Monday, March 12, 2012

EPISODE 67: "I, Zombie"

Now available for ALL AUDIENCES on ScrewAttack, plus embedded below:

57 comments:

biomechanical923 said...

I liked the clips from "Crypt Killer". I remember reading somewhere that Crypt Killer contained a lot of tributes to Ray Harryhausen clay-animation monsters.

As for the meat of the video, I always thought that the relentless nature of zombies was just a symbol for our coping with the inevitability of our own mortality.
This has been the case with zombies for as long as zombie movies have been around.
So you may ask "what's so different about right now?"
I think that the relative safety and naivety of "generation-y" has caused them to react to all the realities of adulthood a lot harder than other generations have.
I call this phenomenon "undergrad syndrome", in honor of its namesakes who think they've finally had their eyes opened to the predatory nature of "the system".
While most of the past generations have learned "you could die any place at any time" and just accepted it as a fact of life (existential crises notwithstanding), this generation-Y, is one that seems to have not fully come to appreciate this concept until their late teens / early 20's, causing some sort of mass hysteria that life is somehow more fragile now than it used to be. I guess the news organizations aren't helping much either...

Reneiw said...

Strange thought is occurring to me as I'm watching these.

Maybe the story is moving a bit slow?

I mean, it might be because of the length of time between episodes, or the fact that I haven't been diligently rewatching these like I did with some of the pre-Ninjamageddon episodes, but the story just feels like it's going a bit slow for me.

Hopefully the next one is a full fight between Overthinker Squad (hehe) and Necrothinker, that'd be cool.

Jacob Beck said...

This video player SUUUUCKS. It's always in a perpetual state of buffering on my end.

Jannie said...

I think everyone, and by everyone I mean Biomechanical also, as well as Bob and that guy James McHipsterScene who writes for EC, is really overthinking this zombie thing.

The reason zombies are "big" now is the reason why zombies were big after Dawn of the Dead came out: because a previous version was "like, whoa" popular and everyone wanted a piece. Back in the 70s and 80s you couldn't drop a hat without a shitty zombie movie falling out of it, so much so movies that had NOTHING to do with zombies were marketed as sequels to either Dawn of the Dead, the Italian movie Zombi, or BOTH even if it made no sense. There was a movie about a serial killer marketed as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead for Christ's sake!

Likewise, Resident Evil was and continues to be a solid, uninterrupted flow of success for Capcom. For the last decade and a half, anything with Resident Evil printed on it has been, in effect, a Gaijin Money Delivery System for the Capsule Corporation and as a result, as a wise rapper once said, "Errbody try to climb on my dick". Translation: everyone wants a piece of that fat money cake.

This caused a snowball effect similar to how slasher movies, natural horror movies and even a disaster movie or two in the 70s and 80s were all dubbed as "sequels" to Zombi/Dawn of the Dead. In this case, due to the vast success of RE and later Dead Rising, both smash hits and continual money makers, everyone else wanted to either make the next big zombie franchise or to market their franchise as a zombie franchise even if it made no sense.

And...that's it really. At the end of the day, its about money and, frankly, what the people want. With a few exceptions I seriously doubt anyone is buying these games, movies, etc because of some deep psychological reasoning--in fact from what I hear the biggest stress reliever in gaming is either Infamous or Prototype, depending on your preferred flavor of antihero. I myself prefer a nice game of GTA San Andreas but that's cause superpowers are too mainstream for me.

It's not about psychology its just about what people want. And what people REALLY want--and this is why movie critics will NEVER get things like Transformers, Avengers or John Carter--is to just have some fun for an hour or so in a day that is probably fairly hectic for the average, 9-to-5, bored with the tube, hit me with a six-pack, smokes a pack a day, drives a shitty Ford, wow college was SO not useful folks that make up us "unwashed masses"...who in turn look at some deep (pretentious) psychological crap like Tree of Life and go "Yeeeeah, no."

And God forbid we all just admit our basic desire to have fun and enjoy ourselves for an hour or so every now and again. BTW, that, right there, is why arthouse movies make two cents every year and Transformers 4 is going to allow Michael Bay to buy Brazil when it comes out. Just sayin'.

Jannie said...

Anyway, I'm not going to go on a rant about the actual Necrothinker story arc...I don't feel like it, and my personal life's been a bitch recently so I'm not in the mood to. But I would like to point out that COD didn't spring forth fully grown from the mind of thugs and drug addicts because they needed someone to fight online, there is a reason why society at large left platformers and mascot games behind. And its not JUST because they're as interactive as a fireworks display and have one-tenth of the plot and characterization.

It's because as graphics, gameplay and story evolved in gaming it became intellectually dishonest to try and tell gamers, who by this time had also been exposed to comics and movies on a larger scale as they grew up, that a cohesive story arc is to save some special needs "princess" who apparently can't even be bothered to fight back when kidnapped and raped by a dragon repeatedly.

The point is, gaming evolved, some franchises didn't, so they were left behind. I'd call it Darwinism but I've been told flatly before that espousing Darwinism is "mean" or somehow discriminatory to the evolutionarily handicapable. So call it "intelligent game design" if it feels less offensive. Either way it was a natural progression not some all of a sudden thing.

Pentium100 said...

What is the title of the game with the chainsaw girl?

biomechanical923 said...

@Jannie

You're on a website called "the Game Overthinker" and you're surprised to see people overthinking thing...

...what?

Just as you said, gaming has evolved. AS it evolves, it's taking a larger place in popular culture, and we would like to see it stand on equal footing as movies and music.
Some movies and music (and I think some games) are not just stories. They're part of a larger social discourse on the things which people of that society are concerned about. For example, many horror films illustrate the fears and anxieties of the society that made them.
I don't think there's any harm in a few game enthusiasts (or fanatical nerds, whatever) coming together to look for allegorical trends in popular media.

Anonymous said...

off topic note

Samurai Pizza Cats was picked up by Discotek. This is a great day.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-03-12/discotek-licenses-samurai-pizza-cats/cats-toninden-teyande

Aqua said...

@Pentium100

I believe that's Lollipop Chainsaw...

Mads said...

@Jannie

I think it's ironic that you made a huge ass comment on other people overthinking :-D

Anyway, it's a nice counterargument.

I think it's a bit weak...it doesn't explain the difference in popularity between zombie and vampire things, and bobs thinking here kindof does.

@Bob

Great video. This shit is the reason I watch TGO.

75percentg said...

I was just studying a little bit of Freud, and now I can't stop seeing the thesis behind this episode as an extension of the Freudian understanding of the destructive subconscious. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. I DON'T WANT MY STUDIES TO APPLY TO oh wait I actually do never mind.

I'm not trying to discredit the theory by relating it to Freud. It was just an interesting connection.

Aiddon said...

it is kind of interesting how much videogames dehumanize their antagonists frequently. Actually giving your villain a sympathetic/human side (or giving your player-avatar flaws) makes it all the less cathartic for the audience. Kind of reinforces the idea that games are little more than comfort food.

Pat said...

@Jannie

I see where you're coming from, but you're not seeing the big picture.

Yes, the prevalence of zombies in video games is primarily because they are popular and they sell well, but you fail to address WHY they sell well. You might say "because people think they're cool". I then ask you WHY people think they are cool.

