The Playful Undead and Video Games : Critical Analyses of Zombies and Gameplay book cover
1st Edition

The Playful Undead and Video Games
Critical Analyses of Zombies and Gameplay

ISBN 9781032177700
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
288 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores the central role of the zombie in contemporary popular culture as they appear in video games. Moving beyond traditional explanations of their enduring appeal – that they embody an aesthetic that combines horror with a mindless target; that lower age ratings for zombie games widen the market; or that Artificial Intelligence routines for zombies are easier to develop – the book provides a multidisciplinary and comprehensive look at this cultural phenomenon.

Drawing on detailed case studies from across the genre, contributors from a variety of backgrounds offer insights into how the study of zombies in the context of video games informs an analysis of their impact on contemporary popular culture. Issues such as gender, politics, intellectual property law, queer theory, narrative storytelling and worldbuilding, videogame techniques and technology, and man’s relation to monsters are closely examined in their relation to zombie video games.

Breaking new ground in the study of video games and popular culture, this volume will be of interest to researchers in a broad range of areas including media, popular culture, video games, and media psychology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Zombies zombies everywhere, what is one to think?
Stephen Webley

  1. Zombies, again? A qualitative analysis of the zombie antagonist’s appeal in game design
    Matthew Barr

  2. Resurrecting "Obsolete" Video Game Techniques from Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil
    Matt Barton

  3. The Undead Past in the Present – Historical Anxiety and the Nazi Zombie
    Adam Chapman

  4. The Zombification of Skyrim
    Penny de Byl

  5. Fantasies of Full Employment: Zombies, Video Games, and Violent Labor
    Michael Epp

  6. Resident Evil and Infectious Fear
    Christina Fawcett and Alan McGreevy

  7. Zombie video games, Eros, and Thanatos: Expressing and exploring the life and death drives through video gameplay
    Vanessa Haddad

  8. Through the Eyes of the Other: The Relationship between Man and Monster in Siren: Blood Curse
    Madelon Hoedt

  9. Dead Rising and the Gameworld Zombie
    Kristine Jørgensen

  10. Proliferation, Blockages, and Paths of Escape in Resident Evil and Call of Duty

  11. Brandon Kempner

  12. Zombies, Play, and Uncertainty in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
    Mitchell Lilly

  13. "A Jill Sandwich" – Gender Representation in Zombie Videogames
    Esther Maccalum-Stewart

  14. It’s Never About Zombies – Post-apocalyptic World-building, Interactive Storytelling, and The Walking Dead
    Ksenia Olkusz, Sven Dwulecki and Krzysztof M. Maj

  15. The Pace and Range of Video Game Zombies
    Bernard Perron

  16. Zombies Ate Democracy: The myth of a systemic political failure in video games
    Eugen Pfister

  17. Queering the Zombie
    Tanja Sihvonen

  18. The Law of the Playful [Un]Dead: The Influences of Intellectual Property
    Timothy A. Wiseman

  19. "The Romeroesque" – Playing with Ethics & Ideology in Zombie Games, from Indie to Mainstream and Around Again
    Stephen Webley


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Stephen Webley is Director of The Military and Civil Simulation Technology Research & Enterprise Institute at Staffordshire University, UK

Peter Zackariasson is Associate Professor in the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden