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Dead Island
February 16, 2011 2:20 PM   Subscribe

"First-person zombie-slasher/action-RPG" Dead Island gets a trailer.
posted by Avenger50 (89 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was just great! I think it is funny how I love to complain about cutscenes, but I look forward to each one in most games.

I refuse to get excited about this game until someone tells me how much RPG grinding I will face, though.
posted by poe at 2:29 PM on February 16, 2011


Welp. Nothing gets the ol'heart strings going like dead kids, that's for sure.
posted by Fraxas at 2:31 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


ZombPro: Like it never even happened

Zombpro, insurance for Zombie uprisings.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:31 PM on February 16, 2011


I like zombie games, and I like zombie movies, but I don't like zombie movies that tell me they're zombie games.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 2:34 PM on February 16, 2011


Zombies are just the hipster alternative to vampires.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:36 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, looks cool! The tropical island + zombies combination could lead to some interesting scenarios, and I hope there's a decent amount of RPG depth to make this something more than just another Resident Evil clone.

Also, the trailer kind of reminded me of a music video by World's End Girlfriend.
posted by naju at 2:37 PM on February 16, 2011


That trailer makes me want a zombie game that pays attention to the difficult emotions that affect characters caught in apocalypse-type settings. I don't think Dead Island will be that game; it's a difficult concept to translate into a gameplay mechanic and the kind of high-quality voicework and animation work that could convey just how alone, scared, and saddened these characters feel doesn't often find its way into games put out by small publishers.

Rereading my comment, I can only see "apocalypse typesetting".
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the concept of limiting weapons, especially guns and ammunition, to be very sparse. I also like the concept of degrading the weapons; I mean, your ax won't last forever. I hope the weapon degradation isn't linear (you can use this bat 50 times then it will break).

I don't play most zombie games, because they're really just first-person shooters in a zombie setting. I mean, if I can get the same thing playing Bad Company, it's really not much of a zombie game. Zombies are usually just a lame plot device, or something to bring in the zombie-loving crowd. (Just look at the Red Dead Redemption zombie mod, proving this point.)

So, I have high hopes for this game to bring us closer to the training module the government is secretly developing to prepare us for the impending zombie apocalypse.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:46 PM on February 16, 2011


Damn son.
posted by chunking express at 2:52 PM on February 16, 2011


I want to go to there.
posted by Beardman at 2:52 PM on February 16, 2011


American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation...

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into mineral. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby. Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
posted by empath at 2:58 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dead State is a similar concept.
posted by empath at 3:00 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was an incredible trailer for a game that I now I never, ever want to play.

The little girl just crossed that imaginary line for me where I never want to revisit this. It's like asking me to watch Schindler's List a second time. No. I got it the first time. It's burned into my memory and I never want to see it again.

Wow, I just compared a game trailer to Schindler's List. That's high praise.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:03 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's a damn brilliant trailer.

But where'd Jason go?

Jason? Jason??? JASON!!??
posted by yeti at 3:09 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, but I'm just sick to death of zombie-related stuff.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 3:12 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sorry, but I'm just sick to death...

SHOOT HIM!
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:15 PM on February 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


As a trailer, that was surprisingly good. Simple and effective.
posted by the painkiller at 3:16 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved Dead Rising, but I got bored of Dead Rising 2 (I think some of the design choices like the timers and limited save points really wore out their welcome).

But I can still get into any GTA game--I really love the freedom of the sandbox.

Does anyone who keeps closer tabs on games know which of these two camps Dead Island / Dead State fall into? FPS on rails like Dead Rising, or free form like GTA?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:18 PM on February 16, 2011


It's worth rewatching. It's pretty detailed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:18 PM on February 16, 2011


Legitimate question: Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters? I mean, I know Japan invented the lion's share of monsters, but it seems to me like we're just cycling through a box of proven monsters instead of creating new ones.

And I really don't want to think that the Human Centipede will be the last monster humanity made.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:19 PM on February 16, 2011


What's a monster? We're still discovering new species of animal all the time, you can call them monsters if you like.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2011


C'mon guys time to do werewolves or mummies. Not every game has to be about zombies.

Here's an idea. You get sucked into "movie world" and chapters are styled after films. Zombies, mummies, blobs, ETs, Ghandis. Each chapter has a distinct look and feel, and you aren't stuck with a 10 hour zombie game.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:27 PM on February 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


It could be like ROM CHECK FAIL, but instead be based on a crappy projectionist who keeps mixing up the reels.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2011


Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters?

Humanity creates the best monsters when it promotes from within.
posted by The White Hat at 3:32 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Legitimate question: Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters?

Slender man
posted by empath at 3:35 PM on February 16, 2011


We're not running out of ideas for monsters. We're just currently, as a society, afraid of certain things.

In the 50s, we were afraid of atomic bombs. We got giant insects.

These days, we're afraid of other people and the perceived fragility of societal norms. We've all seen the disaster footage, so we think (correctly or incorrectly) that it's incredibly easy for everything to straight to hell. That there's a thin layer between a vacation wonderland and having to kill the guy in the adjoining hotel room.

Thus, zombies.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:36 PM on February 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


So, to escape zombies, we need to overthrow the status quo?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:37 PM on February 16, 2011


I mean, I know Japan invented the lion's share of monsters, but it seems to me like we're just cycling through a box of proven monsters instead of creating new ones.

The existing store isn't played out, though - I'm pretty sure the great yokai movie is still waiting to be made.

"The Great Yokai War", "My Neighbor Totoro", "GeGeGe no Kitaro", "Yokai Ningen Bem" are all worthwhile, but none of them feel like the yokai movie to me.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:38 PM on February 16, 2011


Legitimate question: Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters?

Are you unfamiliar with furries? Because that will never stop terrifying.
posted by quin at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2011


Dead Rising, Dead Space, Dead Island... I can't keep 'em all straight anymore. Maybe it's time to do the game where the player is the zombie and you must infect the living with your plague.
posted by Servo5678 at 3:45 PM on February 16, 2011


So, to escape zombies, we need to overthrow the status quo?

Rather, I would say we have to improve the status quo so we're no longer concerned that, if Hurricane Katrina hits again, we'll have to shoot people while gathering whatever food remains in the 7-Eleven.

Then we can be free to be afraid of something else.

Like furries.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:46 PM on February 16, 2011


So, to escape zombies, we need to overthrow the status quo?

No, we need giant atomic insects to fight the zombie horde.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:47 PM on February 16, 2011


I think all the new monsters are copyrighted.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:47 PM on February 16, 2011


Maybe it's time to do the game where the player is the zombie and you must infect the living with your plague.

So, Farmville?
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:50 PM on February 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


I kind of like the Castlevania approach: Everyone likes a different monster so why not take 'em all on?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:53 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zombies aren't scary, and are really just an excuse for sociopathic nerds to fantasize about ways of killing massive numbers of people, IMO.
posted by empath at 3:54 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Your favorite horror genre sucks.
posted by knave at 3:55 PM on February 16, 2011


Zombies aren't scary, and are really just an excuse for sociopathic nerds to fantasize about ways of killing massive numbers of people, IMO.

It's not the zombies that are supposed to scare you so much. They're pitiful, unthinking beasts that only know one thing: the hunger for brains.

No, it's the thought that you could become one of those poor stumbling creatures at any moment, just by letting your guard down. Fall asleep at the wrong time, forget to check your peripheral, trust that your friends or relatives will let you know they've been bitten or fail to shoot one of them when they do and you could become a zombie.

That's what's scary.
posted by misha at 4:02 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whoa. Unbecoming amounts of manly tears were shed.

Seriously though, zombie infestation aside, that looks like a really nice place to stay! I imagine room rates must be insanely low right now!
posted by Krazor at 4:11 PM on February 16, 2011


After watching it three times, I think they really failed on the part where the mother witnesses the girl reanimate. That was a key moment and they just didn't get it right. Other than that, it's a great ad for a game. Reminds me a bit of the effect the Gears of War/Mad World trailer had. The sense of hopelessness is pretty strong. I like that.
posted by Elmore at 4:13 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a few things at work here. In addition to the usual social alienation of not knowing who your neighbors are (or, in this vacation scenario, the alienation of being in a foreign (alien!) place surrounded by people who may not even speak your language), there's the traditional "safe space" of a vacation resort that's being violated.
posted by Eideteker at 4:14 PM on February 16, 2011


So, you're saying if a rotting corpse--possibly that of someone you knew--became animated and attacked you and your family, you wouldn't be scared? That's somehow not scary? I think possibly the issue is that the people telling the stories aren't doing a good enough job, cuz holy fuck zombies are scary.
posted by Hoopo at 4:16 PM on February 16, 2011


That trailer worked. I really love the concept.
posted by defenestration at 4:20 PM on February 16, 2011


Grimp0teuthis: "it's a difficult concept to translate into a gameplay mechanic and the kind of high-quality voicework and animation work that could convey just how alone, scared, and saddened these characters feel doesn't often find its way into games put out by small publishers."

To be fair, even the big budget productions end up reducing such emotions to a series of played out cliches and tropes lacking nuance you suggest. I do agree, however, that it'd be really cool if these elements were explored more fully as a game mechanic in such games (I'm imagining something like the sanity mechanic Lovecraft games), rather than just focusing on the variety of ways and the tactics used in re-killing the walking dead (as fun as that is, sometimes).

Servo5678: "Maybe it's time to do the game where the player is the zombie and you must infect the living with your plague"

I present to you Stubbs the Zombie
posted by kilo hertz at 4:22 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


lacking the nuance
posted by kilo hertz at 4:22 PM on February 16, 2011


empath: "Zombies aren't scary, and are really just an excuse for sociopathic nerds to fantasize about ways of killing massive numbers of people, IMO"

I don't disagree that this is the case for a subset of zombie fans, but I think game(/movie/media) design (catering to said subset, perhaps) factors into this as well. How much room is there in a game like Dead Rising for anything beyond finding new and amusing ways to kill endless numbers zombies (that look like crowds of people in public settings [such as malls and casinos]). Considering the success of other post-apocalyptic settings (think Fallout) in drawing out and examining how human nature (as it manifests in different people with different characteristics) reacts to such extreme changes, I think there's definitely room for a more nuanced game in such settings.
posted by kilo hertz at 4:33 PM on February 16, 2011


> Zombies aren't scary, and are really just an excuse for sociopathic nerds to fantasize about ways of killing massive numbers of people, IMO.

Dang, that's a bold statement right there. I love zombie stuff (and I was into them before they were cool, dammit! I'm hip!), and I disagree with you! There are two reasons zombies are scary:

1) It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel hungry for brains. Zombies in popular fiction are rarely a small, isolated incident. They are everywhere. There are, say, 5.8 BILLION of them, and they are the end of modern civilization. The remaining humans are pushed out of the city and forced to leave behind everything they've known. Most of the stuff we've learned and built and established is gone. Apocalypses, to me, are terrifying and fascinating.

2) On the micro scale, the people you love frequently become the people who want to eat you. Well, in the initial stages of a zombie apocalypse there is the panic of knowing that your loved ones are out there and possibly not very well protected. Are they okay? Can I rescue them? I feel a little scared and anxious just writing about it. And after the apocalypse has set in -- your Mom (or wife, or whatever) just turned into the enemy. She feels no remorse, and suddenly she doesn't care about you at all. Are you going to kill her? Do you think she still has a soul? Hmm?

So no, I wouldn't say it's about having the liberty of thinking about killing massive numbers of people. It's about society. It's about those tenuous bonds that hold us together as humans in a family or in a society as a whole, and them being destroyed forever by one little bite.
posted by jess at 4:52 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem is that a lot of games don't simulate the threat of zombies very well. For example, while Left 4 Dead 2 may be one of the best zombie games, there's never any fear that your friends will turn against you. The zombies are mainly scary because they outnumber you and some of them have superpowers.

Add in humorous dialog, that while quite good, tends to make light of the situation, and you get a case of zombies being more campy than scary.

I think Valve did it intentionally, but most people really aren't going to feel fear so much as frustration when things get bad after the first play-through or two.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old'n'Busted: "Sorry, but I'm just sick to death of zombie-related stuff"

As a huge zombie buff, I remember that it wasn't too long ago that zombie-related stuff was few and far between. I'm enjoying it while it lasts. In the meantime, don't worry. Pop culture will move onto something else, eventually.

I, on the other hand, will not.

I am getting tired of the fucking vampires, though. Enough, already.
posted by brundlefly at 4:58 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


There should probably be some study to link what your favorite monster is to your personality or something. I have always loved and will always love zombies for the unrelenting terror that comes from the scale of it all. As someone upthread said, it's not one zombie that is terrifying. It's that they are always out there. Never stopping, never tiring.

