Best of 2014 – Gaming Vs Reality: Zombies – Part 2

First Published: May 16, 2014
Voted For By: Lorna
Reason(s) For Vote:
“Not only absorbing and funny, this great article deftly highlights the absurdity of games and how much disbelief we have to suspend in order to glean entertainment from many titles.” – Lorna

Some time ago, I decided to do some research into zombies and thought about would happen in a real life zombie apocalypse compared to what happens in games. To do this I’ve been playing the crap out anything with the shambling undead, reading as many books about them as I can get a hold of, and watching The Walking Dead. If you missed the first part you can find it here.

When we last left our gaming survivor, he had been sent on numerous and far-flung fetch quests to find easily identifiable (glowing) food packages, fought in a massive battle after instantly being sent to the front line by the army – because you are obviously a cop, ex-military type, or Arnold Schwarzenegger – and just generally teleported around the place without anyone questioning or even noticing.

In contrast, the real-life survivor has basically stayed hidden like a little girl instead, keeping out of the way of the zombies and only popping up when it is absolutely necessary. He went nowhere near the giant battle, and has survived by scavenging food from nearby deserted houses instead of going miles out of his way.

So with that quick recap done, it’s time to continue with the scenarios…

Scenario 3
The cities are now very dangerous; huge groups of zombies – too many for your small group to take on – roam the streets. Not a moment goes by where you can’t hear one of them nearby. The other small groups in the area are getting picked off one by one as the undead become too numerous to fight off on the now-daily scavenging hunts. You and your group decide that it’s time to get out of town while you still can and head towards the countryside. One member of the group knows about a place out in the sticks that he hopes will be a good place to hide out. If the group want to get out alive they will first need to find some transport or they won’t be going anywhere. A couple of the younger members of the group volunteer themselves as scouts and are sent out to try and find vehicles and, if possible, bring them back without attracting too much attention. You are one of these scouts…

Gonnae geez a lane o yer brain fur a wee minute, big man?

Real Life:
After much deliberation and arguing about who should go, you eventually throw your name into the proverbial ring along with some other guy who is perhaps a little younger than you. In preparation for the excursion you both pack light with just a hammer and a small axe between you. You don’t want to be weighed down too much if you run into trouble, but at the same time you need to be able to protect yourself.

At first light you both head out together, staying out of sight for as much as possible and working together to take down the odd lone zombie. There are lots of cars everywhere but trying to find one that has keys, fuel in the tank, and a battery that isn’t dead is pretty tricky. After four or five hours you eventually manage to find a van, which seems to be in working order. It’s very noisy though, and immediately attracts a number of zombies to your location. After dealing with them you decide that it would be too risky to drive the van back to the house so, instead, you both secure the van and head back with the aim of bringing the group to your new vehicle.

When you make it back, tensions are running high. There was an attack by a small group of zombies; nobody was hurt, but it was a close call and a couple of the group are up in each other’s faces arguing about who was to blame. The main antagonist is one of the older members of the group; he lost a few members of his family to the hordes and looks out for the rest like a hawk. He’s handy to have around in a fight, but he is a major pain in the arse and is often rubbing other members of the group up the wrong way. Eventually – and with much persuasion – everyone calms down without the need for any violence, although you came close to punching him a few times. The group starts to pack their things ready for the run to the van.

Later that night, you and the group leave the place that has kept you safe all these months and make the dangerous miles-long trip to find the van. The journey takes a few hours, thanks to regularly having to hide from passing zombies and fighting off the odd attack. You make it in the end without losing anybody; it’s a tight squeeze but everyone manages to get in and you noisily drive off towards the outskirts of the city.

The journey, which would have normally taken about an hour before the apocalypse, took four hours. Abandoned cars littered the roads causing obstructions that needed to be moved before any further progress could be made. Every time the van was required to stop, a few zombies would be drawn to the sounds of the roadblocks being cleared, causing a minor skirmish, and you end up losing a few of your group who were caught unaware.

