Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zombies Are Dumb

When I teach game design, I tell my students at the beginning of class, “Please, no zombie apocalypse.”  In the middle of the class, I ask them “No more zombie games, please.”  And at the end of class I say “Anything but zombies.”  I usually still get about three to five zombie games turned in as homework.  Why the bias against zombie games?  Partially, because I get so many from my students.  Mostly, because zombies are dumb. 

When they first announced that they were producing “The Walking Dead,” many fans of the original comic were concerned they would cover the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and the underlying cause of zombies.  The show, like the comic, skirted the issue.  Why?  Because zombies are dumb.

See, here’s the problem.  Ever since “Night of the Living Dead,” zombies have been mindless, rotting corpses that attack people to eat them.  They can only be killed by a blow to the head, and their bites make people into new zombies.  The zombies, rising from the grave in overwhelming numbers, eventually take over the world.

Let’s try to examine this idea for a moment: stupid, slow, decaying morons take over the world.  Putting aside all the obvious jokes about the Republican Party, how does this make any sense at all?  These are monsters so stupid they don’t know how to open a locked door.  These are creatures who are rotting to the point where their bones are broken and most of their nervous systems are gone.  How could any number of these things kill a person, let alone take down soldiers with grenades, pilots with bombs, and sailors with artillery?
Not to mention the obvious jokes about Apple owners.
They couldn’t.  That’s why “The Walking Dead” and “28 Days Later” both start after the apocalypse is in full swing.  If the shows started earlier, we might have wondered why nobody just took a bulldozer and pushed the zombies into a big hole.

"You have to wait for store hours like everyone else!"
Some zombie fiction has tried to address this fact.  “Shaun of the Dead,” is the most accurate zombie film in history because it ends [spoiler alert!] with the army coming in and shooting all the zombies until they diedJohn Wick’s “Shotgun Diaries” stories make a similar attempt at realism when a scientist admits he can’t find the cause of zombieism (zombification? zombiosis?).  Why?

Because zombies are dumb.

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