Zombies in Games: An Infected Industry – Part 1 of 2

The zombies trend picked up again when World at War was released in 2008. It had a bonus level unlocked after completing the 8 hour campaign, but eventually got so popular Treyarch unlocked it from the beginning. I am of course talking about Nazi Zombies, or Nombies as it’s sometimes abbreviated to. Since then we’ve seen every Treyarch developed Call of Duty contain a more developed version of the same core concept of survival against the hoard. The rest of the gaming industry took note.

Red Dead Redemption received an entire standalone expansion named Undead Nightmare that admittedly received outstanding reviews just as its original did. Sniper Elite, a third person shooter, released a standalone game called Nazi Zombie Army that went on to become its own sub-franchise that now has 3 games in its series. Breach and Clear was a turn based, tactical squad management game that was pretty good. Breach and Clear: Deadline is a twin stick zombie shooter that I will not play.

Left 4 Dead was released in 2008 on the 360 and PC followed by its sequel Left 4 Dead 2 the next year- both are fun to play multi-player with friends. In these games there are different types of special zombies. Of course the masses of generic zombie exist alongside the boomer, the witch, the smoker, etc. This style of special zombies changes up the game-play every so often, like a mini boss battle, and is used in many other games thereafter, such as killing floor.

Many smaller scale games, which are generally perceived as being unique or putting a twist on the usual to get attention and sales, have used the zombie theme. Zombie Driver allows you to run them over in a top down arcade style. Red Nation is a twin stick shooter with loads of different power-ups, giving a unique run everytime (it runs surprisingly well on low end machines). Atom Zombie Shooter is a 30MB tower defense game in which you play as the army trying to save survivors before the zombies eat them all.

Quite a few zombie games rely on players to get addicted to climbing a tech tree. Dead Island, Dying Light, How to Survive, Zafehouse Diaries, Project Zomboid and Deadstate all have elements of role-playing and crafting. The achievement of crafting an item that you desired by going out and obtaining the materials yourself is what drives many players to continue- often these aren’t side quests or objectives at all, further adding to the celebratory feeling.

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Zombies in Games: An Infected Industry – Part 1 of 2

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