Friday, May 25, 2012

The Emotional Side of the Zombie Apocalypse

Most games, movies and shows about the Zombie Apocalypse concentrate a lot in all the physical struggle for survival. getting weapons, shelter, trying to keep yourself alive against the hordes of the undead. Very few try to deal with the second aspect of the Zombie Apocalypse. The emotional luggage that the end of the world carries with it. And that is a shame.

What would people really do in the case of zombie apocalypse? How they would treat one another. How they would deal with the fact that their loved ones could be part of the horde? Most games, shows and movies barely deal with it. Most just show rugged characters surviving, with the token character hiding that his relative/wife is turning into a zombie.

Most of the time there is no character development. The righteous people will always be righteous and the bad ones will be bad. And the batshit insane can be spotted just looking at him. There is no slowly descending into madness or seem how relationships get stranded and distorted because of all the emotional trauma involved.

You don't see the characters slowly letting go of their morals in order to survive. You don't see people who would risk their lives to safe the weak stopping doing it in order to survive. People in most of those shows are somewhat unchangeable, keeping their rules and codes with them even in the face of the end of civilization as we know it.

And no zombie children. Interesting...
That is why I think High School of the Dead one of the most interesting shows about zombies I ever seem. In first glance, it can be considered just a excuse to show lots of fan service while exploding zombie heads, but it show all the struggle of the survivors, not only the fighting against zombies, but how they deal with other survivors, who may be slowly descending in madness, how they deal with the fact that they may let people die instead of risking their lives to save them (shown in the manga).

You can see how the protagonists have to make hard decisions and deciding about which rules of the old world doesn't apply anymore. And how all of that affect themselves and how they relate with each other. If you don't let the fan service distract you from the story, you will see one of the best shows I ever saw.

That is why The Last of Us, made by Naughty Dog, is a game who got me excited, because it can be one of the few games where we may see how a zombie apocalypse affect people's mind. How the survivors will deal with it. Dead Island trailers at first promised something like that, but in the end delivered a very different experience. Luckily The Last of Us will deliver in its promise.

The Zombie Apocalypse can be a way more deep story with more daring consequences, including psychological, than most games, movies and shows make it be. It just need someone to look at it in the right way. And this doesn't seem too hard to do.

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