On Monday we looked at why zombies remain so popular in video games. The reason which resonates the most with me relates to the ‘uncanny valley’ concept: the more something resembles a human, the more it provokes feelings of eeriness.
Continuing the celebration for Zombie Awareness Month, it’s now time for another undead subject. A study by the University of Leicester a couple of years ago worked out that it would take only 100 days for zombies to take over the planet, and a mere 300 people would be left alive and uninfected at the end of this period. Video games have taught us well when it comes to making sure we’re one of them, and here’s some of the best advice for ensuring you’re prepared for the apocalypse.
Don’t rely on the UK government
Did you know that the Pentagon has a military response plan to protect humanity from the walking dead? There’s no way the UK government are so prepared though. Based on recent behaviour, it’s obvious what they’d do: deny the apocalypse until increased zombie sightings meant they had to come clean about what was going on, then order a series of knee-jerk reactions to the horror of scientists while maintaining that everything is under control. It’s probably best if we don’t rely on them to get the situation sorted.
Ignore the general press
It’s wisest not to listen to the general press either. Regardless of the undead threat level, you can guarantee that reporters everywhere will over-hype every little development to get as many views as possible. Seeing as a lot of people believe everything they read in the newspapers, the result will be widespread terror, panic-buying of toilet-paper and the breakdown of society. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay informed however; just choose your courses carefully and stick to reading updates from the bloggers you trust.
Pack a survival kit
If your local area becomes overrun and you need to skip down, don’t leave home without a survival kit. Grab some fresh water, cans of food, a knife, string, a first-aid kit – treat your rucksack as though it was a point-and-click inventory system so you’re prepared for anything. A 2018 survey found that nearly 25% of the British population have a plan to survive the zombie apocalypse and one in six have considered putting together a bug-out bag to see them through the first 72-hours.
Don’t go it alone
Although many video games have shown that it’s often riskier leaving with others, there’s a lot to be said for not going alone. Being part of a group increases the skills and knowledge available to you, has the potential for better decision-making, means there’s always someone to back you up in case of injury and keeps loneliness at bay too. Just make sure they’re likeminded people you know you can rely on, and only consider leaving on your own as a last resort.
Get out of the city
The biggest tip we’ve learnt from zombie stories: get out of the city as quickly as possible because the odds are stacked against you from the start. Not only will urbanised areas end up having the densest populations of the undead thanks to the number of people who live in them, they won’t be habitable once the technology that supports them disappears. Head for isolation and stop by a camping shop on the way for supplies; and don’t rely on smartphone maps, because you’ll lose signal once the power-grids go down.
Find weapons as soon as possible
Video games have taught us that the most effective weapon against the living dead is a bullet straight to the head. But guns can be difficult to get hold of depending on where you are in the world, so what should you consider using instead? Remember that anything can be a weapon if you combine it well. Take inspiration from releases such as Days Gone: a baseball bat and nails, a table-leg and nails, chemical fertiliser and nails… basically any object and nails.
Track down food and water
Your bug-out bag may get you through the first few days but it’s not going to keep you alive for long. Assign members of your group to scavenge for food and bottled water in supermarkets and petrol stations as you leave town, while the others keep watch; and build the biggest stash you can once you find somewhere suitable to ride out the apocalypse. You’re not going to be able to get your hands on any KFC for a while so you want to make sure you’re not worrying about where your next meal is going to come from.
Build a good barricade
Once you’ve got your new base set up, consider reinforcing it with a strong barricade to keep those pesky zombies out while you sleep at night. You’ll need heavy items for this to work effectively so you’ll be grateful for those extra pairs of hands here if you took the advice above about not leaving down on your own. Get windows and glass fronts boarded up quickly so they can’t be smashed open, and avoid staying above the ground floor without an escape route in case the building is overrun.
Create an infection plan
How are you going to respond if any member of your party becomes infected? This is something you need to discuss as early as possible and get everyone to agree on, because tough decisions need to be made for the good of the group. Will you selflessly search for a cure, try amputating the limb that was bitten, chain them up before they turn or just put an end to their existence immediately? Be prepared for a late night and a few arguments – you’ll be glad you saved that coffee from your bug-out bag.
Remember that the zombies will keep on coming
If zombie video games have taught us a single useful lesson, it’s that the living dead will never stop coming. The sooner you come to terms with that, the quicker you can get on with surviving and making sure you’re one of those last 300 humans! Take the advice given in today’s post on board, get as far away from civilisation as possible and find somewhere safe to live out your last days in peace. Just remember to pack a console and power supply before you leave home.
Thanks to video games, we’re more educated than ever about survival during a zombie apocalypse. If there’s any advice I’ve missed, please feel free to leave it in the comments below so we have a comprehensive survival guide in case of the end of the world.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.