Monday, March 23, 2009

Zombie Games + Zombie Movies + Zombie Survival = Zombie Obsession

I have a zombie obsession. From zombie movies to zombie games, right down to zombie survival plans in the event of apocalypse, it has an involvement in nearly all of my recreational activities.

The first mention of zombies is believed to be in the Epic of Gilgamesh which is part of Sumerian legend.

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!

The term "zombie" has become sort of a convoluted term. The myriad of different depictions has made it very difficult to pin down exactly what is considered a zombie. In current times, zombies have been depicted as mindless masses as well as ravenous and intelligent entities. Their speed varies from a skulking lumber to completing 100 meter dashes at speeds. The level of induced zombie panic really varies depending on the zombie movie or game as well as the timeframe. Some characteristics, however remain relatively constant.

The basic definition of a zombie goes something like this: "A person who behaves like human automaton (usually after being resurrected and stripped of their soul)"

Originating in Haitian folklore, this definition was used to describe people who had been exposed to certain toxins which would slow respiratory functions, heart functions, and brain activity to deathlike levels. The individual would then be presumed dead, buried, and awake some time later only to be classified as living dead and spreading zombie panic like butter on your morning toast.

The definition swayed and became part of the zombie movie culture with George A. Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" which depicted the zombie archetype as a lumbering, flesh-eating, re-animated corpse.

Zombie became more of a vague term when such zombie movies such as 28 days later and zombie survival games such as Left 4 Dead depicted the zombie as an agile creature infected rather than re-animated. The new school "zombie" retained none of its human characteristics, behaved as a zombie,was an effective harbinger of zombie panic, but was never technically dead. Survival horror games such as Resident Evil 5 took it a step further and gave the zombies the ability to use weapons and operate machinery.

It doesn't matter to me; any creature appearing to be devoid of higher thought processes and whose primary directive is the general distribution of zombie panic, and disembowelment of humans is a zombie; the creature that feeds my gripping obsession.

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