This is why I will always love slow zombies and games that aren't about making the 'coolest' moments. I enjoy the Resident Evil games until they throw really absurd zombies at me and the bosses and what not. Dead Rising was fun at times, but as far as zombies go not that awesome. Left 4 Dead was a lot of fun, but that game is all about action and adrenaline and not invoking the survival/horror aspect.

I'll be right there with you brundlefly when the zombies return to the background. Long live the zed's!
posted by Phantomx at 5:07 PM on February 16, 2011


For those of you who like survival/horror games that do things right (having to conserve and scrounge for ammo/health, tense exploration, and a story that is discovered more than it is narrated), I would recommend checking out the Dead Space games, if you haven't yet. As much as I like the Bioshock games, I feel like Dead Space is possibly a more appropriate spiritual successor to the System Shock games in a number of ways.
posted by kilo hertz at 5:19 PM on February 16, 2011


Oh yes Dead Space is great! I can't believe the second is even better than the first. It's got great survival/horror aspects to it. While it isn't a zombie game for me what with the crazy necromorphs it is a great survival/horror game.
posted by Phantomx at 5:25 PM on February 16, 2011


Zombies aren't scary, and are really just an excuse for sociopathic nerds to fantasize about ways of killing massive numbers of people, IMO.

Well, sort of.

I always thought the popularity of zombies, particularly in geek/youth subculture recently, was due to a rising sense of alienation. Culture seems to be becoming increasingly fractured, with big subcultures-- Cory Doctorow would call them "tribes"-- on the rise in these groups. Your geeky, plugged in youths are increasingly finding themselves at home online and in small groups of other geeks in real life, but the rest of the world seems dreadfully stupid.

This is the alienation that leads to stuff from following Ron Paul to becoming a regular on /r9k/ to calling people "sheeple" to joining fandom... etc. But I think it also makes the zombie threat seem more real, more obvious, because the rest of the world seems like they're zombies already-- listening to the music the radio says is good, listening to the news and believing every word, etc. I felt this sense of alienation when I was in middle and high school, where the understanding I got from my peers-- both on and offline-- was so dramatically different from what I got in mainstream society that the rest of the world seemed subhuman at best.

So that sense turns them into metaphorical zombies already; the zombie apocalypse just makes the whole fantasy more real.

When we look back at the current popularity of zombies, we're going to see that the monster that zombie represents is the fear of the Other in our midst, the idea that instead of dehumanizing someone or something that is far away-- as with the use of aliens to represent the Soviets in the heyday of alien movies-- we're afraid now of our neighbors, our coworkers, of how alone we feel in crowds of strangers.
posted by NoraReed at 5:25 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like aliens, because they combine our hopes and fears about the future. Either they'll come over and make the world a better place as we develop a mutual understanding, or they'll destroy or exploit us.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:26 PM on February 16, 2011


Oh, and they also reek of colonialism.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:28 PM on February 16, 2011


Game designers should only make games that I like.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2011


Vampires stopped being scary when they began using hair products.

Zombies are scary because they will never stop looking for ways to catch you and eat you, and thus your days really are numbered.
posted by bwg at 5:58 PM on February 16, 2011


Vampires stopped being scary when they began using hair products.

So, around 1974?

Modern vampires aren't really supposed to be scary, most of the time-- we're using them as heroes, striving against their dark heritage, in the same way we use tieflings, drow and sometimes werewolves. They have more in common with the "noble savage" trope than with zombies.

That's okay, most of the time! It's not like the existence of Twilight erases Dracula.

I sort of think the problem with the vampires we're seeing now is like the trouble meat eaters have with veggieburgers-- it's the fact that they have "burger" in the name. If you introduce a veggieburger as "a delicious sandwich" instead of "a vegetarian burger" it tastes fine, but when you go in with expectations that are clouded by the burger thing then you end up not liking it. Same deal with, say, Angel-- you're going to think he's a dreadful wuss if you go in expecting him to be like Dracula, but if you think of him as a completely different kind of vampire and go in without those expectations you might like him.
posted by NoraReed at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did someone mention Dead Space 2. Not going to play it, I'm following LtMkilla's Dead Space 2 LP
posted by Ad hominem at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2011


Dead Space 2 is the most terrifying game I've ever played. I play it in the dark, with good headphones, and it's an unbelievably scary and brutal experience.
posted by naju at 6:32 PM on February 16, 2011


Did someone mention Dead Space 2. Not going to play it, I'm following LtMkilla's Dead Space 2 LP yt

I've been enjoying TheRadBrad's lp.

