Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In Memorium

I swear I was going to write a piece about the lack of strong male role models in today’s society. It was going to be both educational and thought provoking. Seriously, both. Check for that on Thursday.

I started writing the piece Sunday afternoon while waiting for a couple friends to come over. It was our intent to sling cards for awhile that afternoon after which I would dip my quill back into the ink pot and continue penning another chapter of my life’s work. We didn’t play cards that day.

What happened you might ask? Left 4 Dead happened. Left 4 frikkin’ Dead. It was alright though, I could finish writing on Monday. Nope, Monday night came along and with it, Left 4 Dead. I awoke late for work today, but scrawled on the bedroom wall in the orange dust from a Kraft Dinner package was an arcane formula, Multiplayer +Zombies = Fun.

My girlfriend was unimpressed.

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, I enjoy video games. Trickily, I also enjoy my social life. When I have the opportunity to blend the two it’s like making a peanut butter sandwich. Bread and peanut butter is delicious! Why doesn’t everyone eat this ALL THE TIME!? The same goes for multiplayer video games. I find it difficult to understand why every single person I know doesn’t play video games. I mean every single person I know owns a computer, likewise for “enjoys board games”.

That said, on Sunday night a good friend of mine who doesn’t play video games decided to go ahead and give Left 4 Dead a try. It started not unlike a childs first time in a pool. Except also he’s swimming the relay. “I don’t know about this guys. I don’t think I’ll be able to help and I’ll probably just hold you back.”

“It’s cool”, said Joel and I, experienced gamers,” We’ll watch your back.” The three of us stood atop a greenhouse. I contented myself to shoot the zombies below with my hunting rifle while Joel explained some of the basics to Matt. A few tentative shots at potted plants and even a zombie and he felt ready to give it a go. So down from the roof we climbed. Clamb? Climbed.

Things went well, we trekked through the large greenhouse into the warehouse it was attached to and took out our first horde of zombies before we proceeded through a small town towards an airstrip where we saw a plane land at the beginning. Now I’m going to take a moment and explain what the deal is with these zombies. We’re not talking the slow shambling zombies we all know and love. I speak of the sprinting, climbing, blood curdling scream kind. (I initially wrote blurdling by accident. I thought you should know)There are also super zombies. First there is the Smoker. This guy has a 635 foot long tongue which he lashes at you with like a vicious octopus. It will wrap you up in this tongue and drag you, helpless in its grasp, towards it, usually across a field and up the side of a building. Seriously the tongue is long. Then there’s the Hunter, a feral thing that leaps tall buildings in a single bound and crawls around on all fours. This fucker will jump on you and then he will eat your face. Both of these guys render you helpless and your only chance is to scream into your mic “helpmehelpmehelpmehelpme” and hope one of your friends has a spare moment to shoot the thing off you. The game is intense and really requires an unparalleled degree of teamwork in a video game.

I told you it was a long tongue.

Anyway Matt only shot me once during our journey, which was not great. We made it to a safehouse anyways where we patched up before heading onto the airstrip. There we found the plane beside a fuel truck. The pilot had locked himself in the cockpit and informed us, via the co-pilots radio, that they had tried to refuel and as soon as the co-pilot had turned on the fuel truck the zombie horde converged. Okay, so we began the planning stages. I stood atop the fuel truck with my sniper rifle while Joel walked around with propane tanks and set them in visible locations at the entrances to the various choke points leading to our last stand. Matt found a chaingun turret, we’re not sure why it was there but we didn’t question it. We informed Matt to hold onto the trigger of that thing right up until it overheated and caught on fire. At the last minute a friend of Joel’s jumped into the game to take control of the AI that had been accompanying us and so we were 4.

Things got out of hand quickly after that. I had killed scores of zombies with well placed shots on the propane tanks from atop the fuel truck while Joel kept others off my back with his shotgun. Matt was cutting a swath through the hordes with the mini-gun when a 10 foot chunk of concrete came flying out of the distance and smashed into the sandbags he was behind knocking him to the ground and destroying the turret. The Tank had arrived. The monstrosity was half-Incredible Hulk half-Zombie and came barreling down the runway tossing airplane fuselages left and right. Joel threw a molitov cocktail at it englufing the beast in flames. We now had a flaming tank rushing towards us. I fired off a few rounds as Joel, in a moment of pure cinematic badassery walked calmly towards charging beast unloading round after round of shotgun ammo at it. With a groundshaking roar the Tank stumbled and slide forward stopping at Joel’s feet. There was a moment of triumph before we saw the teeming mass of Zombies coming down the runway.

If Rook were a zombie I wouldn’t even feel bad when I shot him.

I wasn’t even sure if we were going to have enough bullets to take out that many. I helped Matt to his feet and clambered to the top of the fuel truck and that’s when I saw an equally large horde coming from behind. We were fucked. I pulled out my pistols, yes two, and began to open fire blindly in all directions, John Woo style. The hordes converged on the truck and began climbing up the sides. Joel and I stood atop it kicking them off the sides as the made their ascent and rifle butting when necessary. I looked to my left and saw the cargo bay of the plane opening and called to my comrades to run for it. Joel and I leapt from atop the truck, soaring majestically over the heads of the zombies, and landed in a full run towards the plane. I saw Matt fall to the ground in front of me and raced towards him. His hand reached out to clasp mine as I leapt over him and made for the hanger. Don’t look at me like that, the guy shot me that one time remember? I clambered into the plane’s cargo hold and pulled out my rifle to cover our backs as Joel ran in beside me. We fired madly to keep the zombies from entering the hold while we waited for Joel’s friend to get in.

What happened next is debated. I claim a hunter jumped on the guy’s back. Everyone else claimed I shot Joel’s friend in the head. Either way Joel’s friend and Matt were dead so it was my word against Joel’s in the end as we flew to safety. Credits actually rolled as the joke of the game is that it’s actually a movie. It displayed our user names as the actors and proceeded to dedicate the film to Matt and Lunchbox, Joel’s friend, who didn’t make it. In the end it’s not important who shot who, what matters is that we all had fun, and someone who doesn’t play video games gave it a shot.

Until next time remember, blades don’t need reloading


1 comment:

  1. If you're up for some Zombie slaying action on the 360 add my Live Gamertag, TetheredMonkey, to your friends list