What video games teach us about the zombie apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse

It always pays to be well prepared. When even the U.S. government have a plan in place to tackle an attack by the walking dead, it’s frugal to have a strategy in mind if ever zombies do really rise from the graves to munch on our tasty flesh. Thankfully, we gamers stand uniquely prepared to take on the zombie apocalypse.

Thanks to years of survival horror and shoot-em-ups featuring everybody’s favourite walking corpses, we have been trained to perfection on how to survive in the event of a disaster. The walking dead better beware anybody who has ever picked up a controller. With that in mind, let’s take a journey through the history on gaming to reflect on the lessons we have learned on how to take on the shambling corpses. As an excuse for a gaming article, you could do worse.

Lesson One: Never trust anyone who wears sunglasses indoors (Resident Evil)

Albert Wesker

Good advice for life in general, really. Anybody who commits this fashion faux-pas is clearly plotting to have you and your friends systematically killed for research. What kind of research? Combat data.
Apparently, it isn’t enough to have a practically-bulletproof, highly-contagious biological weapon that could result in the apocalypse; you have to make doubly sure that it is well-equipped to fight. Albert Wesker in Resident Evil is so obviously a villain; between his smarmy tone of speech and his sense of fashion, it makes you wonder why S.T.A.R.S. didn’t do a check on his ‘research’ background before they hired him.

Lesson Two: Watch out for windows (Resident Evil)

Monsters can jump out at you at any time, especially when you’re walking down an eerily-quiet corridor. It might seem nice and peaceful, but your quiet moment to take a breather will quickly turn into ‘OH MY GOD ZOMBIE DOGS RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!’

Lesson Three: Look after your garden (Plants Vs Zombies)


Even if your pea plants don’t shoot at oncoming zombie hordes, it’s always useful to have a source of food and biomass in the zombie apocalypse. See, this is a serious lesson after all!
Also, in a pinch, corn can be weaponised into a ballistic missile. Good to know.

Lesson Four: Bring tissues (The Walking Dead)

Chances are, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you’re going to meet one or two survivors whose tragic stories will tug at your heartstrings. You may even shed a tear or two. Keep a Kleenex handy just for those sad moments.

Lesson Five: Don’t trust mystery meat (The Walking Dead)

Walking Dead Dinner

We should have learned this from hot-dogs and Tesco ready meals, to be honest. Chances are, if you don’t know where your meat comes from, you won’t like finding out the answer.

Lesson Six: O.J. has remarkable medical properties (Dead Rising)

Bandages? Aspirin? Adrenaline syringes? Forget all of that. All you need to survive the worst of wounds is a cool, fresh glass of orange juice. Even the most powerful and expensive medical equipment has nothing on this Vitamin-C-infused taste of goodness.

Lesson Seven: Zombies can’t hurt you if they’re wearing traffic cones (Dead Rising)

A bonus benefit from this strategy is that watching the ghouls shamble around with this odd choice of headgear is funny enough to break even the most intense feelings of terror and sadness.

Lesson Eight: Stay close to other people (Left 4 Dead)

Specials L4D

Fast zombies are bad enough, but Special Infected are a whole other kind of problem. If you run off on your own, expect to be grabbed by a long, prehensile tongue and dangled off of a building, pounced upon and shredded apart, vomited on, or even smashed to pieces by a huge, hulking lump of pure muscle.

Lesson Nine: Stay away from other people (DayZ)

However, in most zombie apocalypses, other people will happily tie you down and force you to drink bleach for a can of beans. Sometimes not even for a can of beans, but just for the fun of it.
People are assholes.

Lesson 10: The pen (or keyboard) is mightier than the Sword (Typing of the Dead)

Pistols? Shotguns? Rocket launchers? No sir; the best weapon that you could ever hope for in a zombie apocalypse is the humble keyboard. Keep your fingers supple and your typing skills will easily make mincemeat of the advancing horde of shambling, brainless zombies.

…You know, now that I thought about it, certain parts of videogames may not be that useful in teaching us how to survive a zombie apocalypse after all.

Stephen 'Stev3l' Lister
Writer and gaming enthusiast. Enjoys a wide variety of games including Prison Architect and Zelda. Also writes his own video game blog! Likes dogs.