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Zombienation pt.1: The History
Posted on Friday, July 9 2010 @ 15:27:44 PST

 Since the rise of nerd culture some fifty years ago, we have all had a fascination with the undead.  From George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” to Capcom's “Dead Rising,” zombies have been as big a staple in the lives of gamers as the D-Pad.  It’s this fascination, in fact, that makes zombies appearing in games, even when they shouldn’t, very commonplace today, and very entertaining.  From an entire playable class in Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft” called the Undead, to Treyarch’s Nazi Zombies mode in “Call of Duty: World at War,” people can’t get enough of these brain-dead, flesh-eating, pieces of wandering meat.

                When my friends and I have conversations about what to do in the case of a zombie apocalypse, many people stare at us with odd looks on their faces, not sure whether we’re serious or not.  The fact of the matter is that although we all know it’s very unlikely (but not completely out of the question) that a zombie uprising will occur, it’s a fun topic to talk about.  What the best weapons would be, to where the best fortified defense area would be, our imaginations always make it a great time.  Of course, zombies today have grown in scariness from their counterparts when previously mentioned filmmaker George A. Romero was creating the standard zombie.  When before they could barely walk at a normal pace and simply let out a low moan, usually holding their arms outstretched trying to find the closest brains possible, now zombies can sniff out the faintest scent of a human, scream to let their comrades know about it, and run faster than the average human (but could probably be outrun by an Olympic sprinter) towards their target.  They’ve learned how to open doors, climb stairs, and even work in groups to achieve their goal.  And achieve it they do, multiple times over, eating any human that they come in contact with.  Unless of course that human happens to have a chainsaw and shotgun handy.

                These foul creatures have even made their way into the mainstream media, spawning multiple popular films and two New York Times Best Sellers, The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, both written by zombie enthusiast Max Brooks.  In terms of film, multi-million dollar earning pictures have been made, movies such as “Shaun of the Dead,” a comedy starring Simon Pegg, “The Evil Dead,” the first in a cult series directed by Sam Raimi, any “Of the Dead” films, originally made by George A. Romero,  and “28 Days Later,” a zombie movie made by Danny Boyle, who also directed the award winning movie adaptation of “Trainspotting.”

 Yes, today zombies are everywhere, but that leads me to the question: how much is too much?  When will the regular public and the gamer public tire of zombie this and zombie that?  When zombies can be found in almost any media outlet when a person looks hard enough, how long will it be before zombies become yesterday’s news and people move on to a different undead threat?  Hopefully it won’t be soon, I like my undead companions, especially since I know that all it takes to stop them is the classic method of severing the head or destroying the brain.  I mean, the vampire craze is already here, definitely not eclipsing zombies in the least, but things that you need to go to some effort to kill – you pretty much need to put a stake through the heart of a vampire to kill it – just seem like too much work to get rid of, and to be honest, when you gain all that strength, immortality, and power with the only downside of not being able to ever go into the sun again and the whole Twilight Saga ruining your reputation, wouldn’t most people want to become one?  Nobody wants to be a zombie, having their flesh rotting off their corpse while they constantly search for brains to eat, that life just sounds dull and sad.  No, zombies don’t look like they’re leaving anytime soon, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.  Any creature that has spawned that many games, books, and movies is okay to keep around for as long as possible in my book.

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