With the release of The Last of Us, it’s pretty clear that the zombie obsession is still going strong. Zombies seem to be everywhere – in movies (World War Z anyone?), shows (The Walking Dead), in books, and definitely in video games. While zombies are nowhere near new, it’s telling how obsessed our culture is with it. Not that I’m complaining – zombie apocalypse stories are my one true weakness. But it’s curious.
Just to show you how many games feature zombies, or at least a version of them, here’s a short little list: The Last of Us, The Walking Dead Game, Left for Dead, Dead Island, Lollipop Chainsaw, Minecraft, and countless of others. Zombies are everywhere, and we are absolutely obsessed with them. So what’s the deal? It’s been going on so long that I wonder if it’s even a fad, but it’s pretty clear that the video game world, and the rest of the world in general, is obsessed with the undead.
The existent of zombies in stories usually signal the apocalypse, where the world is drastically changed and all sense of normalcy disappear. With the apocalypse comes the end of our world as we know it – no more shopping trips, no more school/work, and definitely no more depending on anyone else. Ever notice how quickly human relationships change in the zombie apocalypse? Just look at The Last of Us – in the very beginning, right after the outbreak begins, Joel drives past a family begging for help, determined to protect his daughter first. It becomes a dog-eat-dog world where everyone fights for survival, often at the expense of others. People have to make choices that aren’t clearly right or wrong (The Walking Dead game is a great example of this!).
The apocalypse in myth is all about change – everything we know as true quickly fades away and we are left with a new world that doesn’t have any clear rules. And with change comes chaos, but ultimately the apocalypse in myth is about creating a fresh start.
What This Says About Our Culture
I would say that our world is a state of change and chaos right now – everyday you hear about something horrible on the news. So of course this is being reflected through our pop culture – through zombies. I think that the presence of zombies reflects our fear. I’m not exactly sure of what, but zombies for some reason symbolize something that we feel in our culture. Perhaps we feel as if some sort of diaster is on its way. I really don’t know. What do you guys think?