The city is deserted. Desolate cars stand in the middle of the streets. It takes little imagination to picture the drivers fleeing their homes in sheer panic, careless as to whether their ruthless car ride would cause them to hit unforeseen obstacles. Now, the white smoke that once rose from the cars’ engines is long-gone. The anxiety from the moment of outbreak has translated into a peaceful quiet. The warm breeze blowing through the sizzling hot alleys fails to cover the underlying shivers one gets from looking at the desolate scene. The creaking of the crickets cannot distract from the blustering silence of the urban graveyard. Like a still life, the world is resting. Only the rags of former riches and the once neatly planted greenery of the urban jungle are swaying in the wind. Although the imagery evokes a poetic beauty, the tense panic and fearful anticipation cannot be shaken off. Welcome to the world of an apocalypse in zombie games.
It is not simple to describe the antagonist of zombie games. Despite being one of the rather new mythological creatures in the world of fantasy and science-fiction, the lore of the walking dead has strictly defined what constitutes a zombie, while still allowing for a multitude of individual interpretations, as you will always see in zombies games online. If you ask a group of random people how they would describe the living dead, you are likely to get an eclectic assortment of answers:
It is frankly impossible to pinpoint what defines this mythological creature of free zombie games. The living dead lore has gone through a constant development since it first appeared in literature and movies. Nowadays, the depiction of the undead usually contains one, if not several of the iconic characteristics mentioned above, depending on its respective creator’s vision. What most portrayals of the walking dead in zombie games have in common is that they are a plague threatening humankind’s uncontested rule over the world. It usually results in a massive catastrophe that precedes a post-apocalyptic world.
You might think that zombie games focus on that commonly shared theme. However, developers have come up with a multifold of ways to cover them in basically any kind of genre. Survival horror? You got it. Take Resident Evil for example. Open World Game? Sure, check out H1Z1. Tower defense, maybe? Yup, take a closer look at Plants vs. Zombies 2. While the more realistically inclined vision of the living dead is scary seeing as they are undead monsters whose only purpose is to infect living creatures, the more quirky interpretation can be quite comical. Some zombie games feature slow monsters who are pretty much decaying with every step they take or dead creatures who are not just physically slow, but also mentally retarded. Their slurred moans and unintelligible sounds can give them quite the humorous touch if portrayed accordingly. The great potential for the walking dead has resulted in such a variety of titles that it seems impossible to pinpoint the typical zombie game.