And THAT is what Bob is trying to get to the heart of with this video. WHY are zombies so ubiquitous these days? Why do we as gamers seem to be OK with zombies being included in just about every facet of the culture? Is he necessarily right? Maybe, maybe not. But this show is often about stopping and examining the psychology and behavior of games and gamers, so you can't really fault him for doing so here.

Anonymous said...

We gotta go svee... We gotta go svee.

Jannie said...

Granted perhaps "Because it's cool" isn't the most intellectually stimulating answer but I really can't see any other one, if we view this stuff objectively.

I mean if you grabbed me out of bed in the dead of night, injected me with truth serum and put a gun to my head and said "Tell me why you play Dead Rising! Now!" I wouldn't even be able to to come up with a coherent argument other than "It's really fun!"

I would say THAT is the answer, that it's the context of the games not the content and the fun and innovative gameplay was why zombie games are so popular--and in fact this could also handily explain the movies too, along with just how dead simple (pun intended) and cheap they are to make. I mean, how hard is it to write a zombie movie that works? I'm entirely certain a little kid could do it. But even that doesn't entirely hold up because the gameplay in Resident Evil was s-h-i-t-y so that wouldn't explain the ORIGINAL zombie game.

Though I guess you could make the argument, which I also heard on Cracked After Hours, that they're appealing because they're a "slower, weaker version of us" thus allowing for an apocalypse we feel we could easily survive. I mean That seems to be the closest to a pop psychology answer, that zombies are literal and physical slow moving targets, so we feel less threatened by them.

Actually that kind of holds up. It also explains why vampires are less common: vampires are, in effect, bigger and much stronger versions of humans--they have all of our intelligence but also have superior strength, inhuman beauty, supernatural powers and virtual immortality. A zombie on the other hand is a human but weaker, slower, dumber and easier to outmatch in a fight. One human could easily kill hundreds of zombies but one human against even one vampire is basically suicide, let alone an army of vampires. Similarly werewolves are an even MORE powerful (stronger, faster and less vulnerable) version of a vampire with weaknesses so specific fighting one is all but impossible. Mummy's, at least traditionally, are just vampires but slower and make up for it with other powers like in the Brendan Frasier Mummy trilogy where he was summoning storms and such. So now he's even MORE of a threat than a vampire or a werewolf, and harder to kill since he's not animated by some viral contagion but by magic since sually mummies could only be defeated by magic in movies, so guns and knives aren't gonna cut it. The White Wolf roleplaying games did a good job of showing how absurdly overpowered they are if they--literally--get their mojo going.

So...yeah I guess that's the real secret if we dig deep enough (pun intended) is that zombies are just easy targets for our rage because they're little more than walking punching bags. They offer JUST ENOUGH threat to be a challenge but not enough to be a genuine danger to an armed human being. Unlike, say, a mummy which is an undead sorcerer or a vampire which is also an undead sorcerer but now flies, or a werewolf which is what happens when everything that wants to kill you has a baby with everything that can.

So yeah...zombies.

Jannie said...

Also I shouldn't sound so bitter about the plot. I mean I get where it is going and I can respect the idea. I guess I'd act the same way if someone asked me to save Dear Esther or Braid.

Hell maybe it will end with some grand denouncement of misplaced nostalgia in a shocking twist.

But if I may offer one more defense of COD, only about one or two missions in Modern Warfare take place in a desert, most are in cities or buildings. Cause it's like MODERN warfare. In truth they mean "Urban Warfare" but I don't think they thought they could trademark a common term like that.

Also Medal of Honor 2008 sucked, why don't you rip that game a new asshole, I can totally support that. Yeah fuck that game.

Botman said...

Reading the comments at Screwattack, sadly it doesn't surprise me that after all the incendiary opinion videos you have made about modern gaming, a sizable portion of your audience appears to support the Necrothinker's actions.

As for the episode itself, the only part that bothered me was the whole "Fonzie bit" over the save CoD line. Given that you seem to have attracted a following that actually supports the villain you have set up, I only hope that when the Overthinker actually confronts Necrothinker, it's not just another debate-less, bad special effects fest like the Antithinker was, and that you're a lot more serious about pushing the whole "live and let live" message you seem to be going towards.

Jon The Wizard said...

I have that same shirt.

On another wavelength...are we sure Call of Duty needs saving? Don't they have enough military-grade hardware to ward off the waves of Galaxian foes?

Manticore said...

For me zombie's work as they are approximations of people and technically, practically, and entertainingly they empower us by making themselves less and allow us to branch out more.

Also the reflection issue. I could become or am like them or the face off with zombie mom, dad, granny, or neighbor.

Also though helpful for causing the crisis the other tropes they bring societal breakdown and intense group stress is amazing allowing you to branch out and draw source from other aspects of the human condition. Such as man at war, men in poverty, men forced to confront their own delusions. Remember the real action of the basic zombie story is when the survivors are choked together and have to negotiate living and dealing with each other.

Manticore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hmm, talking about zombie games as a politically correct substitute for cathartic mass killing sprees through the human mass reminded me of a game where they DIDN'T make that substitution- Postal 2 (and, I guess, the original Postal). Basically a game where you go on a psychotic killing spree around suburbia slaughtering innocents with gleeful abandon, it's really not all that different in what it offers from modern zombie games- although in a narrative sense you're killing the zombies because they're hypothetically trying to kill you, they're never really much of a threat in most games and primarily exist as human-shaped punching bags for you to, yes, slaughter with gleeful abandon. It's Postal 2 that really makes me think Bob's onto something here.

biomechanical923 said...

@Botman
"I only hope that when the Overthinker actually confronts Necrothinker, it's not just another debate-less, bad special effects fest like the Antithinker was, and that you're a lot more serious about pushing the whole "live and let live" message you seem to be going towards."

I predict that the ending of the Necrothinker Saga will be a lot like the ending of "The Good Son", with some kind of message like "It's time to let go (of the past)"

Jannie said...

The problem with the "its a nice way to cathartically kill people" is that it falls apart in the face of one simple fact:

GTA exists.

Here you can kill REAL HUMANS, or their proxies, with the same wanton abandon, NONE of the threat, and as Ben Crenshaw once pointed out in the GTA-type game you're main form of transportation is hijacking military choppers and kamikaze-ing them into crowds of people.

Its all the fun of Dead Rising, with none of the morbid story, and in the story you do get you kill people you WISH you could kill like drug dealers and crooked cops. If killing people we can't stand were the reason zombie games and movies and such hit it big then GTA wouldn't be necessary since--if memory serves--RE came out BEFORE Grand Theft Auto 3 revolutionized the genre.

Plus now we have stuff like Crackdown (awesome game by the way), Infamous, Prototype and the like where you can do the same thing but with superhuman abilities. It's such obvious catharsis I'm surprised they didn't market it like that: some dude gets home from his shitty job, sits down, plays Crackdown and smiles, a tear running down his face as "It's All Coming Back To Me" wells up in the background.

I dunno, I think the movies can be easily explained by how incredibly simplistic and cheap even the best zombie effects are, and the games mainly flow from people trying to hitch on to a bandwagon while its still going. I mean so far, Capcom is riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels thanks to Jill Valentine and her undead friends, so why not hop on the caboose?

That and, I think, it really does come down to them being just enough of a threat to pose a challenge but not enough to actually endanger anyone realistically. Remember in the 1990s version of Night of the Living Dead when the girl who looked like Molly Ringwald just...walked past the zombies. Its like that. It's a canned hunt, an easy target in a sea of target rich environments.

