Zombie 2D: A Narrative-Driven Game with Multiple Endings
Zombie 2D: A Brief History of the Undead in Video Games
Zombies are everywhere. They are in movies, TV shows, books, comics, and, of course, video games. But how did these flesh-eating monsters become such a staple of gaming culture? And what makes them so appealing to gamers of all ages and backgrounds? In this article, we will explore the history of zombie games, from their humble origins to their current evolution, and try to understand why they are still relevant and popular today.
What are zombie games?
Zombie games are a subgenre of horror games featuring zombies. You usually have to survive against hordes of these ravenous reanimated corpses to avoid becoming one of them. Theres often a survival element, but youll find multiplayer, singleplayer, 2D platformers and many more games featuring zombies.
These games feature creatures inspired by the archetypal flesh-eating zombies seen in horror films, B-movies and literature; such as in the films of George A. Romero. However, there are also variations and subtypes of zombies, such as fast zombies, intelligent zombies, mutant zombies, alien zombies, and so on.
Why are zombie games popular?
Zombie games are popular for many reasons. Some of them are:
They provide a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping experience that challenges the player's skills and reflexes.
They offer a cathartic and satisfying way to unleash violence and aggression without moral consequences.
They tap into primal fears and anxieties about death, disease, decay, and loss of control.
They reflect social and political issues and critiques, such as consumerism, capitalism, militarism, environmentalism, and so on.
They allow for creative and diverse gameplay mechanics and scenarios, such as crafting, stealth, exploration, puzzles, etc.
They appeal to a wide range of audiences and tastes, from casual to hardcore gamers, from comedy to drama fans.
The Origins of Zombie Games
The first zombie games
The first video games featuring zombies appeared in the early 1980s, influenced by the popularity of zombie movies at the time. These games were mostly simple and crude, using pixelated graphics and basic sound effects. They also required a lot of imagination from the players to recognize the zombies as such.
The Evil Dead (1984)
This game was based on the cult classic horror movie directed by Sam Raimi. It was released for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, and it was a top-down action game where the player had to fend off waves of zombies and demons using various weapons and items. The game was notorious for its high difficulty and lack of save points.
Zombie Zombie (1984)
This game was released for ZX Spectrum, and it was one of the first 3D zombie games. It was a sandbox game where the player had to explore a city infested with zombies and find a way to escape. The player could use various objects and vehicles to fight or avoid the zombies, such as guns, grenades, helicopters, cranes, etc. The game also featured a day-night cycle and a dynamic soundtrack.
Ghosts 'N Goblins (1986)
This game was released for arcade, NES, and other platforms, and it was a side-scrolling platformer game where the player had to rescue a princess from the devil. The game featured various enemies and obstacles, including zombies, skeletons, ghosts, dragons, etc. The game was famous for its high difficulty and limited lives.
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The rise of survival horror
In the mid-1990s, zombie games became more sophisticated and immersive, thanks to the advancement of technology and graphics. These games introduced the concept of survival horror, a genre that emphasizes survival, exploration, puzzle-solving, and atmosphere over action and combat. These games also featured more complex stories, characters, and settings, often inspired by horror literature and cinema.
Resident Evil (1996)
This game was released for PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC, and it was one of the most influential and successful zombie games of all time. It was a third-person adventure game where the player had to explore a mansion infested with zombies and other creatures created by a bioweapon called the T-virus. The game featured limited ammo, health, and inventory space, as well as fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds. The game also had multiple endings and characters with different abilities.
The House of the Dead (1996)
This game was released for arcade, Sega Saturn, PC, and other platforms, and it was a light gun shooter game where the player had to shoot zombies and other monsters in various locations. The game featured branching paths, multiple endings, boss battles, and quick time events. The game also had a cheesy voice acting and dialogue that added to its charm.
Alone in the Dark 3 (1995)
This game was released for PC, Macintosh, PlayStation, and other platforms, and it was the third installment of the Alone in the Dark series. It was a 3D adventure game where the player had to investigate a ghost town haunted by zombies and other supernatural beings. The game featured puzzle-solving, stealth, combat, and exploration elements. The game also had a western theme and a cinematic style.
The Evolution of Zombie Games
The diversification of zombie genres
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, zombie games became more diverse and varied in terms of genres, styles, themes, and tones. These games experimented with different gameplay mechanics and scenarios that deviated from the traditional survival horror formula. These games also appealed to different audiences and tastes.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (1993)
This game was released for SNES and Sega Genesis, and it was a top-down shooter game where the player had to rescue neighbors from zombies and other horror movie monsters. The game featured a co-op mode, a variety of weapons and items, and a humorous tone. The game also had references and parodies of popular horror films and tropes.
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (2005)
This game was released for Xbox, PC, Macintosh, and other platforms, and it was a third-person action game where the player controlled a zombie named Stubbs. The game was set in a retro-futuristic city in the 1950s, where Stubbs had to spread his infection and create an army of zombies. The game featured a sandbox gameplay, a ragdoll physics engine, and a dark comedy tone. The game also had a soundtrack of 1950s songs covered by modern artists.
Plants vs. Zombies (2009)
This game was released for PC, Macintosh, iOS, Android, and other platforms, and it was a tower defense game where the player had to protect their house from zombies using plants. The game featured a variety of plants and zombies with different abilities and characteristics, as well as different modes and mini-games. The game also had a cartoonish style and a catchy theme song.
The innovation of zombie mechanics
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, zombie games became more innovative and original in terms of gameplay mechanics and features. These games introduced new elements that enhanced the immersion and realism of the zombie experience. These games also challenged the conventions and expectations of the genre.
Left 4 Dead (2008)
This game was released for PC, Xbox 360, and other platforms, and it was a first-person shooter game where the player had to cooperate with three other survivors to escape from zombies. The game featured an AI director that dynamically adjusted the difficulty and intensity of the game based on the player's performance and actions. The game also featured four different campaigns, each with its own setting and story.
Dead Rising (2006)
This game was released for Xbox 360, Wii, PC, and other platforms, and it was an open world action-adventure game where the player had to survive in a shopping mall overrun by zombies. The game featured a real-time clock system that affected the events and outcomes of the game. The game also featured a huge variety of weapons and items that could be used or combined to fight or distract the zombies.
This game was released for Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and it was a survival horror game where the player had to scavenge for resources and avoid zombies in a post-apocalyptic London. The game featured a permadeath system that made the pl