Even though the characters are kind of (very) generic I'm really enjoying watching the story line and everything. It's just a very well made game.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2011


"Your geeky, plugged in youths are increasingly finding themselves at home online and in small groups of other geeks in real life, but the rest of the world seems dreadfully stupid."

THIS

That said, I get scared easily. I watched the Dawn of the Dead remake at 2am in an empty apartment and it wasn't scary. It felt like an action movie.

I'm also annoyed at Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. I haven't played it yet, but after 15 hours of amazing, non-supernatural Western storytelling i just wanted MORE. I wanted to be Landon Ricketts or John Wayne or Rooster Cogburn or something, not a guy fighting zombies.

I'll still buy it and Dead Rising though.

Zombies work in videogames because there are alot of them, and we've got systems that can render masses of enemies. I'd like to fight interesting vampires, though. Hunt them down, talk to them, stake them. Baldur's Gate and Castlevania both did that well
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:51 PM on February 16, 2011


I like most settings that involve... uh. I don't know how to describe it exactly. Ad-hoc organizations and unconventional uses of buildings and materials are involved, but that doesn't do it justice. The words aren't coming to me right now, but it's the reason I like zombie stuff, and the reason I like (some) post-apocalyptic stuff. But it's also the reason I like those room escape games (the "looking at the things around me for uses they weren't designed for" aspect), and the reason I enjoyed that book "The Scar" by China Mieville. Actually, that's a lie, I like his books in general, but Armada is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
I like zombie stuff, in part, because it's fun to see how a mall turns into a fortress. Dead Rising 2 (haven't played the first one) captured that very well, I think. Maybe went a little too far with some of the weapons you could make (I seem to remember a rocket launching teddy bear or something), but the "It's fun" rule trumps the "Be realistic" rule.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:06 PM on February 16, 2011


Legitimate question: Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters?

Slender man

So...yes?
posted by ymgve at 7:25 PM on February 16, 2011


I want someone to design a SimCity-like zombie game where you manipulate society through public and private institutions according to a Foucaultian concept of biopower. Progress is measured by the spontaneous zombification of the simulated inhabitants, where the zombies in question just surrender all volition and shuffle mindlessly through their daily routine with varying degrees of contentment. A win condition is achieved when everyone is a zombie and your society has crystallized into a flawless and unchanging automaton whose deathless ticking will sound into eternity.
posted by Ritchie at 7:26 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Never thought I'd see a heartbreaking game trailer. Jesus.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:28 PM on February 16, 2011


The genre reached it's peak with Stubbs the Zombie. You're a zombie in a fedora wrecking a fake 'city of the future' by using your internal organs and limbs as weapons.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Video games never used to disturb me so.
posted by rodmandirect at 7:48 PM on February 16, 2011


That trailer worked. I really love the concept.
posted by defenestration at 7:20 PM on February 16


Eponysterical.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


It really is worth watching more than once. Check out the ending, it's very clever: The father is grasping for the girl, which in the characters' narrative it is a moment of hope, but since it is played in reverse what we see is the father losing his daughter -- which itself is a reflection of the beginning of the trailer. This moment is also the beginning of the end, so to speak, so the narrative of the trailer has come full circle. A very nice piece of filmmaking.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:03 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Splendid. I hope the game is as good (and being released on PC). It's a great time to be a gamer... things today are I think at the stage where we were with TV like a decade ago with the advent of the Sopranos and all the rest since -- the beginning of something quite amazing, with all kinds of smart, mature stuff being made, designed to appeal less to caffeinated 12-year-olds and more to, you know, us.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zombie version of that Coldplay "The Scientist" video.
posted by frenetic at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2011


Baldur's Gate and Castlevania both did that well

With risk of turning this into another LET'S DISCUSS BIOWARE thread: Fuck the vampires in Baldur's Gate. Fuck their level-draining bullshit. And they were not all that interesting either. They just hung around and were a reason to get Drizzt to join the party.

A win condition is achieved when everyone is a zombie and your society has crystallized into a flawless and unchanging automaton whose deathless ticking will sound into eternity.

So I take it the alliance failed with Miranda and Pax, then. But it was an attempt!
posted by NoraReed at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2011


reversed.
posted by empath at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In chronological order
posted by empath at 9:20 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters?