Unlike, as I mentioned, Vampires who would just wipe out whole army regiments if given half a chance, or like in the remake of the Wolfman where one werewolf managed to kill over a dozen armed men without taking a single hit.

Much too much danger for the average person to enjoy "hunting". In a way then zombies are like cattle. They die so that we humans can find enjoyment. In fact that was kinda the whole point of Dead Rising 2, that zombies are less of a threat and more of a target as long as you can contain the outbreak.

Shit now I feel sorry for them.

David (The Pants) said...

I am really enjoying this story arc.

Antonio Black said...

I'm surprised Bob is using clips from Resident Evil 6, or that he even mentioned Resident Evil at all. In the past he's been pretty disdainful of the franchise. You don't get many references to it out of him...

Chazz said...

Wait wait wait, so...there's absolutely NO way you could just...I don't know...save the world AFTER Call of Duty was destroyed forever?

@Jannie
First off, yes zombies are big because the sell well, the episode is about THE REASON they sell well. Or were you not paying attention? We aren't talking about why companies choose to sell zombie products, we're talking about why people choose to buy those products.
And while it's true that people sometimes just want to have fun, that's no reason not to question WHY people enjoy the things they do. It's all well and good to say "sometimes I'm tired and just want to turn my brain off" But even when you're watching the basest of stupid pop-corn movies, you're brain is still working, even if all it's doing is making you feel warm and fuzzy when the bad guy get's punched in the face. And what we're discussing is why watching that guy get punched makes you feel warm and fuzzy, so as much as you may try and deny it, yes, what you do and don't enjoy is psychological. Oh, and please, for your own sake, don't label things you don't understand as "pretentious". It only make you look bad.

As for what you think about gaming today, well, basically, you're just wrong. If society had moved away from platforming games, there wouldn't be so many of the damn things still alive, kicking, and making ridiculous amounts of dosh. And if you think that Halo is anything other than a mascot game you clearly don't know how things work.
I also find it insulting that you decided to list "graphics" alongside "story" and "gameplay". The only people who actually care about the first one as much as the latter two are the very people who are responsible for those oceans of grey and brown that the Necrothinker was talking about.
As a final note, I like to see what YOU'D be able to do about it if a giant fire-breathing monster-turtle decided to kidnap you. It's all well and good to bag on peach for being useless baggage, until you realize that Bowser is a FIRE-BREATHING MONSTER-TURTLE WITH AN ARMY OF BIPEDAL MUSHROOM MINIONS AND A FLEET OF AIR SHIPS.
Oh, and Bowser isn't a rapist for the same reason that peach doesn't just shoot him every time he kidnaps her.

Anonymous said...

Jacob, according to the forums screwattack's video player doesn't agree particularly well with popup blockers. Try tweaking your settings if you use one.

Jannie said...

Hey Chazz, take a fucking chill pill. What's you're problem, I called some crap movie pretentious? Get a grip, I'm not obligated to like some ridiculous arty movie--a movie which, I may add, is disliked even by snobbish movie critics so yeah...

First off, you're being a prick about something of extraordinarily little importance. It's perfectly valid to say that zombies are just popular because they are...not EVERYTHING has or needs some incredibly complex pop psychology explanation. Some things, like "sex sells", are so deeply ingrained in our instinctual make up that they're indistinguishable from a reflex and digging deeper into them just results in circle jerks of speculation. IF we had to, I'd guess zombies are mainly popular in movies because they're cheap to do, and thus almost always a net gain in profit, and in games because they're easy targets to kill and thus not challenging for players. But even then that's pure speculation and no one will ever really figure something like that out.

This isn't a subject with an actual objective answer. Whatever you or I say will always be completely subjective and only really make sense in that context, so get off the high horse I'm not remotely intimidated.

And another thing: yes, Bowser is a rapist, or at the very least he's had sex with Peach. As far as I understand one of his kids is her son, and it's not even like she denies this or this is EVER shown to be untrue, its just stated outright and explicitly that Bowser Jr is the son of Peach and Bowser.

And Peach is shown in her own game to be just as powerful as Mario or more so, and have magical powers too. I would go into it but I think if we examine it from a realistic perspective the reason why she never fights back is she's a blithering idiot who adheres to the same disturbing concepts of femininity, flying in the face of modern gender dynamics, that is seen in practically every square inch of Japanese pop culture. I'm just glad she's yet to be sexually assaulted by tentacles, but then again she's over 12 so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.

And by the way why not shoot the asshole? Bowser is a terrorist warlord who uses his own children as cannon fodder and has repeatedly tried to take over her country...what, he's too nice to kill? Why the hell hasn't he been killed yet? This isn't the Joker and Batman, Mario doesn't have a "no guns" rule, he stomps enemies to death all the time. So what, its fine to smash Goombas to death and use dead Koopas' bodies as weapons or feed them to a dinosaur alive, but killing a dictator is out of the question? Lolwut?

Hold on I'm not done yet...

Jannie said...

Ok so Chazz where are these platformers making "insane amounts of dosh" which I didn't even know was a term and I honestly thought you said "dross" for a second there but whatever.

You mean Mario, because that always sells. That's just a marketing situation, a whole generation of people brainwashed by low-end propaganda into buying Mario games like Pavlov's dog but with Nintendo licenses. How about Rayman Origins, yeah that sold like...oh wait.

So no, where are these games, BESIDES Mario, because other than that one success story I don't really see it. What I do see is games like Skyrim selling several million copies in less than a week.

And don't be so smug either, kay, this internet tough guy bullshit only works on teenagers and people on your forum who think you're cool. Real people with jobs and families and lives don't care about what you think you know about things that happened probably before you were born.

No, Halo isn't a mascot game, for the simple fact that mascot games are a specific genre of gaming that existed for a brief period really starting almost immediately after Sonic came out. Sonic was a very new, different game with a new different character and ideals, and a hundred shitty knock offs tried to take it and run with it and failed. Those were mascot games, poor man's attempts at cloning Sonic and failing miserably. I'm actually hesitant to place Mario in that category, despite the fact that many people do, because God only knows that Mario was at least good when he was relevant--as opposed to Izzy or Bubsy who were only relevant for one or two years in the mid-nineties and not even good as actual games then.

But ok, so you want to play "smugger than thou" and throw around bullshit like how I mentioned graphics--well I'm sorry boyo but I have no spare fucks left in my pocket for that crap. I have heard people make this asinine "graphics don't matter derp!" argument before but I have yet to see anyone actually present evidence of a game with horrendously crap visuals (not just low-tech, but BAD visuals) that was actually good. Usually they'll throw out say Braid or Super Mario World and I'll point out that Braid, for all its faults and asinine attempts at storytelling that come off as an angsty teenager's fanfic, it actually has pretty cool graphics and a good aesthetic design, and Super Mario World was actually MARKETED as having awesome graphics in its day.

Never mind that, back in the heyday of Nintendo and Sega, back in the "golden age", there was actually an ongoing debate about which console had better graphical ability. Remember how that worked? Remember how Sega does what Nintendon't? Remember how Atari advised people to "do the math"? Remember how EVERY single SNES game was marketed almost entirely as "it looks cool!" including double-page spreads for Contra 3 saying little more than that? Remember that whole era. Yeah. That.