Eventually you all make it to your destination, a small holiday home out in the middle of nowhere. Just in time too, as the van is just about to run out of fuel. It seems abandoned and after sweeping the house and the surrounding area you all head inside, secure the building and immediately all crash out to sleep.

Lohan's really let herself go

You wake up after another of one of your black-outs. Inexplicably, weeks have passed since you were sent out for the food packages. You think you must have banged your head at some point, but seeing as after every black out someone gets you back up to speed on everything you’ve missed, you decide to just leave it. This time you are told that the city is no longer safe and that it’s time to leave the house and head out to what is hopefully a safer countryside.

Before anyone can go anywhere you need to get vehicles; one of the other guys volunteers himself and you to go out to scout the area and find a vehicle so the group can leave. You don’t get much say in the matter, but agree to go nevertheless. Even though this is a quick scouting mission you decide to take all your weapons and ammo with you, including the conveniently silenced sniper rifle you just found lying around. You and your fellow scout head out into the open and he tells you that you’ll need to work together in order to make it through the streets.

Unfortunately, your team mate’s idea of working together seems to be different than yours, and you are left to do pretty much everything while he wanders around aimlessly, getting into fights and in constant need of rescuing. At one point you need to open a gate in order to sneak past a large group of zombies; you find yourself in an elevated position overlooking the whole area including the undead below. Your fellow scout asks you to cover him while he makes a run for the gate and, despite going out of ear-shot and not seeming to have any radios, the other scout is in constant communication with you, telling you what enemies to take down and when so he can sneak by unnoticed. Fortunately for you, the foes he wants you to kill all have large arrows above their heads pointing down at them, and in the end he manages to get through the gate safely enough. It’s your turn to make the trip, only this time you have no sniper support and are expected to fight through the flesh-munchers on your own. The pattern repeats a few times, with the other scout not bothering to help at any point.

All this time you are travelling past plenty of vehicles that might be suitable for your needs, but your scout friend just ignores them and you can’t interact with them either due to the fact that they are not glowing in any way. Eventually, the scout tells you that you are nearing your destination – you don’t know how he knows, and you don’t ask or even seem to care. You go around a corner to find an armoured military APC, oh, and a tank.

Naturally, both vehicles are in full working order and full of fuel, so you are told to take the tank and asked to lead the way. Cue rampaging zombie horde complete with some hard-as-nails mutants who all seem intent on destroying the APC and – to a lesser extent – your tank. For someone who has no obvious knowledge of driving tanks, you pick up the controls quite quickly, and for reasons unknown to yourself, you are able to aim, fire and reload the main gun all while driving at the same time. Who needs a crew?!

After the little battle you head back to the house to pick up your fellow survivors, and you are required to protect the APC from attacking zombies while the others slowly load up their supplies and get themselves in. During this time waves after wave of the shamblers are not only attacking you but trying to kill the others too. After the final wave you set off again, smashing through road blocks and fighting off seemingly innumerable hordes that pop up now and again, but luckily your tank seems to have a near-infinite supply of bullets and shells. Eventually you make it you your destination in the countryside; a top secret but abandoned, underground military base conveniently located just outside the city. It’s at this point that you black out again.

The Finale
You’ve been living in the countryside for some time now. Life is hard, food is often short, and you are still occasionally attacked by wandering groups of zombies, but you are alive and grateful for it. The group has managed to secure some land in the area and you are beginning to grow your own food, with a slim glimmer of hope that you could become self sufficient within the next few years. Things are looking up.

Not all is well however; there is constant bickering within the group with many little alliances being formed, broken and then reformed again. Arguments break out on a daily basis over stupid things, such as whose turn it is to do something and who should get the most food – you’ve even had to break up fights on occasion. To make matters worse, you’ve heard on your wind-up radio that there has been a mass exodus of zombies from the cities for unknown reasons – possibly a lack of food. One of these large herds has been spotted by your raiding parties and seems to be coming your way. The group is split on what to do; some want to leave immediately and risk life on the road again in the hope of finding somewhere safe out of the path of the herds. Others think they should stay and fight – they’ve fought hard for what they have now and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find anywhere else as safe….

