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Zombie Use in Video Game Downloadable Content (DLC)

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In the past few decades, zombies have become increasingly widespread subject material for video games. To date there are well over 100 video games that feature zombies, the majority of which are first-person shooters (FPS)[1]. Although they often serve as the main antagonists in many popular video games, such as in the recent DayZ and The Last of Us, they have also begun to gain popularity as antagonist replacements in originally zombie free games via DLC (downloadable content), mods (modifications), expansion packs, and the like.

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Games with Zombie DLC Edit

Several popular examples of games which feature zombie DLC include Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Grand Theft Auto 4: Zombie Apocalypse, and Call of Duty: World at War: Nazi Zombies.

Zombie Spin-offs Edit

There are also previously zombie free games which have subsequently released zombie spin offs, such as Call of Duty: Zombies (based on the call of Duty: World at War zombie mod), and Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army.

Benefits Edit

The fascination with zombie antagonists works for game developers and programmers on a technical level, while also giving players a target they can eliminate with few misgivings. Games that feature human or intelligent antagonists often demand some degree of AI (artificial intelligence), which are difficult and time consuming to develop. Zombies offer a simple solution due to their inherently basic motivations and behavior. FPS games allow the player to eliminate targets which are human, animal, monster, alien, etc. Zombies, however, may be irreplaceable targets in the gaming world, as they are mostly human in appearance yet can be killed with little to no feelings of guilt as they are already considered dead or mindless infected[2].

The Post-Apocalyptic Lure Edit

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Since the growing awareness in both the ease of development and enjoyment supplied to the player, popularity is rising in the use of Zombie DLC or zombie spin off/adaptations. From a psychological frame of reference, it has been speculated that our fascination with zombies in popular media can be traced to the rise of survivor mentality after World War II associated with the potential of a nuclear global-scale apocalypse which would have suddenly forced any survivors into a harsh, post-apocalyptic environment[3]. This is no doubt most directly reflected in the Fallout series in which the player must travel the desolate wasteland of post-apocalyptic America, fighting mercenaries, mutants, monsters, and even feral ghouls (essentially zombies). The survivor mentality may also be associated with the threat of pandemic illness, such as the recent Ebola outbreak, which would pose a major threat depending on the rate of transmission in combination with frequent global travel between all parts of the world.

Demographics Edit

Although there has been an increase in the base of female players, video games have been typically developed with male players in mind, the majority of which are ages 18-49[4]: FPS games, such as the incredibly popular Call of Duty franchise, are dominated primarily by young men[5]. In a post-apocalyptic scenario, healthy, young men, who would be ideal candidates for survival, are certainly drawn to such content.

Closing Edit

The use of zombie related DLC is enjoyable to play for the target demographic and an easy way to increase revenue via separately purchased DLC and spin offs or expansions of previously released video games.

References Edit

  1. "List of Zombie Video Games." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
  2. Lambie, Ryan. "What's with All the Zombies in Videogames?" Den of Geek. N.p., 24 June 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
  3. Geiser, Kelsey. "Stanford Scholar Explains Why Zombie Fascination Is Very Much Alive." Stanford University. N.p., 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
  4. "How Much Do You Know About Video Games? Share." Video Game Industry Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
  5. Mason, Mike. "Demographic Breakdown of Mobile Gamers | Magmic." Magmic. N.p., 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

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