Number 651: The Zombies from Zombi
Clutching our chainsaw close to our chest (but not too close, obviously), we set out to track down the undead hordes that had marked UbiSoft’s first foray into gaming back in 1990…
Unfortunately most of the undead protagonists from Zombi were engaged in a zombie walk in Calgary to protest the release of ‘House of the Dead‘ on the Wii, but we managed to catch up with one of their more laid-back members at his summer home in Haiti.
A group of zombies walking. Yesterday.
“Uuuuurrrgggg”, our somewhat wiffy interviewee intoned as he picked a maggot from his ear and flicked it out of the window. We could only agree that the overwhelming economic force of globalisation renders apparently pointless the protests of a few disenfranchised consumers in another country. It was clear that he was much happier enjoying a coconut cocktail in a beach hut, although we couldn’t help but think somewhere cooler would have helped the smell. “Mmmmuuurrg!” he exclaimed, at which point we hastily assured him that we could hardly smell anything and our increasing greenness was solely a result of a bad fish last night. “Hhuurg.”
So how did UbiSoft seem back in those days, when it was barely more than a toddler in the giant playground of home computer games? “Hnnoouggh,” opined our interviewee thoughtfully, as he sucked up a little more of his drink (and we saw part of it pour down through his half-open chest). We agreed that it was difficult not to use hindsight in considering these matters and assured him that we trusted his judgement regardless of the disorienting passage of time. “Nnnnoooghhhy”, he offered, and we could see his reasoning. “Ooorggh”, he added, and we couldn’t mask our surprise at learning how dropping the ‘e’ from the title of the game to make it a jolly “Zombi” had, in those days, been a vital part of pushing gay rights to the fore and drawing awareness to it. It suddenly all made sense, particularly the carefully-permed blond curls of one of the game’s protagonists and the cheerful shaved look of another. It may well have been one of the Village People‘s main inspirations and helped kick-start the whirlpool of social change in which we now find ourselves.
We asked him about some of the humans who had featured originally in the game, investigating the shopping mall in which he had lived. “Mmmrrooh”, he noted, and we agreed that you sometimes find friends in the most unlikely of places when circumstances force you together. “Hhurr” he laughed, gesturing expansively to a darkened corner of his hut, where we were quite sure we could just make out a few leg bones, some tattered skin and a tell-tale pair of dark glasses. As we looked back our eyes met our host’s, and we heard it in barely a whisper: “Bbbrraaainns…”, as the disheveled bones protruding from torn flesh of his fingers pointed towards our scalp. However, the distorted smile on his haggard face fell as we pointed our concealed shotgun straight at it. “Huump” our disgruntled interviewee concluded as he fell back in his chair and sulkily pushed away his drink. A dull thud told us that the force of falling backwards had not agreed with one of his knees.
We thanked him for his time nonetheless and took our leave, deciding that perhaps we would reschedule our return flight so as not to stop over in Calgary.
Frrrrggnnn rrrrrsssrrrlll. Hhhrrrggnn llll ttthhrrrr lllrrrrmmllrrrrrgghhht. Rrrr wwrrrrzz rrrnnn rrrtt ttrrrr.