Real Life:
You wake up to the sound of a particularly savage argument and come outside just in time to see one of your friends pinned down and being threatened with a knife. You rush over to help but you are grabbed by someone else and told not to interfere. You give the guy grabbing you a swift knee to the bollocks and he goes down like a sack of shit before you turn to help your friend, who has by now attained more than a few defensive cuts. The guy with the knife sees you coming and prepares to turn on you, but you are quicker and manage to grapple him to the ground. In the scuffle that follows, the knife gets turned and the attacker is seriously wounded.

Once you realise what has happened you get up as quickly as you can, but it seems that the damage has already been done and the wounded guy is dragged off to receive what little treatment can be given to him. Luckily your friend isn’t too badly hurt, but you know that you are in trouble. It seems that your decision as to whether or not to stay has been made for you – and you’re asked to leave. You and your friend are given a choice. Either leave now with no food, supplies or weapons and never come back again, or go find some medical supplies in order to save the life of the man you hurt. You’d be given some weapons and gear to help you but your friend would have to stay and be held as an insurance policy to ensure you come back. If you manage to get the job done you’ll be free to either stay and try to make amends, or leave with some supplies.

After some deliberation, you decide to go and seek medical supplies for the wounded man. You’re given a weapon, along with roughly three days worth of supplies and are sent on your way. The first day is relatively uneventful; you come across the odd zombie but it’s nothing you can’t sneak around, so you generally stay out of trouble whilst making your way towards a nearby town. When you get to the town the next day you notice that the hordes are getting larger and more difficult to avoid – you’re forced to dispatch a couple of them as you retreat back to a safe location. It’s then that you see it – the largest zombie herd that you have ever seen. The reports of the undead leaving the cities are true. It looks like the zombies have resorted to eating the wildlife and, either by accident or some sort of intelligence, the hordes seem to be herding small animals into each other to be eaten.

There is no way you are going to survive if run into that, and so there is only one choice left – head back to the group. It’s dark when you get there and the group seems to be busy fighting off a pack of about thirty or so zombies. You think about running to help before realising that you have an opportunity here; while everyone else is busy you find another way into the compound and sneak to where your friend is being held. You find him barely conscious – he’s been beaten again while you were away. Maybe they didn’t expect you to make it back? Whatever the reasons, you’ve got no time to ask questions now. You untie your friend and sneak back out of the compound before grabbing as many supplies and spare weapons you can carry. You can just make out the super herd coming over the horizon as it starts to get dark. They’ll probably reach the camp before morning. The decision has been made – in this world you need to look after number one. You don’t even look back…


You wake up to the sound of fighting outside; at least, that’s what you think that looping angry mob sound is. You try to ignore it at first, but you are eventually compelled to go outside by some unseen force, and when you get there it looks like one of your friends is having a fight with someone else. You think about going over to help him but decide to loot some containers for supplies first – for some reason people leave useful things in weird places like rubbish bins and toilet bowls. You don’t question it; free stuff!

Once everything in sight has been looted, you walk casually over to the fight and suddenly you have a strange out-of-body experience as you see yourself from another person’s view trying to break up the fight. You look fabulous, and notice finer details about yourself that you have never seen before. Despite the extra definition, you don’t seem to be in control of your actions, so all you can do is watch and wait to see what happens. Bizarrely, some text pops up in one corner of your vision asking you to press start to skip the cut-scene, although you have no idea what it means. Perhaps somebody spiked your drink? Almost as suddenly as it began you are back seeing things from your own point of view, and you’re surprised to see another man groaning on the floor in pain.

It turns out that you hurt him during your out of body experience. You try to explain that you didn’t mean to it and you think someone has slipped you some drugs, but no one seems to care. The leader of the group tells you that you need to go and find help for the injured man or get thrown out of the group. This makes you angry and you decide to try and punch him, yet for some reason he doesn’t even seem to feel the blows; instead he just stands there – he doesn’t even flinch.

After emptying an entire clip into him to no avail you decide that you’d better do what he says as he is obviously a fucking Terminator or something, and you are now suddenly terrified of him. You set off immediately with a small arsenal of guns and ammunition, all shoved into your Mary Poppins-esque pockets yet, despite what must be a great deal of weight in your trousers, you set off at a run into the distance.

