The Frank West Conundrum – Analyzing a Non-Traditional Protagonist

20190714095151_1As I play through video games, I love to think about the characters and their motivations. I enjoy parsing through how a game- or movie, book, or any other media- represents its protagonists and their journey. Do their actions reflect any growth or movement of any kind emotionally or in their maturity? Do they come to terms with personal flaws and grow from them or, sometimes even more interestingly, do they keep their flaws and find ways to work around them? How does this piece of media engage me with a protagonist that acts as my surrogate in the world I’m interacting with?

Being a huge fan of role-playing games, I’m used to finding myself with 40 to 60 hours of time to sort through events with a small cast of characters from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. They may start out selfish and have a turning point that leads them to a life of altruism or they may be a bit too naive and harden as the plot rolls out, becoming battle-weary and keen. In shorter games, it can be easier to track a character’s progression because the story beats are so close together and they have to have impact if the game takes pride in its narrative. On the other hand, it can be harder since there is only so much time to show someone’s story arc outside of the ongoing plot and changing a character too much in that time can prove disastrous. Games like The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, and Horizon: New Dawn work to fit an immersive story in with flourishes of character growth in a relatively short time. The protagonists, though, can be relatable to many of the audience members- those characters have their own struggles from the past and striking at them from time to time to rein the player into the mindset of their avatar.

In a bid to try to write a bit about the series, I’ve been playing through Dead Rising to refresh my memory and track improvements as the games released. While I’ve been enjoying it, there is one thing I can say for certain:

No one should be able to empathize with Frank West. Continue reading

Where Did That Come From? – Exploring the Influences in Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Part 4

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Here we are, game and pop culture fans.  This is the final entry in the “Where Did That Come From?” series for Zombies Ate My Neighbors.  It’s been a long ride, and hopefully it’s been an entertaining one.

There have been a lot of different origins to dig through and thankfully, mostly through the magic of Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database, I’ve made a sizable dent at reaching my goal of chronicling the many nods and pokes at multimedia sources and gotten them together in one series of articles.

Let’s embark, now, on the final stretch of research that I managed to eke out of the corners of entertainment history to detail Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

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Where Did That Come From? – Exploring the Influences in Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Part 3

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Welcome back to the cavalcade of pop culture references in this series of editorials!  After a short break, I’m more than pleased to present the next (and almost final) set of influences from this amazing game.

This week’s series is a bit more varied and odd, considering the past two.  Everything from the usual horror and comedy fare to the dramatic and even food pops up in the pieces following this.  It really feels like there is no limit to the resources this game used to charm its audience.

So without further explanation- buckle in for the third set!

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Where Did That Come From? – Exploring the Influences in Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Part 2

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Continuing on from the previous entry in this series right here, this article will go over the next set of stages in Zombies Ate My Neighbors to try to root out the sources that they reference through the tongue in cheek titles of the multitude of levels that the player runs through with Zeke and Julie, our hapless heroes.

So once again, buckle up and sit back for round two, as I scour the internet to figure out what corners of pop culture have been explored in one of my favorite games of all time.

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Where Did That Come From? – Exploring the Influences in Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Part 1

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Introduction

Favorite games come and go, but Zombies Ate My Neighbors has stuck around for years with me at this point.  I grew up primarily on two things: pop culture and horror movies.  I separate the two, even though they’re pretty easily related, due to watching a good 250 or so horror movies in a summer vacation, cementing my love of the genre and the medium pretty early on.

While playing through the game, the references are easy to see to most horror fans.  Vampires, hockey mask wearing killers, evil dolls- everything that makes an appearance has some kind of root in popular media.  Some are fairly obvious, and some are a little less so.  Given my affection for this game, I went online to see if someone had put together a list of these references, or if they even had some kind of speculation site that entertained what the inspirations could be for the multiple levels and their titles throughout the game.

 

I was pretty shocked to find that there isn’t one.  If there is, it isn’t readily available, but I can’t imagine that this has never been written down or had some kind of analysis online.  If it has, don’t tell me- because I decided that I’m going to attempt to hunt down the most likely inspirations for these titles and references in honor of October and the Halloween spirit.

So sit back, buckle up, and prepare for a whole lot of information on a whole lot of Zombies Ate My Neighbors and other movies, music, and pop culture references abound.

Clearly, there are also some rules to be followed:

– All of the sources must be from 1993 or earlier, as the game came out in 1993
– When possible, a horror or comedic source should be used as a basis for the entry.  This one will probably be deviated from at least a handful of times, as some of the more obvious titles do.

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