Zombies have been a staple in video games for almost as long as there have been video games. They are gaming comfort food. Rotting, shambling, brain-devouring comfort food.
And when you make enough games with zombies in 'em, some of them are bound to be pretty darn good. From Resident Evil 4 to Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare to Left 4 Dead to Plants vs. Zombies, the living dead have made appearances in some of the best games of the last decade.
With Halloween around the corner, we're in the midst of another golden age of zombiedom. Here are a couple of amazing zombie games available right now, a couple more on the way in the next few weeks and another that, while a bit of a clunker, deserves some mercy.
The Walking Dead
The folks at Telltale Games have drawn from the Walking Dead graphic novels for this five-part episodic game series, which is currently at Episode 4 on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and Episode 3 on the iPad. Although primarily a well-written point-and-click adventure game, there are also nuggets of action and some absolutely harrowing decisions that must be made. When two people's lives are in your hands and you have only seconds to save one from becoming a zombie entree, who do you choose?
Former New Zealand armed forces officer and survival expert Dean Hall created this free modification to the realistic military shooter Arma 2, turning the PC game into a gritty glimpse at a fictional Eastern European country after the zombie apocalypse. Players must scavenge for scarce food and supplies and battle zombies (and, more often than not, each other.) Hall will be making his first trip to Canada to talk about DayZ and the games industry in general at Toronto's Gamercamp festival, running Nov. 3 and 4.
This mid-November launch title for Nintendo's upcoming Wii U game console is an interesting take on the well-worn survival horror genre. In addition to exploring zombie-infested London, England, players will use the Wii U controller's touchscreen to do things like search crates for supplies and pick door locks while zombies are shambling towards them. Another cool touch: when players are killed and restart from a checkpoint, they must track down and eliminate their now-zombified previous self to reclaim their equipment.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Forget about the catastrophic terrorist attacks on L.A. and commanding squads of soldiers in Black Ops II's near-future battlegrounds -- some fans are all about the undead. Due for release on Nov. 13, the game is continuing Call of Duty's long-running love of the living dead with a completely revamped zombies mode, featuring a new four-player co-op campaign and a new four-versus-four-versus-zombies competitive mode, in which players must find ways to sic the undead on one another.
Resident Evil 6
Wait, what? Why is this bloated, disappointing new instalment in the Resident Evil series in here? It's true that Resident Evil 6 has lots of problems, but it also marks the return of the franchises's popular and adrenaline-fuelled Mercenaries mode, which pits you and a partner against the clock and never-ending waves of the undead. The game also deserves props for its innovative but flawed Agent Hunt mode, which allows players to take control enemies -- including shambling corpses and zombie dogs -- in other players' games.