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Do we really prefer zombies or do designers just find it easier?

May 21, 2012

In “Sunday Thoughts: Zombies” the author makes a really interesting point about zombies in video games – “from a development stance, they’re remarkably simple aren’t they?”

Some of the commenters disagree with specific instances of complex tactical zombies but overall I think its a good point. Computer enemies in video games still rely on relatively simple artificial intelligence. Human renderings wouldn’t always move quite right to be real humans (although they really are getting more and more amazing). So if the computer enemy simulations are supposed to be zombies then it makes sense for them to move weird. In a way being a zombie may actually make them more believable.

The commenters also point to the more obvious reason for zombie video game: the moral acceptance of killing zombies. It seems generally accepted that gamers feel less remorse or at least there is less public controversy.

Martin Robbins in The Guardian asks “Could Angry Birds lead to mass murder?” rehashing the same old psych research about whether video games lead to violence and also asking “Is shooting humans worse than shooting zombies?”.

These remain undecided questions in educational research. Meanwhile we’ll soon have graphics and AI even better and maybe some more sophisticated computerized monsters. Until then, is it any wonder that zombies are being so heavily promoted.

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From → Academics, computers

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