Can a game be good with low end graphics? Of course it can. But the reality is that even now the big, innovative titles that aren't FPS games like Bastion (which is awesome) or Journey are built on their unique look and aesthetics, which would impossible without advances in graphical capacity. Even Rayman Origins, which by the way I actually own and its awesome too, would have been impossible to do as is without the gorgeous look and aesthetics of it...shame it sold like a lead balloon, but that's not my fault, I supported it! Some games are even built on a hyper-stylized version of 16-bit graphics like Scott Pilgrim even though they use modern technology to do it way better. And don't even get me started on the Half-Life series, Bioshock Infinite, Portal and Skyrim all of which are awesome and innovative new visions of per-existing genres and all of which depend on new graphics and physics engines to properly depict the highly detailed and expansive worlds they inhabit.

Jannie said...

And frankly I don't give a damn what the "Necrothinker" or you have to say about it. If he asked me I'd probably just get fed up and tell him it's not my fault, or the fault of everyone born AFTER 1996 who don't give a damn about Bubsy, that he was forgotten. So let him take over the gaming industry, no on will buy his crap and they'll all collapse anyway. He can be king of the ashes and send out commands to the rubble of the industry his insecurity and inability to let go of the past destroyed. And if that's gaming's fate then its fine by me. And you can take that as a direct response to you too, Chazz.

PadMasher said...

Well, I'm pretty sure devs only crank out zombie games now mostly due to popularity and as someone who doesn't really like zombie games, I can't begin to explain why they might be popular but, I think my dislike for zombies might add to the discussion.

The way I see it, zombies are terrifying. I've never liked how they creep up on you slowly, covered in blood and torn clothes, moaning eeriely. The reason why is that zombies themselves are a symbol of death.

Think about it. Zombies are literally the walking dead. People naturally fear death because we don't really know what it is and when we do eventually figure that out, we aren't going to be able to tell people what it was like to be dead because...well we're dead. We can't return from death yet, death can come to us in several ways at any given time. In a way, a swarm of zombies is like an army of grim reapers.

Of course when we see zombies, we try to fight them. Afterall, all the zombies are after you. Why? It's because you're alive. Maybe comsuming your flesh will make them human again but, for the most part, zombies are simply death personified.

This idea makes a ton of sense when you consider that zombies aren't really monsters. They're simply other people who have already died. In fact, passed loved ones could come after you in the form of zombies which can make them even more horrifying to look at. Nobody wants to see a mutilated, blood-soaked version of their parents come after them craving to eat their flesh.

Behind all the brain eating, all zombies really seem to want to do is recruit new members into their "club". If you get bitten by a zombie, you become one. In a way, zombies not only symbolize death but, also corruption.

Why else would a zombie apocalyspe take place in...well an apocalyspe. Society as we know it crumbles in these zombie stories and the characters are always struggling to survive against an enemy that often greatly outnumbers them and wins by simply overwhelming its victims.

What's worse is that zombies, or rather what zombies symbolize, cannot be defeated. Everything dies eventually. You will become a part of that herd, the herd of the undead. That fear of losing your humanity to a group of gruesome, deformed versions of other people is what makes zombies easily the scariest of all horror monsters.

To top it off, zombies can symbolize virtually anything that is soul-consuming or dehumanizing. Social norms, a mundane job, pretty much anything that threatens to take away your humanity (physically and/or mentally) is basically what zombies are in a nutshell.

Come to think of it, that's probably why they always go for the brains. You think with your brains. Without them, you'd be mindless just like the zombies so the zombies eat your brains and now you're just as mindless as they are.

PadMasher said...

@Jannie

Kinda funny how you mentioned the whole "graphics don't matter" thing. I actually decided to blog about that a while back. I agree that the arguement is pretty ridiculous though, I'd argue that too much emphasis is being put into visuals as opposed to the games themselves but, I don't know anyone who willing buys ugly looking games. There's a reason for that.

Oh, I feel like I should point this out. You seem a little uptight regarding retro-romancing based off some the post I've read from you in some of Bob's older videos. That's fine and all (nostalgia whores can be pretty obnoxious) but, it would look a lot better if you hadn't said Bowser Jr. was Peach's son. He isn't. At the end of SMS, Bowser tells his son that he lied to him about Peach being his mother. There was no clear cut explaination as to why he bothered to lie to him though, it's implied that he lied to motivate Bowser Jr. into capturing Peach. Anyway, Bowser Jr. says he already knew Peach wasn't his mother and states that when he gets older, he wants to fight Mario again. It would help your case if you knew the story behind a game like Mario especially since Mario has little to no story to begin with.

Simply stating that Bowser Jr. is Peach's son (which he isn't) makes it look like you're disregarding mascot games simply because they're "too old" or some other barely justifiable reason. You did know Bowser Jr. wasn't Peach's son before I mentioned it right?

biomechanical923 said...

@Padmasher
You did a good job expanding on some of the ideas I was having a little trouble articulating earlier in the thread.
Movies like "Dawn of the Dead" and "Shaun of the Dead" do a great job of examining and criticizing the "living death" of settling into a routine, and the "daily grind".

@Jannie
You propose that Bowser of Mario Bros. is a rapist, that he fathered Bowser Jr. by raping Peach, and that Bowser should be shot to death with a gun....
....and you accuse other people of overthinking and taking games too seriously....
I'm beginning to think that Jannie is a huge trololololol. There are way too many fallacies and inconsistencies, for it to be unintentional.

Student 0172648 said...

Dude, I love your videos, but you made so many mistakes on the definition of "zombie" and the history that I got to call you out on it.

First off, mummies are NOT zombies. They don't follow the same rules as zombies ("kill the brain, kill the zombie"), they don't spread their infection like zombies and they are magic based, as zombies are science based.

Next, you say George Romero called his creatures "Ghouls". According my source, he called them "Flesh eaters". Maybe he did also call them ghouls, but I that's not what I read.

The big one though came when you said the fans were calling the creatures in Romero's movies zombies. This isn't technically true. The first person to call the creatures in Romero's film zombies was a European translator who translated the title of one of his movies to "Zombi". That was a misleading title as these zombies had no relation to the voodoo zombies (the only that existed back then), but it just kind of stuck due to the impact the movie had in Europe.

My source for all of this: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Zombies, by Matt Mogk. Its a good read and really lays out what is a zombie and where they come from.

Jannie said...

I was unaware of Bowser telling Bowser Jr that Peach wasn't his mother as the extent of my knowledge about Mario Sunshine is limited since I don't own the game, but if that's the case then point conceded.

Jesus so he he lies to his son on purpose, gets him to attack a sovereign nation with some kind of magical chemical weapon, then just goes "Oops, sorry, yeah made that up. Anyway, hey so, Walking Dead! Really heating up! I DVRed it you wanna go home and watch son?"

Wow. So yeah, that's just ANOTHER horrible thing he did and ANOTHER time he decides to use his own kids as cannon fodder, why not throw it on the heap with all the other absurdly immoral things he's done. At this point I have to wonder if Bowser is not easily the

And I'm not accusing anyone of taking things too seriously Biomechanical, I just think sometimes analyzing completely subjective things like taste and what is popular only leads to a flame wars and speculation. But like I said if you asked me point blank, I'd probably say that it's popular and common now because it's cheap and allows for just enough challenge to be fun or exciting with no real threat. But I can't possibly prove that, so your guess is as good as any.

Though I would say that I, personally, simply don't buy the whole idea that they're part of a generation just discovering mortality for the first time. That seems like a stretch, especially considering that zombies became popular as enemies in movies way before Generation Y came into being. Like I said zombies were so popular in he 70s and 80s movies about everything from killer birds to ghosts to immortal slasher villains were rebranded as zombie movies for no discernible reason OTHER THAN to make money off zombie fans. This trend continues today with, in a sense, rebranding Red Red Redemption and Black Ops into zombie games ad hoc as opposed to doing it deliberately from the beginning.

So if this is somehow connected to notions of human morality it goes back way, way further than that, like at least thirty years or more. But then again, I can see how one could maybe argue that has caused the sudden spike in zombie games in the 2000s and such, but the phenomenon itself, of zombies being the go-to enemy for much of fiction it seems, started long before that with their parents and grandparents. If anything I'd almost say it was a generational rite of passage.

Jannie said...

Student:

If I recall, a news reporter in the original Night of the Living Dead DOES use the term "ghoul" I believe. Its not exactly thrown around by everyone but it is used. Mainly though they seem to be convinced, at least early in the movie, that these people are "crazies" or in other words, normal humans that have lost their shit for some reason.

WHY anyone would be stupid enough to think a shambling, clearly rotting, fly-bitten corpse thirsting for human blood is ANYTHING ELSE than a non-human entity I have no idea. While the term zombie wasn't common then my first reaction would be "Oh God, its the...ugliest vampires ever?" as opposed to "Oh God, some unknown, tasteless, odorless, apparently airborne chemical weapon has caused everyone to go crazy, develop leprosy and lose all motor functions somehow! What an alarmingly precisely chemical weapon!"

Student 0172648 said...

@Jannie:

I've been reading through the comments and you also make a mistake on the facts about zombies. You say they are a "weaker" version of us humans. This technically isn't true. Maybe they are a more "fragile" version, as their limbs can easily fall off and such, but they are in no way "weaker". Since we have a conscious and unconscious mind working at all times, when we hit something, even if we try to do it "full force", it won't be "full force". Why? Because our unconscious mind stops us from hurting ourselves. Tests have shown that a zombie wouldn't worry (or be aware) of this pain, and so his "full force" is about 3 times our "full force", so they are stronger. Also, they can only be killed by destroying the brain, as we can be killed in many ways, one of which is a SINGLE bite from a zombie. The only advantages humans have is being faster, but most importantly, being SMARTER. Weak and strong have nothing to do with it.

While I'm replying to you, I do enjoy the counter argument you make: sometimes fun is enough, as Bob once stated in one of his episodes. However, as someone else once said, this is the "Overthinker" and in this particular case, there is a lot to look at. Sure, games like GTA do exists, but when you're mowing down a random padestrian, people will sometimes think "Oh my god, that could be ME!" However, a zombie CAN'T be you. A zombie is everyone else. That is the point that (I think) Bob was trying to make in his video; we substitute the people we would like to get rid of with something "beneath" us, as that is how we see all the people we'd like to mow down.

I'd also suggest there is some "starring death in the face" and "no guilt in killing what is already dead" situations here, but I can also agree that they are cool because they are cool.

I also have to agree with Jannie that GRAPHICS DO MATTER! It's a sad fact that many of us deny, but IT IS TRUE. Jannie provided many examples of the golden age where this was used. Remember images in the Atari being so basic you can't make out what is what? You can't play that because the graphics aren't good enough. Would Call of Duty work as well if the graphics looked like Quake? No. Fuck no, the appeal would be lost cause it wouldn't look like a "Modern Warfare", it'd be a joke of a bunch of pixels. In many cases better graphics are needed as 1) cut down on confusion and make everything more clear and 2) engage the audience (player) more when you want a sense of realism. However, are graphics as important as plot and game play. Again, no. Fuck no. If you prioritize graphics OVER plot and game play, than you lost sight of why they should be important in the first place.

And finally, Halo IS a mascot game. Any series that features a "character returns" as one of it's big selling points is a mascot game. Super Mario is a mascot game cause people want to play as Mario again. Duke Nukem is a mascot game cause people want to play as Duke Nukem again. God of War is a mascot game cause people want to play as Ares again. Splatterhouse is a mascot game cause we want to play as what's-his-face again. Halo is a mascot game cause we want to play as Master Cheif again. This is why the games where you DON'T play as the Cheif are spin-offs and not part of the main series. Sure, mascot games were a "style" back in the 90's, but as Yahtzee once put it, EVERY GAME was in that style. Like you said, it evolved.

Anonymous said...

This video player is the worst. I can't just leave it and let it buffer. It's like I have to watch it while then let it load for a minute to get 2 seconds of video.

And if I just let it play and not watch it, I can't click back to the beginning. And the few times I did do that it still had to reload those parts at the beginning....

Student 0172648 said...

@Jannie:

Hmm... I don't quite remember that part, but it would explain the confusion. Still, my source tells me that Romero himself refereed to them as "Flesh Eaters", but perhaps he also "Ghouls" too. Since they didn't have as set a name at the time, I guess both are possible. Thanks, I guess I see where my confusion on the subject came from.

biomechanical923 said...

I think part of being a "mascot game" has to do with the game being an exclusive. "Mascots" are used to entice people into buying a system.
For example, Mario is a mascot game, because he's exclusive to Nintendo, and therefore somehow is partially the "face" of nintendo.
Alex Kidd and Sonic were "mascot games" of Genesis, because they were trying to make you buy a Sega.
In the same sense, I think it could be said that Master Chief is a mascot of Microsoft, because a lot of people buy XBOX's so they can play Halo.
This is just one more reason why Nintendo needs a new flagship IP, they have had the same "mascots" for 25 years (not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just saying I'd like to see them mix it up a bit more

PadMasher said...

Jannie and Student bring up some interesting points in regards to why we like to kill zombies but, I think it really goes beyond simply "killing something beneath us" and that might have something to do with Bob's point.

Not to sound like goodie-two-shoes but, I've never really been into blood n' gore games. I can play them no problem but, they're not my prefered style of game. I realized why I didn't like these games while playing Uncharted 2.

The game not only had me playing as a regular human being but, I was shooting and killing other human beings (granted, they were dehumanized but, they were still people). The game even encourages headshots which guarantee one-hit kills just like in real-life if I shot someone square in the brain.

The underline feeling that I was outright killing people really disturbed my experience with the game mainly because of how realistic it was. I wasn't just shooting aliens or monsters. Sure they were the bad guys and out to get me so it wouldn't sense for Drake not to shoot them but, that's sort of my issue with these kinds of games.

I was Drake. I had to aim at their heads and shoot them dead in the eyes. As justified as it is, this technically makes Drake a murderer and by extension, me. It's easy to shoot and kill things in fantasy settings where you can tell the difference between that world and the real one.

This isn't really the case in most shooters which take place in realistic settings with characters that could easily be you in real life (see military shooters).

However, most people don't have this issue. They like action games where you shoot people and teabag their corpses during online play. I think the fact the video games (along with media in general) is so violent says something about how predatorial people actually are.

Jannie mentioned GTA and that game is perfect example. You can steal cars and shoot people on the street simply because you can. Not only are these people aren't monsters, most of them don't even try to intentionally harm you. You're blowing up cars and robbing people simply because "it's fun".

PadMasher said...

Why is it fun? Before we even bother to think about that, let's look at one the oldest and extreme examples of video game violence. Of course, I'm talking about Mortal Kombat. As far as realism is concerned, MK is far from it. Players kill eachother in the most abstract and ridiculous ways possible. It's the main reason why MK is considered fun in the first place.

Think about that. If it wasn't for the blood n' gore, Mk would have been just another fighting game. Not like that matters since fighting games themselves are about beating other fighters to near death with jumpkicks and fireballs.

So again, why is any of this fun? I think it's a little obvious why this is; we simply aren't as opposed to causing harm to others as we like to believe. This is why people bully eachother in various ways and for the record, war is just another form of bullying

Countries shoot and bomb eachother until the other concedes. Most FPS games and pro-war proganda movies glorfy this. It's "fun" to do this stuff. When you think about, getting hate mail over XBox Live or even that whole sexism issue regarding Cross Assault shouldn't surprise anyone. We're talking about games that would naturally attract people with little to no respect for people around.

Yeah, it's "not the same" because game characters aren't real but, it's not like these games are about spreading world peace or just trying to help people without using brute force.

Calling these games (especially shooters) "murder simulators" isn't too inaccurate though, the idea that violent games turn you into Charles Manson is pretty ridiculuos. You see, violent games don't make violent people. Violent people make violent games.

I think that might be the point Bob was trying to make regarding zombies being dehumanized people who we aim all are disdain for eachother at. Zombies are just another obstacle and I think it's fair to say we treat real people the same way.

Whoever disagrees with us is "wrong" and must destoryed is physically or verbally. We attack people simply different than us. Those people aren't us so it doesn't matter how they feel about anything. In that respect, that might of been what Bob was getting at. We play RE, GTA, etc. and end up shooting people or humanoid like creatures in a world without any real consequence. Come to think of it, that sort of explains the G.I.F.T when you think about it.

Student 0172648 said...

@biomechanical:
Yes, it has to do with the system, but that's more because of the COMPANY. Mascots represent the company more than anything. That's why Mario is exclusive to Nintendo systems; because he's a product of Nintendo.

Let's look at a non-system exclusive mascot: Megaman. Would you deny that this guy is a mascot character for Capcom? But he has appeared on Nintendo consoles, Sony and Microsoft alike.

I think mascot games represent the series their in, but to another degree the company.

Jannie said...

I don't really believe in the "violent games attract violent people" thing because, at heart, ANY game can be considered violent. What precisely is the difference between Link killing monsters with a boomerang and Marcus Fenix killing monsters with a gun? Other than the gun, which some may consider more violent, but that's not true at all--to do enough damage to, say, a giant worm or one of those pig things from Zelda with a boomerang Link would need to throw it with enough force to imbed it in their head or chest. By definition, what Link is doing is more graphic than just shooting someone, it's just not displayed prominently.

Likewise, I dare anyone to say those Koopas eaten alive by Yoshi don't suffer a fate worse than merely being shot.

Violent games don't attract violent people because anything beyond Tentris or Professor Layton is by definition violent. The violence is displayed in different degrees of graphical fidelity but that has nothing to do with it being violent or not. Just because someone gets teabagged doesn't make it a more graphic (in context) situation than someone being eaten alive by a giant lizard.

The REAL thing we're looking at here is not predatory natures or inherent violence, the real thing we're looking at here is the fact that, at heart, no one really takes games seriously. Not the content or continuity of a game, people take that serious as hell, enough to start flamewars over it. Nor the game industry itself which is, I'd argue, given an almost undue amount of importance in comparison to its actual relevance to society--being paradoxically lionized and hated at different intervals depending on the situation.

What I mean is, I don't think that psychologically humans take video games seriously in that I don't believe anyone REALLY feels anything besides personal enjoyment (or, dislike, if it's a shit game...like say Drake of the 99 Dragons) and really what we think is some more complex emotional context is just our brains trying to explain to their logical parts why the primitive, lizard part has a stiffy.

When some guy looks at, say, Tina Armstrong or Laura Croft they enjoy it purely on a sexual level. When you curb stomp a Locust to death in Gears you enjoy it purely on the level of "I won this competition!" or when you manage to save Pauline in Donkey Kong you get a basic feeling of having outsmarted a computer. In no way do you really feel the emotional content an actual killing of someone, or saving a loved one, or having real sex would cause.

So what I'm saying is, on a mental level, video games are not so much murder simulators as they are "life simulators"--or more precisely "the life we wish we had simulators". So now, even though the real fitness models who look like Tina Armstrong will never touch you, the computer girl will coo and flirt with you all you want. And while most men can never be as brave or strong or selfless as Marcus Fenix now you can be, by proxy, by controlling his every action. Movies, Tv, books all do the same thing but without the interactive control video games do.

That's why the FIRST THING anyone does in a sandbox game is NOT run over people, they climb to the top of the highest building and fling themselves off. Because they can now "see" what that would be like, how cool it would look, by proxy with no chance of pain or death.

TL;DR: watch Surrogates, its like that.

Sylocat said...

Jannie telling somebody else to "take a [fucking] chill pill," and accusing someone else of "being a prick over something of extraordinarily little importance."

That may very well be the funniest thing I've ever read in these comment sections.

*sigh*

Anyway, onto the actual topic of the video (which keeps quitting loading about halfway through for me, so forgive me if this gets covered in the later parts of the video):

I think David Wong put it best: Ever since they were invented in that Babylonian poem 5,000 years ago, zombies have been popular because they feed into a fear of people, and fear that human beings might truly be nothing more than mindless animals at heart. It seems to raise a whole lot of questions about us: What if all those things that ostensibly make us human are a load of pointless bullshit?

The problem is, when we say "people are mindless animals," what we really mean is, "OTHER people are mindless animals," so zombies get used as a blanket metaphor for any group of Other People we don't like this week (you think it's an accident Romero used them as a metaphor for communists, then for consumerism, and so on?).

There's another issue of course, and that is, aside from the zombies themselves, the story structure is often problematic. Zombie-apocalypse scenarios are basically survivalist fantasies, with a free license to shoot everyone who annoys you in everyday life (while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in the group of survivors, obviously), firmly establishes violence as the only solution (since negotiation and compromise aren't possible with an enemy who has been stripped of those real-world inconveniences like agency), and portrays anyone with a different approach as doomed to, and in fact DESERVING OF, a horrible death. It's neo-feudalism mixed with an aren't-you-sorry-you-ignored-me-now wish fulfillment fantasy.

(and then Yahtzee Croshaw put it even better with the opening monologue of his Dead Island review, in which he pitched a game where you outrun a giant mound of zombie games, movies, and reinterpretations of classic literature, and call the game Enough With The Fucking Zombies Already, and then called out the zombie-obsessives by pointing out that, despite all their fantasies of reigning over the wasteland, we all know most of them would start talking suicide pacts if the internet went down for more than a week).

PadMasher said...

@Jannie

As far as the violence is concerned, I think it's the degree of violence that distinguishes the games. What makes fantasy violence well, fantasy violence is that it lacks realism. I don't just mean graphics wise. A game can have realistic graphics and still fall into the realm of fantasy.

