Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Games

The best zombie games I’ve played are the ones some gamers may not consider zombie games at all. They may contain elements of other genres, yet the underlying theme has to do with either raising the undead or killing the undead as a means to save the world. For today’s Monday Mayhem series, I’m going to talk about two games I’ve played that don’t feature zombies exclusively, but are part of the game as accessories.

Silent Hill: Origins
Silent Hill: Origins

Silent Hill: Origins—This has to be one of the scariest games I’ve ever played. The story talks about Travis Grady who ventures into an abandoned town in search of information about a girl he’d rescued from a burning house. Aside from the isolated setting, which I found creepy and somewhat unsettling, the player has to fight zombies and other entities in order to progress through the game. The score adds to the horror factor and provides the player immersive gameplay throughout. What shocked me on several occasions though, were the zombie encounters. Dimly lit corridors and the undead mix well, and with headphones on, I lost a few sleepless nights looking over my shoulder.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Return to Castle Wolfenstein—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played this PC classic. For the time, the graphics were phenomenal and the story even more intriguing. I remember the late night deathmatch marathons with folks as far away as Tokyo and even closer to the border here in Canada. The story revolves around B.J. Blazkowicz, an American soldier sent to investigate paranormal activity in World War II Germany. Gameplay is standard with players killing everything that moves and progressing forward from one level to the next. However, the charm of the game lies in the atmosphere for when the player encounters the undead for the first time. I’ve once described it in a post dedicated Return to Castle Wolfenstein as the day I’d gained respect for zombies.

“I jumped from my desk throwing the headphones on the keyboard. I almost screamed, waking everyone in the house. I backed away from the monitor with a dead stare. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. It wanted to rip from my chest. The cold sweat drenched my shirt. All I remembered was the moan to the right behind me that wouldn’t stop. Regaining my courage, I edged closer to the monitor and peered into the fog. I could barely make them out. Hands? Hands. They appeared from the fog. Then I saw the arms and finally their heads. Their gruesome heads lifting from their graves.”

One day I would love to play another round, but before then I have plans to immerse myself in The Last of Us. It’s only a matter of finding time.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you played zombie games? Which ones? What drew you into the rich virtual world of the undead?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: The Aftermath

I haven’t read many zombie books to know for certain, but I know my movies, and I would have to say I haven’t seen this issue explored—what would society be like after a zombie apocalypse? Zombie movies typically concentrate on the time when the undead take over the world. But, what of the aftermath? Society would need rebuilding.

Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J31347 / CC-BY-SA (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.)
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J31347 / CC-BY-SA (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.)

Today’s Monday Mayhem will explore what would society need to do to rise from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse. Of course this is all speculation, and for the most part, for entertainment value. However, I will assume some truth lies therein, and I’m rather opposed to revealing what that truth is. I’m sure you’ll figure it out—eventually.

First thing on the agenda? What to do with all the bodies of the undead once a cure for the zombie virus hits the streets? I will presume a zombie virus antidote will render the survivors immune to the virus and kill everything else undead. Even more so, let’s take that assumption to include zombie traps that would disperse the antidote to the undead masses like a net and relieve them of their zombiehood. So, again I ask. What will happen with all the dead zombie bodies?

Gas stations would need gas. If there is gas in gas stations then tractors can have gas in order for survivors to use the tractors to dig ditches. The survivors can then use the ditches to bury the dead bodies.

The other solution is to burn the dead bodies and bulldoze the ashes into the fields where former farmers could fertilize their crops. Morbid? Yes, but it’s a positive solution for a negative event.

Next, as it happened after World War II, a baby boom will take place. Those left will have nothing else to do but to procreate the next generation of survivors with the hope that generation will build a society void of the threat from the undead.

With all the children born, a number of things will need to happen if society wishes to survive another generation. Not necessarily in this order: The survivors will need a leader to instruct them in the way of civility. Laws will have to come into effect to address quarrels among families, individuals and other areas of the land. With growth also comes farming, education and healthcare. Who will do what? will be the big question on everyone’s lips.

Lastly, as with all great emerging societies, comes the sanitation question: What to do with all the human waste once society gets into a rhythm of birth, growth and death?

So you see, even though we may have won the war against the zombies, we’ll still have to win the bigger war—the war of rebuilding after the undead are no longer a threat.

To me, that is the greatest challenge of them all.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you think the world would need to do to rebuild from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Return to Castle Wolfenstein

I’ve played a lot of video games in my day. I still do. Just not as much. The game I keep coming back to, no matter how amped up my system gets, is Return to Castle Wolfenstein. As part of my Monday Mayhem series, I’d like to share my experience I had with the game and how it changed my attitude toward zombies.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Released on November 19, 2001, Return to Castle Wolfenstein became an instant Platinum hit. Billed as a first-person shooter, the game features a single player component and various multiplayer modes. For this post, however, my focus will be on the single player mode.

The story of the game is simple. You are B.J. Blazkowicz, an American agent investigating paranormal activities in World War II Germany. You have escaped from Castle Wolfenstein’s dungeon and you proceed to eliminate anyone who gets in your way.

That pretty much sums up the game in its most basic form.

Part of the gameplay involves enemies who shoot, electrocute and/or bomb the player with their assortment of weapons. In one tough level, the player comes across a Panzer tank and some Gatling gun taunting soldiers protecting a building. The player has to eliminate the tank and soldiers before penetrating the building. One evening I’d completed the level straight through without dying. I’ll never forget the sense of achievement I felt. That night I could have taken over the world.

Wolfenstein Zombies
Wolfenstein Zombies

But the brilliance of the game comes when the player becomes trapped in a dark, brick-laden room, void of life and filled to the knees with a thick fog. The player has to cross the room to a door on the other side.

I remember it was two in the morning. I had my headphones on and the lights were dim. I was playing this part of the level for the very first time. Fear hit my stomach, clenching, rattling it like a steel trap. A step at a time, I kept turning my head not wanting anything to sneak up on me. All my senses tingled as I moved forward. When I reached halfway, I felt some relief. I’m still alive, I whispered to myself. I’m still alive. Shh. One more step. Keep going, one more step.

And then, the moan.

I jumped from my desk throwing the headphones on the keyboard. I almost screamed, waking everyone in the house. I backed away from the monitor with a dead stare. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. It wanted to rip from my chest. The cold sweat drenched my shirt. All I remembered was the moan to the right behind me that wouldn’t stop. Regaining my courage, I edged closer to the monitor and peered into the fog. I could barely make them out. Hands? Hands. They appeared from the fog. Then I saw the arms and finally their heads. Their gruesome heads lifting from their graves.

Zombies.

In that moment. In that instant. I’d gained a respect for zombies I never had, which has remained with me to this day.

True story.

Are you part of the old school gaming league? Have you played Return to Castle Wolfenstein? What did you think of the zombies in the game?