Those hours spent culling the undead will not have been in vain.
Like most gamers I secretly yearn for a zombie apocalypse. Why? Well, I want to see if all that stuff I learned from games will stand me in good stead. The release of Dead Rising 3 on the Xbox One in November proves that our living-impaired friends aren’t going anywhere for the time being.
Since zombies are clearly set to remain a persistent threat, I’ve compiled a list of techniques that games from this generation have taught me about survival. Let the head bashing commence.
Have friends (as per Dead Island, Left 4 Dead, COD Zombies)
By friends I don’t mean digital ones (you heard me, serial Facebook requester). No, I mean proper humans. Meat sacks. Organ donors. Kevin. Whatever you choose to call your compadres, you’ll need them. Ideally this is to get you out of trouble when ten brain-hungry ex-people are bearing down on your cowering figure. Most importantly, friends provide distractions and, in extreme circumstances, sacrifice themselves to save your life. This may give you enough time to escape, shrink into a puddle of your own urine and regret your choices. Friends. Get some.
Be American/in America (as per Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare)
Apart from the fact that the guy who saves the world is usually American, the primary reason for this is weaponry. As a Londoner my chances of surviving a Zombie apocalypse are instantly less than that of an American citizen. Thanks to the nature of crime here, I’d have no trouble coming across knives or a baggie of skunk to fight the hordes, but that’s no substitute for good quality firearms. Gun stores, supermarkets and even people’s homes are all potential caches of death machines. God bless America and all its crazy survivalists.
Build a base (as per Minecraft, State of Decay, Dead Island: Riptide)
If there’s one thing zombies hate more than being zombies, it’s structures. To a shuffling, decaying corpse, the wall represents an insurmountable obstacle; what with all their bricks and verticality and such. Careful maintenance should be enforced once your base is up and running though, don’t leave the obese guy in charge of rations and make sure your lookout has two functional eyes. Often people in your base will ask you to perform menial tasks while out in the field, such as bringing them some medical kits. In the case of a real zombie onslaught, tell the lazy sods to go out and get the stuff themselves. Freeloaders.
Don’t trust anyone (as per Day Z, Dead Rising, The Last of Us)
Contrary to the last point, anyone you meet outside of your base should immediately be treated with mistrust and possibly violence. The absence of law and order means that psychos reign supreme, and may shoot you in order to teabag your corpse. Harsh, but that’s how the world works now. The best tactic when it comes to strangers may be to avoid them completely. Just remember what you learned at school, if someone you don’t know offers you sweets, run away and tell a parent. Good advice that doubly applies during zombie invasions. Stranger danger.
Go for the head (as seen in every zombie game ever made)
I’ll finish on an obvious one here: aim for the head. We all know that the only sure way to stop a zombie is to severely damage its brain, however the undead seem to have monopolised the headshot. I dare say that most creatures will die if shot in the head, but who am I to argue with nature. Shotguns are particularly effective on zombies, as their slow speed makes them an easy target for these slow firing weapons. In the absence of firearms, household items like cricket bats and even frying pans can do the job; you just won’t look as cool while doing it. If in doubt, improvise.
There you have it, five steps that will help you survive a zombie apocalypse as dictated by games. I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t work for me, apart from my poor physical fitness, lack of weapons training and inability to lead or manage groups. Ah well, bring on the next generation of zombie slaying then, at least my thumbs are up to the task.
Now try this: A short guide to zombie types
Featured image: Zack_Replica via Flickr
Inset: Naughty Dog, Capcom Vancouver