I think what I like about zombies is that, in a sense, they aren't monsters.

They have monstrous characteristics, especially in large numbers, and they look gross and scary, but they're usually not sentient beings in the same way that an animal, a human, or even a single-celled organism is -- they're dead. And monsters are usually "others." But zombies are "us" -- or at least not quite "other" in the monster sense.
posted by treepour at 9:24 PM on February 16, 2011


Also, the video was made by a 20 year old kid.

I think he has a future in filmmaking.
posted by empath at 9:27 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, thanks for the reverse version link, empath. I actually found the reversed version more compelling and emotionally-grabbing. But maybe that's because I'd already seen the original.

To make this a little more art-house, perhaps the two versions could be put together into one -- either one follows the other, or they're both presented simultaneously split-screen.
posted by treepour at 10:55 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm sure the game will sell well but wow, that trailer perfectly summed up the exact reason I usually hate zombie-fighting games: the attempt by the creators to ruin the feeling of reward for the sake of drama. The idea of a video game to me has always been a challenge with a positive reward. Even if there are sad plot points and twists, etc. there's still that core concept that started with rescuing the princess. I don't find a lot of redemption in zombie games where they get really emphatic about how these are poor innocent people and hey, guess what, now it's time to brutally destroy all of them or we'll infuse you with suggestions of your own avatar being torn to shreds.

RDR's zombie add on was fun for me because it was purposefully ridiculous. There were winks to all the old characters and you rode unicorns and killed sasquatches, for crying out loud. Left 4 Dead worked in that so much emphasis was put on the playable party and their relationships to one another. When I think about the circumstances of why these people are all zombies, and especially when they cut a three minute trailer about the horrific creation of a zombie I don't have any inspiration whatsoever to put an axe in their forehead. I just feel sad. "Oh, hey, this poor family, they went on vacation, they seem so happy, and then massive, unspeakable horror befell them. Now blow that one's head off with a shotgun." It's passionate storytelling, but a lost video game sale. I think I'd rather go pet a kitten now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:57 AM on February 17, 2011


Why do games have to be fun to play?

Was Schindler's List fun to watch?
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great movie. Didn't make me want to buy the game, but I see I'm in the minority here.
posted by alvarete at 7:00 AM on February 17, 2011


*obvious spoiler comments below*

That trailer really got to me, messed me up in just the ways I suspect it intendedness to.

1. You can't show a dead girl to promote a video game!
2. Oh no, that was a horrible way for her to die, falling out the window (tearing up just slightly thinking of my daughter). You probably still shouldn't show children dying like that in a game, though.
3. Oh wait, she was a zombie, that explains a lot. Probably don't need to get too overly worked up about that.
4. Wait, she's somebies daughter that they were trying to save from turning into a zombie!
5. What a brave father, attempting to save her from turning into a zombie. I'd like to think I would be that brave.

*cue the tears again*

Is it a coincidence that the average gamer these days is in his/her 30's and probably has a child or two right about that age? Probably not. Not only is the art form done well, but it catered emotionally to its primary demographic. Well done.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:04 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do games have to be fun to play?
Was Schindler's List fun to watch?


Games are art. Art does not need to be fun, true. It need only be uplifting or illuminating or beautiful to behold.

However, for every art work, experiencing it a second time changes the meaningfulness of it. If you had a a 24/7 loop real of Schindler's List, the horror would start to get lost on you. The girl in the red coat is going to die every single time.

I got it the first time. Seeing it again would rob me of that feeling. It was very powerful. I'd like to not see it again and keep that powerful feeling.

This is also why I don't want to ever see Saving Private Ryan again. Got it, thanks.

Maybe some other day, when I'm stronger.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:21 AM on February 17, 2011


Cool Papa Bell: "Games are art. Art does not need to be fun, true. It need only be uplifting or illuminating or beautiful to behold.

However, for every art work, experiencing it a second time changes the meaningfulness of it. If you had a a 24/7 loop real of Schindler's List, the horror would start to get lost on you. The girl in the red coat is going to die every single time.
"

I somewhat disagree. Art only needs to invoke thoughts or emotions, whichever thoughts or emotions they may be, to be effective. Though artwork that is beautiful, uplifting, or illuminating might garner more of an audience, art shouldn't necessarily be directed by what brings in the biggest group of eyeballs (although games are also very much a commercial endeavor, which makes the matter somewhat more complicated). Sometimes the confusing, depressing, and ugly are more thought-provoking, and or result in a more visceral reaction. Consider something like The External World, or more historically, Beauchamp's Fountain, for example. Not the prettiest pieces of art, but they're both great starting points for an interesting conversation.

Also, in the case of your example, if you know the girl in the red coat is going to die every time, before it happens, you begin to view the actions, interactions, and reactions that lead up to it slightly differently. It begins to be a piece about futility, and hope in its spite.
Maybe, anyway. Would you believe I still haven't seen Schindler's List? I know, for shame.

As for repetition, though I understand what you mean with regards to your examples, I feel like the pieces of art (specifically in the form of literature and film) that I enjoy most deeply are the ones I keep revisiting and rediscovering. In a way, I feel the multi-faceted or layered nature of some of these works are important, because the variety of reactions invoked on subsequent readings provides insight into the shifting nature of one's own perspective, and this is in turn is important because it gives one a chance to consider the perspectives of others.
posted by kilo hertz at 10:16 AM on February 17, 2011


Is it a coincidence that the average gamer these days is in his/her 30's and probably has a child or two right about that age? Probably not.

Here's a pretty interesting article about the 'daddening' of video games from February last year.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:00 AM on February 18, 2011


Games are art.

This trailer rewards repeat viewings at that level. The attention to detail and the coherence of the bidirectional narratives really elevates it beyond a simple game trailer.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:40 AM on February 18, 2011


I've been thinking about ways to sub-divide monster archetypes based on this comment:

Legitimate question: Is humanity running out of ideas for monsters? I mean, I know Japan invented the lion's share of monsters, but it seems to me like we're just cycling through a box of proven monsters instead of creating new ones.

and I've come up with:

A) Terrifying animals: probably the oldest type of monster, Jaws is a good example.

B) Things that used to be human: Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts etc. This also covers people who've contracted some sort of blight or disease and lost their humanity through that.

C) Manmade monstrosities: everything from giant ants to (more recently) HAL and Skynet.

D) Things from outside our world: notably aliens, as well as trans-dimensional entities like demons (or, as goofy as I think he is, Slenderman). I don't know if religion based monsters, like the demon that possesses Selma Blair count in this, or if they deserve their own category.

E) Psychopathic humans: People like Hannibal Lecter who choose to be monsters, as well as supernatural slashers like Jason or Freddy.

I guess maybe you could also add sentient and evil locations to that? A haunted house has ghosts and demons and stuff inside of it, but the real villain is Hill House or the Overlook.

Another common trope is to have the evil be a part of the main character, for example a split personality. That might also fall under the "psychopathic human" category.
posted by codacorolla at 12:54 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I think we cycle through monsters is because game designers have to deal with the biases of their potential audience.

For example, you are much more likely to get parents to buy their kids shooters if the enemies are either non-human (aliens, giant reptiles, etc.) or humans we can ethically rationalize killing. Which of course brings up the morality of killing at all. You would think this would put a monkey wrench in the works, but there's one group that lets us get past that pesky 'morality of killing' issue: Nazis.

Nazis are universally accepted in the gaming world as "humans we can put in a game as enemies without getting slammed in the press." Nobody likes a Nazi. People are *fine* with their kids killing Nazis.

There's also the 'not quite human' enemies. Zombies, being undead, are not really considered human any longer, so they work, too.

You can also get away with other wartime shooters if the enemies represent generic troops from other countries. We all know that the Allies really did fight the Axis, so that's okay with most parents, too.

Just don't slide into modern-day incursions involving the threat of terrorism--because then people have the option as playing as the terrorist. So you get the patriotic right-wing parents angry with the game designers, and you probably also earn a more mature rating for your game, and that backfires on you as well.

Also, you don't want to deal with racial discord. It might seem noble to take up the plight of oppressed minorities, but if you allow your players to play either side, of course chaos is going to ensue. You don't want a bunch of rednecks ganging up on minorities in a game (that's, sadly, too close to real life).

But aliens, Nazis and zombies? Easy, no-hassle enemies. Bring back Adolf Hitler* with some alien technology, and you have a winning game dynamic.

*Hey, I godwined the thread! First time!
posted by misha at 1:42 PM on February 18, 2011


The real reason developers keeping making zombie games is that computer AI is awful, so making the enemies brainless also makes them more believable.
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


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