You’ve been running for a good half an hour now at almost full pelt. You don’t even seem to be getting tired; maybe you’re really fit? You look down to check to see if you’ve got a six pack but for some reason you can’t see your stomach no matter where you look. Thinking about it, you can’t even see your legs or feet – it’s just your gun and your hands. You decide that it’s probably not worth worrying about and remember how awesome you looked during your out of body experience – so you’ve probably got a six pack!

Along the way you fight ever-increasing groups of zombies, with most of them conveniently dropping useful shit such as ammunition and food, although you don’t find any more guns. Maybe you have them all now? Eventually the groups of undead begin to get harder to deal with as more and more of them are appearing from nowhere. It’s at this point that you get a call on your invisible radio; the base is under attack so you need to get back there to help seeing as you are the only cop, ex-military type person, or Arnold Schwarzenegger in the group. You dutifully head back to where you began but annoyingly the shamblers you thought you’d cleared out on the way there have reappeared again. Maybe they’re different ones who have eaten or the corpses? They do look the same though. You don’t care; you just want to shoot them.

When you make it back to the base, Terminator guy tells you that there is a giant herd of zombies heading straight for your location. Apparently there is something herding the zombies towards you, but before you have time to ask too many questions the base comes under attack. Terminator guy tells you to defend the walls; while you do so quite easily at first, the undead seem to be attacking in waves, with each more populated than the previous, as if organised or something.

After one of the waves you are told that the zombies damaged the walls during that last attack. Oh noes! You’re told to use the machine gun turret and defend the others as they go and fix the crumbling walls, and while you’re confused as to where the gun turret came from and why you’re only just using it now, there isn’t time to think, so you hop onto the turret and get ready to begin. Hold on, unlimited ammo? Sweet! The hordes attack again. The others that you are defending don’t seem to have any building materials with them, just hammers; you’re not sure how hitting a broken wall with a hammer somehow fixes it but their plan seems to be working so you don’t worry too much about it. The only problem now is that more and more areas of the wall are starting to break and the repair men seem too stupid to avoid the enemies and just run directly in a straight line towards the broken walls, relying on you to protect them. Idiots. Fortunately, they don’t seem to get to hurt when hit by the odd stray bullet, which is especially lucky as your aim is terrible.

This continues for a few more waves, with each one getting more frantic that the last. Just when you think you can’t take any more the zombies all disappear. You think you’ve won and you’re about to cheer when you hear a blood curdling scream in the distance. What the fuck was that? Out of nowhere a giant fuck-off mutant appears; you’ve never seen anything like this gruesome specimen. You try to start blasting away at it but the machine gun has stopped working for no apparent reason, so you’ll have to take the monster out without it.

Somehow, you still have all your guns and still aren’t at all tired. At first the giant zombie seems slow and it is easy to dance around him shooting at vulnerable spots all over his body – you can tell where to shoot because of the glowy bits. After the last one is taken out the giant collapses to the ground, prompting you to try to leave the area and maybe go try and do a wee again as you’ve still not had one since this whole thing began when without warning the creature gets back up, inconceivably changing form and becoming faster and stronger despite being visibly hurt. In his renewed attempts to kill you, he’s employing new tactics and even summoning regular members of the undead to help take you down, but those glowy bits are still there and still no match for your weaponry. Infuriatingly, you have to do this a third time before the fucking thing dies; there were a few instances where you were sure that you had been hit and were in a lot of pain but before you knew it you were back in the fight as if nothing had happened. Strange.

After the giant zombie has died for good – you can tell because they disappear after a while – everyone comes out to celebrate and you receive loads of little meaningless presents as if to mark your success. Upon closer inspection you notice that they have numbers on them, and when all added together they equal a thousand. Strange. All of a sudden everything starts to go dark and everyone stops what they are doing – nobody speaks or moves. Just before it all goes black for good you can faintly hear a voice….

“Thank fuck that one is maxed, what a fucking lemon…..”

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