the shambling undead. After all, people may feel some remorse killing another human…be it mobster, Nazi or random ninja #78, but killing the undead not only feels good, it feels damn good! But what kind of undead can mere humans kill like so many lemmings? Certainly not vampires, as proven by the ill-fated Vampire Rain for the Xbox 360. Even Alucard and the other, ever-expanding cast of Castlevania can’t keep a good vampire down.

Enter the zombie. The red shirt army of the fantasy world. He doesn’t ask for much. Just a road to shamble down, a brain to eat and maybe a shadow to lurk in. With most games needing a fall guy for the hero to mow down, the undead are a masterpiece of ‘false difficulty’. They might all have one hit point, but there’s two hundred of them. Now what, Mr. Only-has-three-rounds-left? Mwa-ha-ha-ha.

Ahem. Sorry about that. So whether it’s our own masochistic need to destroy a strawman of modern living, our need to satiate our bloodlust without remorse or the visceral thrill of fear at the thought of being eaten alive, the game industry has found that nerve and is going to poke it for all it’s worth. I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Braaaaiiiinnnssss.

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Another Twilight Rant

So, I know everyone and their mother has an opinion on Twilight and all it’s marketing glory. But I’m throwing in my two cents, because this is the internet and I can. So nyah.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock since 2005. Or maybe my daughter is too young to care about sparklepyres and Mommy would rather her vampires novels have more smut in them. So it wasn’t until Stephanie Meyer threw her enormous hissy fit about Midnight Sun getting leaked or whatever that I’d even heard of these things. And to this day I wish I’d been more willing to let it slide. To not click the link. To not delve into the black pit of Twilight. But I didn’t so I did.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “God save me from your followers?” Yes? Well, this line with minor tweaks could apply to the legions of teenage girls and, surprisingly their moms, that see Edward Cullen as the second coming. I may have read these books. I have no problem with candy for the brain. None at all. A generically written, one dimensional plot has gotten me through many an airplane trip. But you can’t say that to Twilighters. To them, it’s the equivalent of saying Shakespeare was a hack that stole his work from better writers. (Which is also up for debate, but I digress). They slather on you with the spew of fanatic encyclopedic knowledge and abuse exclamation point use to the point that the grammar nazi in me curls into the fetal position and dies. Almost had to become an anti-Twilighter merely to survive in the sea of fangirl foam.

Then, through these posts and blogs and wiki’s, a small theme started to emerge. Meyer’s vampires don’t drink human blood. Fine, I can handle that. After all, Louie from Interview With A Vampire tried that for a while. A nice way to show the struggle between the monster and the man. Then, Meyer’s vampires can go out in the daylight. And SPARKLE. Okay, wait. I can justify this. Give me a second. Oh, wait. You say the oldest Cullen is only a few hundred years old? *Spazzes and dies.* The only vampire I know of that could walk in the sun unaffected was Dracula and this is because he’s older than dirt. And then, the vampires don’t have fangs? Wait, what? Damn, evolution hates these vampires. And then, they’re cold and have no pulse. Plausible…in fact even fairly normal in vampire lore. But they can still produce sperm and babies…biology for the lose. A revolutionary theory occurs to me: Meyer’s sparklpyres aren’t even vampires but those evil Elves dragging  the good vampire name through the mud. Shame on them.

I won’t even go into the Mary Sue-ness of Bella or whatnot because I enjoy a good Mary Sue. Hell, I read the Anita Blake novels. But I’m not going to tout them as a pardigm of modern literature. They’re a fun read that makes my husband happy because he gets continuously laid for a few days after I read one. There’s another reason Twilight grates on me. The entire lack of sex. But Donna, you say, they’re YA literature. Sex would be inappropriate. Ah, but it was the publisher and not Meyer that stuck them there. So instead of a sexy romp, you get four books of cock-teasing and angst.

According to the almighty internets, there is also a theme of relationship abuse, female subservience and a sad lack of Bella having a life outside of “OMG he loves me!”. No outside friends, no hobbies, no nothing. I can’t say if that’s true or not, but my brain seizes every time I try to read these books again. So I won’t go into the argument of whether Bella is a bad role model for tween girls.

I will leave you with a final thought. If you were going to live forever and look seventeen, would you A) repeat high school until the end of time or 2) make the logical leap to saying you’re eighteen to avoid said hell that is high school and get a job at the local bookstore? Poor Edward, he’s in hell for eternity because his brain couldn’t make that logic leap. Actually, it probably could but then he wouldn’t have met Bella so the author had to neuter that thought along with most everything that makes a vampire a vampire.