Metacognition: Zombie Dead-Ication

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

Should you ever feel guilty about killing a zombie?

We’re very close to celebrating our Independence Day here in the good ol’ US of A, but unfortunately it seems like we’re less “U” than we have been in a while.

Holy Maker, Athena. Stick to the video games.

what-figureA few years ago, The New York Times asked a series of questions for high schoolers to answer, one of which was whether or not a person should feel bad about killing zombies in a video game. That question, along with responses, can be found here.

For those of you who are wondering, the answers amounted to “no, because I know it’s just a game so it’s no big deal to mow down the mindless creatures that are trying to kill me.”

Interestingly, I think the respondents didn’t read the entire article that the Times wrote, and simply jumped to answering the question. If they had read, the might have noticed a fairly lengthy quote by Chris Suellentrop, video game critic and writer for the Times, that compared the dehumanization of “creatures” like zombies and Nazis to what amount to targets. No big deal, right?

Image result for arrow target

Did you know there is a game called Tea Party Zombies Must Die?

For those my readers who are outside of the US, the Tea Party is a very conservative political group that started off within the Republican Party, but has since taken on its own identity. The most important thing to know for context for my purposes is that folks in the Tea Party are very, very conservative.

And there is a game that depicts conservatives (Tea Party or otherwise) as the “zombies” that need to be shot and killed.



First of all, for those of you who ever wondered, my political beliefs are more moderate, with liberal social leanings. I’m not a particular fan of what the Alt-Right is up to. And this game, presumably targeted for folks who are not conservative (read: this includes me), is nothing more than propaganda. Not even worth checking out, regardless of what side of the political spectrum you’re on.

But back to zombies.

In one game, all of a sudden real-life people have been reduced to zombies: soulless creatures that have no bearing, deserve no respect or second glance, and are only good for something once they’re dead (progressing through the game).

But how easy is it to do that in real life, too? Very easy. It’s almost second-nature to some to demonize people who are different, who look or think differently. It’s easy to think that by shouting someone down, you’re actually doing them a favor because you’re right and they are sadly mistaken. It’s easy to reduce a a person to a zombie.

Image result for zombie pun
Except not this whimsical.

It’s dangerous to reduce a person to a zombie. It’s dangerous because zombies don’t deserve a second glance. Zombies are unnatural creatures who are only okay once they are dead. It’s okay to kill them because they are bad things that hurt you and deserve to be killed, because you deserve to have your way of life preserved. You are only safe once you and people like you are the only ones still standing.

So I ask…

Is it okay to shoot zombies?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon,
~ Athena

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  1. This reminds me of a person I saw just the other day complaining about graphic violence in modern video games and how unnecessary they thought it was, but then they went on to talk about how excited they were for the new Wolfenstein game…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Heavy stuff. Evidently, unless we’re talking about actual reanimated corpses roaming the streets and eating people, we need to be careful we don’t descend into dehumanising whole groups of people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting, as this comes back to that Active Shooter game. Yes, the people you’re shooting aren’t realy, but does the fact that you’re shooting at civilians make that worse? Would this Tea Party game be really different if the enemies were actual political activists rather than zombified versions? From a gameplay standpoint it wouldn’t, but there would likely be a significant outcry if that were the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right! i think in any case there *should* be outcry. I… I just can’t legitimize making entertainment out of killing real people. That’s literally going back thousands of year in human history, and I don’t like that one bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do recall the JFK Reloaded game many years ago and thinking it was an interesting look at a historical event. But scoring people based on how close they were to the actual assassination was in pretty poor taste.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Resident Evil zombies must die!! Those things are hella creepy. As for demonizing groups in video games… nope, I’m not a fan of that. I don’t see it as a big deal if the feelings stay in the virtual world (pixel representations that look like people are nothing – just like zombies). But if that hate carries over into the real world, that’s freaking dangerous. I’m not sure if what I said makes any sense, but yeah.

    And politics makes my head hurt. I just want everyone to be able to live a fair and happy life. Not sure what part of the political spectrum that falls in, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure how much I agree with that. I don’t think I particularly agree with making sport out of killing depictions of real people. It goes back to learning from media; if we’re exposed to this idea of killing Person A and Person B, the horror of it dissipates a little.

      I wish people would get along, as well. But dehumanizing people in a video game isn’t the way to do it, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

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