The thing is, in games like Uncharted, you shoot actual people. In MK, there is actual blood. In CoD, you fight in realistic settings. There are quite a few real world elements in these types of game (well, save MK since the fatalities are just plan ridiculous but, still gory as you could imagine).

Now compared to Mario or Zelda where your enemies don't bleed, often aren't human, attack you with fantasy weapons or magic, and are often bright and colorful in appearance, the differece should be fairly obvious. It's simply isn't as real as shooting someone right between the eyes. It's one thing for Yoshi to eat Koopas then crap them out as eggs. It'd be a lot more gruesome if Yoshi visciously mauled them or the player saw and heard the Koopas being painfully digested. Same with Link's boomerang. It doesn't break skulls or make anything bleed.

Also, I guess I should clarify that not suggesting anyone who plays anything remotely violent is a violent person. I play quite a few violent games myself, including MK. My point is that we seem to think slapstick comedy, sex jokes, and flat-out murder to be somehow entertaining. If we didn't, our media would be completely different from what it is now.

Your Tina and Lara examples support this. If people enjoy cheesecake women on a "sexual level", I think it's safe to say that quite a few of the people drooling over these pixelated models aren't too interested in their personalities hence why I brought up Cross Assault. Seriously, you put one woman in a room with a bunch of dudes who play games featuring half-naked bikini models punching eachother and we honestly expected her NOT to get sexually harassed?

That's my point. Why exactly is teabagging or stomping Locust skulls even remotely fun? Quite a few people would be digusted by that but, those who enjoy it aren't. Why? Is it simply because of taste? Is because they think it's fun? Is it something they want to do? Is it because when you say games are "life simulators" and simulate lives we wished we had, those lives often involve us decapitating something nowadays?

PadMasher said...

@Jannie

This isn't new either. We've been entertained at the expense of others since days of the colosseum. This doesn't inherently mean the person being entertained is a serial killer but, in order to be entertained by violence, you'd have to like it to some extent.

I don't think it's as black and white as simply liking and hating the games. There's got to be a reason why. Look at Drake and 99 Dragons (good to know other people remember it). It's bad because of it's camera, controls, terrible AI, horrid gameplay, and garbage narrative. It isn't bad just because it is.

I'd bother to go into my theories regarding why people like games with sex and violence in it but, you pretty much did that for me. Makes perfect sense that someone who wants ridiculuosly proportioned women to flirt with them would play a game like the DOA volleyball games. Naturally, that kind of game is going a certain kind of consumer. Seriously, think about the kind of people who play Leisure Suite Larry.

Now, again, I'm not trying to make a blanket statement like all CoD players love gun porn or anything like that. All I'm saying is we have reasons for liking certain things as opposed to others. The reasons are always there and we use logic to figure out what they are.

Also, about people not taking video games seriously, I'd argue that has more to do with people not bothering to think twice about anything though, the industry definitely has some growing up to do first. It's part of the reason why zombies are overused in the first place. "Let's put them in because it's cool" is probably why most of these zombie games exist. That shouldn't stop us from why they're cool.

One more thing regarding the sandbox games, they're pretty much why I brought up the G.I.F.T. meme. When people can do virtually anything with little to no consequence, people take that freedom to do pretty much whatever they what. So why exactly would you want to jump off a building, steal cars, or maybe even save cats out of trees? If you had that kind of freedom in real life, how would you use it?

Zeno said...

Really, I think zombies are popular for reasons that have much more to do with practicality than some hidden, deep seated, and widespread misanthropy.

Firstly, there are the gameplay reasons. Zombies are about the only humanoid creature I can think of that are actually weaker than humans, thus giving a justification for the "one man army" phenomenom, which is at least partly due to the fact that without being able to kill large amounts of people it is hard to demonstrate the awesome power of some weapons ubiqutous in games these days like automatic shotguns or flamethrowers, which would be impractical in most realistic combat scenarios. Zombies can plausibly negotiate all obstacles and environements a human can, and can be expected to be found anywhere humans are. Since you can find them anywhere, logically they could be found in places the target audience lives, thus allowing the protagonist to be a relatable everyman and not Simon Belmont. They can be expected to be able to preform any task a human can that does not require serious intellectual ability. Zombies also don't need very complex AIs.

Sceondly, there are aesthetics. Zombies are seen as much more mundane than other supernatural creatures, and hence fit into a much broader spectrum of games. this allows them to be far more scary because they are much lkess likely to come off as silly. This is partly due to the fact that zombies are so popular in pop culture, creating a snowball effect. Nobody needs to be told what a zombie is, so you can get away withhaving no exposition at all. Where there is exposition, zombies can be more believably explained as the products of science than other "supernatural" monsters, which again ties into the "mundane" aspect of their appeal. Modeling, skinning, and animating zombies is no harder than it is for normal humans, and often models can actually be recycled. Zombies are a way of creating a disaster that's fun to be in the midst of, as opposed to a hurricane or earthquake where there is not much you can do other than flee, and because a zombie apocalypse could mean that there is no where to run away to.

That's about all there is to it, in my opinion. The only thing I have to add is that in recent years the zed-word seems to be gaining a sort of "gimmick" appeal.

Sylocat said...

@Zeno:

I'm not sure how much justification the one-man-army phenomenon needs, given that it's incredibly easy to mock up a one-man-army scenario against any sort of enemies: Just make the main character a highly trained superagent instead of a normal dude, and rely on the audience's suspension of disbelief.

The audience will be happy to suspend disbelief if you allow them to imagine themselves as a super-badass agent with cool gadgets and krav-maga-or-whatever moves, preferably in powered armor. Lots of games revolve around this trope. Not to mention that, even against enemies as slow and stupid as zombies, games usually make the protagonist a superagent anyway, thus necessitating the making of giant mutant boss fights that are even LESS scientifically plausible than the zombies themselves (if such a thing is possible).

This, incidentally, was one of the things I loved about Crysis 2: it made the protagonist a broken, mortally wounded shell of a soldier, whose regenerative nanotech suit was also the only thing keeping him alive. It made it so much more interesting than when the guy is already a badass before getting put in the suit, and it allowed the game's sci-fi scenario to really bring up some questions about human nature. I especially loved how it was handled in the novelization (it helps that Peter Watts is one of my favorite writers).

Student 0172648 said...

@ Jannie:
Oh god, the old "Zelda is just as violent" argument. It's all about
realism here. If you think there is no difference between the violence in that and Manhunt (a game I know well enough to use as an example), than go out at two different very public locations, say this to two non-gaming strangers and the reactions should be the same:

Zelda "Yesterday I had a lot shooting my silver arrows into the heart of a pig-beast to save a princess"
Manhunt "Yesterday I had a lot of fun sneaking behind someone and choking them to death with a plastic bag to win my freedom"

Notice the second one seem more real, while even people not familiar with gamers will know that the first one is a fantasy (maybe they'll think you were playing D&D, reading a book or just playing pretend. Maybe they'll just think you're weird, but not dangerous). Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't enjoy or that it is wrong to enjoy Manhunt, but the amount of realism is what concerns people; the fact the difference between it happening on a screen and in real life is, in fact, a single step. Does this mean that game do make people violent? NO! Bob proved this on a very early episode. But does that mean that some people's complaints aren't warranted? Well... they kinda are, but it's due to ignorance more than anything. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, we should be educating these people and speaking out AGAINST people who claim Doom made them kill their classmates. And finally, will violent games be attractive to violent people? Well... yes, and there is very little we can do about that, because everyone likes violence (hey, like I said, I got Manhunt). But again, as gamers, it should be our job to show the general public and speak out and say "video games did not cause this", "these people do not represent us", "we do not wish to be associated with a psychopath", etc...

