Over the last ten years, we have seen a steady rise in the popularity of survival horror games especially ones starring the undead. The notion of walking corpses really sprung to life with the release of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead which was written by John A. Russo and directed by George Romero. It was here that the popular zombies we crave today were introduced and reanimated into the world of the living.
When it comes down to it–nothing is lovable about undead, rotting corpses. They are pale, stinky creatures that have one thing in mind which is eating us ALIVE! It is often rationalized that zombies are indeed popular, because they are a way of coping with our own mortality. The fact that we too will one day die and the anguish that comes with wondering what will come next. Is there an afterlife or is it just the end? Most people resort to religion or other means in order to cope with these feelings of uneasiness. But there are the select few who deal with these emotions through video games, movies and television shows. Believing that maybe when we die, we too could become one of the animated corpses that we see before us. That would be better than well…just being dead. Wouldn’t it?!
You have to stop and take notice when you see zombie movies such as Resident Evil, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead grossing millions of dollars every year and realize that there is some reason behind this. The term zombie is of African origin and was initially the name of a snake god. The term later evolved in voodoo culture and took on the meaning of “animated corpse.” Just as the meaning for zombie has changed–so has its inception into today’s culture.
We ourselves have started to crave zombies just as much as they do us. Even when zombie video games are terrible, we still find an overwhelming need to play or have them. An example of this is the recent release of Dead Island: Riptide. The game has received blow after blow in the weeks leading up to its release. These early reviews often told fans just how terrible the game was and to not even bother picking it up. But did zombie lovers heed this warning? Of course not! Dead Island: Riptide sold over 5 million copies in the week leading up to its official release despite all of the negative reviews it got. This was also seen with Resident Evil 6. Capcom even reported the game as a failure in their Q3 financial report for 2013 stating that the company was up 44% in profit from the previous year despite Resident Evil 6’s failure to meet planned sales. Even still, Resident Evil 6 still managed to gross over 4.8 million despite its shortcomings.
In the end, zombies have grown in popularity to the extent that we now CRAVE them more than they do us. Trends have shown that if it has zombies in it–we the consumer want it. Our society has become addicts for everything zombie related. In the end, the only monster standing is the one we created, US!