Meet Frank West, photojournalist and star of the first Dead Rising game. Not exactly the poster child for common sense, Frank heard there might be some bad s#!t going down in a small town mall and decided to pop on in and investigate. West taught us a valuable lesson, don’t sneak into a quarantine zone! If Frank’s desperate fight for survival against hordes of undead soccer moms teaches us anything, it’s that curiosity kills. Stay away from areas known to be populated by zombies or zombie contagion. Real common sense stuff, Frank.
Mr. West also teaches us that anything can be used as a weapon whether it be a child’s toy or a traffic cone. This is useful because there would probably be a pretty major run on guns if zombies came to town. True, a super soaker water gun isn’t very effective for killing zombies but when in doubt do what Frank does and DIY better weapons. Lighter fluid and matches can turn that super soaker into a flamethrower. Affix a steak knife to the end with some duct tape and voila, the flamethrower has a bayonet.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that an alien artifact was found while mining off planet. After discovering this artifact and bringing it aboard, the crew goes insane and starts murdering the crap out of each other leaving you with a surplus of corpses. It would be logical to assume that some sort of foreign contagion was to blame. So, what should one do with a gross of possibly infected dead bodies? The simple answer, burn them! The zombie catastrophe aboard the USG Ishimura teaches us a very important lesson. Don’t just dispose of your corpses, cremate them, especially if it is assumed that a contagion infected them and potentially caused their deaths. If stressed about last rites and the funeral arrangements specified in a will, ask yourself, would grandma look better in an urn on the mantle or chewing on your exposed intestines?
Left 4 Dead
Zombies have the advantage of numbers, strength and durability. Survival depends on getting someplace safe and shoring up defenses which, on a planet populated by a zombie majority, is gonna be tough. The crew of survivors in Left 4 Dead at some point decide that their best bet is to link up with the military who will put them on a boat to an island. The island plan has some definite possibilities. A small island would sustain crops and wildlife and more importantly, be difficult for zombies to attack. Zombies don’t tend to be coordinated so they wouldn’t be able to swim to an island. They’re not very intelligent either so piloting the SS Brainskank to an island would be out too. Ultimately the lesson is clear. Wanna survive the zombie apocalypse? Grab a boat, some maps and some fuel and sail the seven seas in search of a new island home.
The Resident Evil franchise is a vast one with a lot to say about how to survive a zombpocalypse. The most important lesson that we can learn from Resident Evil (though the Resident Evil protagonists seldom do) is to make sure the bad guy is dead. Resist the urge to celebrate after killing a particularly resilient zombie or if you are unfortunate, a mutated, long-tongued, half it’s brain exposed super-zombie. Instead, take the time to confirm the kill. If Jill Valentine had taken the time to confirm Nemesis was actually dead in Resident Evil 3, she wouldn’t have had to fight it again and again. An extra bullet or field decapitation can’t hurt when it comes to the undead. Being thorough is key to surviving the zombie hordes.
The Last of Us
The most recent entry in the zombie gaming genre, The Last of Us infuses a healthy dose of reality into its gameplay and storyline. Letters and mementos found during Joel and Ellie’s journey paint a grim picture of life post zombie contagion. Survivors in The Last of Us face competition for scarce resources, a brutal military regime and a surplus of spore infected zombies. Despite these obstacles, Joel manages not only to protect Ellie but to teach her survival skills along the way. Joel and Ellie’s story showcases important do’s and don’ts in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the first shown during an early cutscene. If there are zombies in the neighborhood, don’t stand near a window. Zombies are dead, not blind and windows offer little resistance to an undead posse looking for a tasty snack.
Do work together. Every man for himself is antiquated and stupid. Joel and Ellie survive despite tremendous odds because they work together and trust each other. Zombies are prolific killers and well equipped to wipe out the last of humanity without help from crazies who perceive other survivors as walking convenience stores. Band together, learn from each other and learn how to grow crops. Also a great idea, make peace with mortality. Don’t be the guy or gal that gets bit and doesn’t tell their survival buddies. Not only does that leave loved ones with the horrific choice between killing you or letting you eat or infect them, it’s just plain selfish. It sucks that someone may have to Old Yeller your zombified remains but them’s the breaks and it’s better than swelling the zombie ranks.
The common thread of these games is that their survivors are common ordinary people that are forced to do extraordinary things to survive. The lessons they teach us may not guarantee our survival but they do better prepare us. Feel free to share any other zombie survival tips that you’ve learned from video games in the comments section below.