Are zombie games becoming cliche?

I’ve been wanting to start working on a game for a while now and have been bouncing ideas around in my head. One I keep coming back too is a zombie-based game, but there’s already three just on choiceofgames (zombie exodus, burn(t), and choice of zombies) plus Jim D is working on the second Zombie Exodus and there’s also others out there in the inter webs (Not to mention Talltale’s the walking dead). Are zombie games becoming overdone to the point I’d be wasting my time to make one? I would make the zombies different from your typical, slowing-moving, dumb, mainly nonthreatening zombies and make them more like the zombies in Dying Light. If you haven’t played it, basically during the day they’re walking dead, typical zombies and at night they’re I am Legend zombies, fast, agile, and somewhat smart. Is that enough of a difference to make it standalone as an original game? What are your thoughts?

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I think your idea is fine! It’s not about the subject matter being cliche, but what you do with it that’s cliche. Maybe you can set yourself apart from other games and tropes by making not making it about survival but about actively seeking out and hunting zombies. Or, even better, challenge the genre by making zombies more sentient, and able to empathize with humans. You won’t have any problem with one particular genre so long as you’re creative in how you implement it, and add your own creative flair.

If you’re worried about copying the other published games, don’t worry about it. Zombie games are in pretty high demand, and even more so if they’re creative. Just write what you want to write.


Oh, anything can become a cliche. I’m writing a fairy tale WIP at the moment, and those stories have been done to death. Honestly, I wouldn’t really worry about it. :wink:

Even if everyone else in the world has told a zombie story, you still haven’t! You should have the right to spin an original take on an old classic if you want to.

People like playing games and reading stories that the creators were enthusiastic about creating. You sound plenty enthusiastic to me. Go for it!


Quality of writing is a much bigger factor than theme, I believe. Clichéd or not, a well-written game should do well and, conversely, a poorly-written game will likely struggle no matter how original it is. It’s a text-based medium, so your skill with said text is the main selling point, especially since the CoG site usually provides the first two chapters as a demo.


another zombie game? * runs around the room and celebrates*
my favourite genre of game is zombie games, so like the people above, you have another fan. Your idea sounds original and something which I look forward to playing.
as long as you are passionate about your idea, that will show through your writing and therefore have a greater impact on the audience playing your game; no matter what genre it is.
I honestly hope your idea materialises into a game that we can all play. Good luck!


Zombie media is severely overdone right now.

Sam Kabo Ashwell has been demonstrating this over at his blog - he swore off games and static media containing zombies for 2015, and it’s surprisingly difficult. Here’s his reasoning and his monthly success/failure archive.

But for writing a ChoiceScript game specifically? I think you should do whatever makes you happy.

Cliche isn’t the right word. I’d go with tiresome, uninteresting, dull. I got tired of zombie games years ago. There just isn’t anything interesting being done with them. And when there is something new, it’s stupid. Like The Walking Dead, “Oh look we’re so edgy and shocking with all our gore and random character deaths.” Yeah, ok, great, so basically what you’re saying is don’t get attached to anyone because they’ll probably be randomly killed just to fuck with my emotions… so why should I play your game again? I have enough unhappiness, helplessness, and failure in my real life. Why would I want even more of it from my entertainment media? It’s like they saw that thing Joss Whedon does from time to time and were like “Hey, that works really well for him. We should do that ALL THE TIME, that totally won’t completely ruin the impact!”

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(Don’t beat yourself up too much about this. If people don’t want to play your zombie game, they don’t have to. :smile: )


Cliché or genre? :smile:

Any well done game will do great, just because zombies and super heroes are popular in pop culture, doesn’t mean you should avoid it… or rush into it. It used to be vampires, dinosaurs, aliens, cowboys… Just another setting. :smile:

And for the record, Walking Dead rocks!! :smiley:

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I wonder?
Is there a story where the zombie virus or whatever isn’t just a mindless virus or whatever that takes over the brain but is a intelligent symbiote. I can just imagine it sparking a civil war between pro symbiote and anti symbiote (also the symbiote does not require human flesh the misconception comes from the fact that they look grey and dead-ish) I would read that if it was done well.

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There is, actually: Mira Grant’s Parasitology series.

There can never be enough zombie games.

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While not quite what you’re asking for I accidentally read a zombie book. Accidentally, because I didn’t know it was a zombie book, if I’d known I wouldn’t have read it. The presence of zombies is a spoiler. But it did portray the zombie virus as more than a mindless virus. It also creeped me out majorly. I’m not fond of zombies. I didn’t want to accidentally read a zombie novel.

I’m spoiler tagging the whole title (which is probably a silly idea but oh well since well the zombies are spoilers. The Girl with All the Gifts is a novel by M.R. Carey

Also worth playing is (If you’ve a tablet/phone I think it’s fairly cheap).

I remember playing lab of the dead. I might just revisit it though.

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The key thing to remember: the most important thing in a zombie story is NOT the zombies.

The zombies are a problem to overcome, certainly. They’re a way to take your heroes and throw rocks at them. And that’s always fun. And they’re frequently a way of taking the established order and throwing it on its ear, certainly in apocalyptic zombie stories. White-haired Senator Asswipe is a big guy when he’s making laws in his office - but what’s he like when he’s starving to death because the supermarkets are all empty?

If we’re talking more layers of inflection, a zombie can make a pretty fine metaphor. In zombie stories around the 1930s - the film White Zombie, for example - the zombies were an embodiment of voodoo, and the strange, unknown powers of black magicians. In Dawn of the Dead (the original, for sure), those blank, slow-moving zombies can be seen as a symbol of thoughtless consumerism - while the heroes hide out in the paradise of a shopping mall where everything is free!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers isn’t quite a zombie movie, but in its ideas of people you know and love being replaced by something predatory, something wholly different, it isn’t so far away from one either. I think it isn’t a coincidence it was first a big hit when the fear of communist sleeper agents was a big concern in America.

Why do we watch The Walking Dead? It isn’t to see if Daryl is going to shoot a zombie in the head with a crossbow bolt (spoiler: he probably will). It’s to see how Maggie reacts when Glenn goes running off into danger. It’s to see how Carl reacts when his dad Rick starts going crazy.

Because we care about these people. Zombie stories are about people. The most important villains in a zombie story are people. As I say, the zombies are just a way for the writer to throw rocks at everybody.

Sometimes zombies aren’t even zombies. My all-time favourite ‘zombie story’ is The Day of the Triffids, the book more than the numerous adaptations that followed. And the zombies in that are plants.


Day of the Triffids is by far my favourite Zombie story too. :slight_smile: I thought I was the only one who actually said that. I loved that book so much because it really helped me out at school. John Wyndham was one of the the only two sci-fi authors on my English class’s allowed reading list and his books were so wonderfully short. So I ended up doing my final English projects on Day of the Triffids.

Triffids and Zombies have so much in common. The triffids with their slowly shambling hoards, possible intelligence, created in a lab, eating people. The loss of a huge chunk of the population and the struggle for survival of those who are left. The little pocket societies are left and what they do to survive.

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Common dude you cant ever go wrong with zombies best horror genre ever!


I think the world could always use more books, regardless of if the topic has been done before. I mean, think of it. There’s hundreds if not thousands of superhero movies, and people still eat it up despite the same basic premise they share. I don’t think that you should worry about it being overdone, but rather focus on the content and quality of what you’re creating. Do that, and I’m sure it’ll end up great!

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Ironic and impressive,you necromanced a thread about zombies six years later…


Whoops! I didn’t check the date, my bad, lol