@Zeno:
Again, ZOMBIES AREN'T WEAKER THAN HUMANS! If they were, would they be a threat? Goombas aren't weaker than Mario: he can get killed by one with a single touch. Its just that he is smarter and knows how to get rid of them without resorting to strength. However, because he isn't immediately "stronger" than them, they are a threat (minor, but yes they are). Same goes for zombies. See my previous post on why they are stronger than humans (short version: SCIENCE!).

Smashmatt202 said...

Extra Credits already did the subject of zombies... so what can you possibly hope to add? ...Well, you're personal thoughts on the matter, I guess... But I don't know, do we REALLY want to hear about what you think of zombies, of all things? :/

When is it EVER a good time, Mr. Overthinker? Really, whenever Ivan brings up a good point, how come you ALWAYS shut him up, like you, the guy called the OVERTHINKER, are encouraging him NOT to think too deeply about the situation. I GUESS this is a panicy situation what with zombies and all... I mean, if this was real and if there was any actual TENSION involved, which it isn't, because it's so obviously phony here, then maybe I guess it would be justified, but still.

Gibdo, BTW, is my favorite The Legend of Zelda enemy... ReDeads are also a regular undead Zelda enemy, as are Stalfos, animated skeletons... But we're talking specifically about zombies here, and they're of a kind, I suppose...

But Bob brings up a point that I don't think Extra Credits covered... Or maybe they did, I need to re-watch it... Why are zombies included in games that don't seem to have anything to do with zombies?

Personally, I think zombies are so common because we can kill them without any moral reprocussions (so we don't have to constantly refer back to Middle Eastern folks and avoid racism controversy), AND they have a lot of blood inside them.

While I get where Bob is coming from at first, I knew from the moment I saw this video and it's subject matter that he's going to give the same argument about why we like seeing Zombies get killed as he did in his Zombieland review in Escape to the Movies...

Yeah, just like I thought. :/

Although, to be fair, he is a whole lot NICER about it compared to the Zombieland video.

I also like the argument about making the enemy less human for our entertainment, and using the Indians of old Westerns as an example... Nowadays, I just cringe at the thought of those kinds of Westerns. The Indiana Jones argument was much better, because really, nobody likes Nazis.

I like how the Necrothinker's movements don't match what he's saying at all. It's almost as if he recorded himself moving first, then recorded the dialogue later. But that could NEVER be the case, right? :D

Wait, the Necrothinker hates Angry Birds? Why? What's there to hate about it? Just because you can play it on your iPhone? Get freaking real, will you? And what, he hates the Wii, too? You know, I THOUGHT he'd be a little nicer on Nintendo and casual games at the very least, but really, he's no thinker at all, he's just... well, a guy suffering from culture shock, unfortunately.

You know what, just let fucking Activision die, what the worse that can happen? I mean, yeah, people will die, and/or get unemployed, but ina storyline like THIS? I doubt THAT sort of thing is going to be brought up.

Sabre said...

I recognized most of the sprites in this. In the first shot, the one to the right of the altered beast zombie, what's that from?

As has already been said many times, and I say this as a big horror fan, I think you are Over Thinker-ing this. Me and a friend of mine are huge horror game fans and I don't recall ever playing a zombie game going "Ha! Take that guy that took the last seat on the bus!" or anything of that nature.

Zombies work for many reasons both from a designer and player perspective, the ones you bring up are pretty low on that list.

Nick said...

"You're on a website called "the Game Overthinker" and you're surprised to see people overthinking thing...

...what?"

LOL

I'm not gonna read all of this, but I'd like to say something about Jannie's first couple of posts. The things that you say are good about Call of Duty are not the same things that Bob says are bad. Yes, characters are good, plot is good, and graphics are good. What you'll hear Bob complaining about is the TYPE of graphics (monochrome brown/grey), the gun worship, and the rudeness in online multiplayer. Just sayin'.

Besides, if graphics, plot, and characters were all people cared about, it would't be Call of Duty that everybody rips off, it would be Final Fantasy. :P


In other news: Woah, back up, the OVERSWORD??? XD

Nick said...

I also take deep offense at the trashing of James Portnow's beard. XP

Gus Demaggio said...

Yet another great episode Overthinker.

In addition to the reasons that you gave, I think why zombies are so adaptable and loved by video games is that they have a basic enough concept that can be adapted and changed to fit a story. We have stumbling zombies from the Romero movies, there's running "infected" zombies, there are zombies that are caused by science, zombies created by magic, zombies created by other types of monsters (like vampires), and many other different subgenres that make up zombie iconogrophy. Hell, if you think about it Dry Bones from the Mario games are pretty much just zombie koopas.

Also, it is easier to just change character textures for games like Call of Duty or Red Dead Redemption rather than creating an entirely new texture model. Giant bees would work just as well, but that would require an entirely new character model, while zombies (as you said) are just regular guys in bloody make up.

Can't wait for the next episode. And here's hoping that the Necrothinker is able to resurect enemies you've previously defeated, like the Antithinker or Pyrothinker, though that might be bit of a stretch given his powers seemed to be linked to video games.

Your fan,
Connor.

Ozzer said...

You *really* need to start adding two things to all your videos:

1) A list of all soundtracks used in them. I can only recognize about half of the oldschool tunes you're using in these, and not always the more awesome half either. It'd be cool if you could give me a name to punch into YouTube to listen to the whole thing. Especially I'm thinking of the soundtrack for the Necrothinker's first transformation an episode or two ago.

2) Names of all the games used in clips. A couple of times now I've seen a clip of a game that looked really interesting and which I'd like to further investigate, but "pirate game that looks pretty cool" doesn't narrow things down much. I was able to track down Lollipop Chainsaw, but only because "video game where cheerleader kills zombies with a chainsaw" is very distinct in concept, as opposed to some of the games clips on your show which are a familiar concept that look really well executed, and are thus practically impossible to pin down.

Francis said...

I feel that killing masses of zombies as a proxy for killing masses of people applies only to a handful of those games. In Dead Rising its pretty obvious. It approaches the whole zombie genre with distressing glee. But in games like Resident Evil, Dead Space...? Fighting in those games is made a little unpleasant. The zombies/humans themselves often become horribly deformed, dehumanized. Theres some generous helpings of body horror in there. The idea that what you killed used to be human is meant to be horrifying, not cathartic or pleasant or fun. You often even get to see one such human "turn", lose its humanity. Theres many scenes in Resident Evil games where you are reminded that these monsters were human. Like a message written by someone slowly losing his mind, starting well written and ending with confused words about being itchy and hungry. Losing your mind is a very disturbing concept! In Dead Space 2 its probably one of the most visually disturbing bits of the game and it happens like 5 minutes into it! A very eerie sequence of someone turning into one of those monsters a few feet away from you, who you are helpless to help and completely at the mercy of. In this case the theming around this was particularly strong: it happens in an insane asylum, the transformation standing like a weird, striking image of someone turning insane and warped in both body and mind.