Our Obsession with Zombies

A few years ago it was Vampires.  That’s not completely out, but today it’s definitely all about the undead.  Everywhere you look, they’re there.  Movies, TV, Video Games, even cartoons for the kiddies (what’s up with Monster’s U though?).  We can’t get enough of Zombies, and there appears to be no sign of it slowing down.

Most people will say it’s harmless fun.  Other’s will simply ignore it and wait for the next societal infatuation to sweep over us.  But wherever you are on the Zombie spectrum, the phenomenon has lead me to think about why it has struck such a cord with so many.

Mankind inherently understands the concepts of good an evil.  No matter where you are from, what culture or society you were raised in, all humans know the difference between what is right, and what is wrong.  It’s what separates us from animals, the ability to reason and make judgments based on our circumstances and surrounding environment.  As we’ve gotten more “civilized” and “enlightened” as a people, the clear cut definitions of right and wrong have become hazy.  Is it right that I have the ability to run my children’s bath water for 5 minutes until it gets to the perfect temperature, or purchase a ridiculously inexpensive toy made by modern day slave labor?  Is it right that Geo-Political forces destabilize the governments of most of the World’s poor and disenfranchised, while the “developed” world lives relative stable and free lives?

But there’s no interpretation or rationalization needed when it comes to Zombies.  They are universally evil creatures with one purpose: predation.  It doesn’t matter who the Zombies were or what walk of life they possessed before they turned.  Once they transformed, anyone who is not like them becomes their enemy.  Zombies are relentless in their pursuit of their prey; anyone still living.  It’s no accident that virtually all Zombie premises take place in a post-apocalyptic world.  It is our presumption that all layers of society will have to break down in order for such a thing to occur.

What if that weren’t the case?  What if the resonance of the Zombie end times is due to society’s realization that things in the World are not right, and have not been right for quite sometime?  Maybe people yearn for a time when things were clear again: this is good, that is bad, and our focus wasn’t comfort, wealth accumulation, or success in our vocation?  What would it take for us to see things as they really are.

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Abusive Video Game Manipulation

I’ve been playing video games for over 20 years (man, that sounds bad). It used to be a fairly straight forward transaction: you played the video game, beat it, and then moved on. But lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.

Video games now have decided to keep you playing for as long as possible. They achieve this by applying a reward system. The more you play, the more rewards you obtain.  When you consider that many video games are played on mobile devices these days, and employ the use of “micro transactions” (they call it micro so you don’t pay attention to how much money you end up spending over time) and you can see the problem this can present.  Video games have always played on humanity’s addictive nature, but things have turned more sinister.

A deleted scene from the movie Indie Game does an excellent job of describing the phenomena as Abusive Video Game Manipulation.  I have to admit that I’ve fallen victim to these tactics.  (I play the game you see up there.  I know, I know).

Check it out and stay woke.