Category Archives: zombie apocalypse

Videogame of The Walking Dead

Okay, zombies are hot right now, and The Walking Dead, whether you’re talking the comics or the TV series, is really really hot. So you knew sooner it later there’d be a videogame. This one is probably not the first, but this demo for the PS3 is the first one I’ve had access to.

It starts with Episode One : A New Day. You play Lee, a limping survivor of the zombie apocalypse as you explore the new world left behind for The Walking Dead. As you move forward, you meet and save a little girl named Clementine. You move through the scenario, guided, if you wish, by hints on how to play the game. This was good for me, the controller handicapped non-gamer, and in this way, I was pretty good at this. See what just a little help and a nudge in the right direction can do?

Some research on the magical Internet shows your player character is actually Lee Everett, apparently a college professor and a, believe it or not, convicted murderer. His backstory unfolds through the course of the game. Lee comes home from work and finds his wife in bed with another man. Lee kills him, is tried for murder, and on his way to prison, an accident frees him in the midst of the zombie apocalypse happening around him.

Brought to life by voice actor David Fennoy, Lee Everett has been celebrated in the world of videogames as a very human character, both sympathetic in the game story and still reflective of the player’s actions and motivations. A unique character in the gaming arena. This was the first time I experienced gameplay like this in a game I could actually play, I was impressed.

Gameplay is set solidly in the Walking Dead universe, and continues that way episodically, literally. There are a total of five episodes and three characters from the comics/TV series appear. It’s what is known as a point and click game (see, I am learning something), but focuses more on character development than the usual puzzle solving tactics. The writer in me loves this aspect.

I really dig this game, both for its innovation and for its handholding instruction. Maybe if Sleeping Dogs or Saints Row were more new gamer friendly, I’d like them this much too.

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Infamously Better

One of the reasons I have never been much of a gamer, and the PS3 with its aversion to multiple player games is a big culprit, because I dislike the ‘turn wait.’ That is to say, I don’t like waiting for my turn at a game when the other player is infinitely better at it than me. This reared its ugly head back in the Nintendo days when The Bride and I used to play Super Mario Bros., and her turn would last for hours. It was also the reason I preferred Dr. Mario as we could both play that at the same time.

The night I talked about a while ago when Jeff and Crystal came over and played the demos, they just didn’t whup my butt at Zombie Apocalypse and Nucleus, they also tried their hands at Watchmen and my favorite, Infamous. I was not disappointed by the long long looong turn wait.

In Watchmen, I had gotten past the wonderful Dave Gibbons motion comic animated art from the original Watchmen comics that form the introduction, but had barely moved anywhere in the prison break. I did find it annoying that whoever you picked to play – Rorschach or Nite Owl II – the other would just stand there doing nothing. Not realistic. Jeff and Crystal ripped through the prison break like they were the real characters.

Then they moved on to the Infamous demo. I had never gotten past zapping folks and cars with electrical powers, and riding to the first station atop the train. For those who don’t know, that’s really not far. Fun, but not far. That keen mutant skill, of both Jeff, and Crystal, derived from years of gaming experience, kicked in and soon they were sailing far ahead in the game and fighting bad guys that I had never even glimpsed in my hours (yes, hours) of playing this game.

The Bride who had watched me play the same two or three scenes from Infamous multiple times, was treated to almost an entirely new movie never seen before. The turn wait was starting to get to her as well, so then they moved on to Little BIG Planet 2. Three people can play that at once.

This turn wait was much longer. I went to bed. When I got up in the morning, I swore I was gonna practice. Years of experience can’t be that hard…

The Zombie Apocalypse and Why I Hate Jeff

One of the games hat I downloaded a demo of from the PlayStation Store was called Zombie Apocalypse. It seemed a natural based on my desire to “just shoot stuff.” I mean, come on, what’s better that shooting zombies? Shooting zombies is the basis for so many fun things – the Night of the Living Dead movies, the House of the Dead games, and even government disaster contingency plans. When I saw this one available as a demo, I went to downloadin’.

The characters provided as your controller-controlled protagonist are intriguing and would do better in a role-playing game than as videogame fodder, but still it adds some charm and flair to the game. Essentially, like most zombie scenarios, you’re left alive and zombies are attacking – you fight back. Every time I tried this one, the zombies descended on me quickly and I died almost immediately. Even if I had a gun, or a chainsaw, it didn’t matter – I became one of the walking dead rather quickly.

I had moved on to other games in the meantime. Jeff and Crystal came over one night and we gravitated to the game console and were looking for something to play. I wanted to show them the demos I had downloaded. First Crystal one-upped me in Nucleus, showing me new games and new levels I was unaware of. See what I mean about needing a PS3 mentor when you’re a beginner?

Next, I showed them Zombie Apocalypse, mostly because the title jumped out at them as much as it did me initially. Crystal first reaction to the player characters was pretty much the same as mine, she thought they would be great for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop rpg. She lasted a bit longer than my sixteen second record. She even managed to tear up some of the zombies with her chainsaw.

Then Jeff took the controller. He immediately began to mow through the zombies. After a bout a minute or two, Crystal and I began to object. Jeff shrugged it off as years of experience and having watched the two of us play first. As he continued to trash the dead and even perform new abilities like save innocents and offer bait to the zombies, I got angrier. I had been watching people play videogames on this thing for months and I’m still not any better at it.

I’m convinced Jeff is a mutant, and his mutant power is an unnatural ability to play videogames. I’m going to report him to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, or better yet, tell the Sentinels where to find him… after he tells me all his gaming secrets…