Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Joe’s Thanksgiving: Good warming zombie killing family goodness

Well since everyone else is going to post about Thanksgiving I may as well throw my gravy-stained hat into the ring. Fine by me, since my Thanksgiving ROCKED!!!:D
I spend the holiday as well as the day before and after down in Riverton Utah at my mom’s house with her, her boyfriend Bill and my younger brother Josh. Making the journey with me was Mr. X-Box 360, and our favorite zombie genocide games, the Left 4 Dead series. I know you’re expecting some spiritual thing about gratitude or the pilgrims, but no I’m going to gush about zombies. (okay, there’s a spiritual thing at the end, but till then…)
To anyone not familiar with the games, Left 4 Dead is essentially you and three other people, either AI or co-op friends, getting from point A to point B with about a thousand zombies in the middle. You get guns, bombs, and in Left 4 Dead 2, a selection of melee weapons including my favorite, the chainsaw. There’s no story, barely any characterization, just gooey zombie fun. It was the first game I got when I bought a 360 a few years ago and it’s been a favorite since, with my brother and I’s favorite catch phrase being “It’s not called “Wait around for your buddies!””
Like in a real zombie apocalypse, the idea is to run. And if someone gets left behind, tough.
This became especially poignant for me this weekend when my brother and I were nearing the completion of a level. At the end of every level there’s a safe room, complete with a reinforced door which upon closing will declare victory for whoever is still alive. The problem is in order for the game to end all the surviving humans, AI included, have to be inside. Right before reaching the door, we were attacked by a particularly large hoard of zombies, complete with all the annoying little special zombies that like to throw you around like a chew toy before killing you. My brother was playing the big black guy Coach, and I had the little redneck dude I always play because he brings me fond memories of my mission. The girl, Rochelle, was fine inside the shelter, but the swindler character Nick had been knocked down just outside and was being assaulted. With another hoard on the way I knew there was no way we could go up and do the little button combo to get him back up, so I made a survivalist decision. I ran outside the protective shelter and shotgunned the poor AI right in the head, then ran back in with my brother shooting zombies around me so we could close the door. He re-spawned with us on the next level and I could swear there was an awkward tension in the air between us.
Nick got payback though. Several levels ahead Rochelle had bit the dust as me, my brother and Nick sprinted towards the helicopters. Unfortunately, I ran into a nasty little hoard right as my shotgun ran out of bullets. I started hopelessly swinging with the bat as the hoard grew bigger and bigger and started discussing wine options. The following is the dialogue between my brother and I while we slammed buttons on the controller:
Josh: Keep running we’re almost there!
Me: I can’t I’m surrounded! Go on without me!
Josh: You don’t have to tell me twice!
Me: Wait! It was a figure of speech! Come back and carry me!
Josh: Sorry I can’t hear you over the rescue chopper’s blades!
Then they blew up the bridge I was on and Nick and Josh survived. Nick I’m sure was laughing. Smug series of 0s and 1s…
Now you’d picture our mom was probably off somewhere annoyed that her sons were playing video games on Thanksgiving, but nothing could be further from the truth. She could hear our laughter and screams from upstairs, and was thrilled to have the familiar sounds of her family ringing through the house. That’s what I love about my family. Throughout the weekend we played video games, discussed zombies, super heroes, and our favorite ghost shows. I’m grateful for a family who accepts me for who I am and shares my interests with me. 


  1. Love this! Love Left 4 Dead as well. Ashley, Ben, and I have fond memories of playing that game together.

  2. By brother and I have similar attachments to Dynasty Warriors 3. Good times running away terrified from Lu Bu. I still play L4D2 frequently for PC, its a fantastic game although campaign no longer offers a challenge :(

  3. Trade you families? Mine get on me for reading at family functions...

    That aside, slaying zombies is awesome fun!