Man, If Blowing the Heads Off of Zombies With a Scoped Rifle is Wrong, I Don’t Ever Want to Be Right

Seriously, man. I’m doing them a favor. They’re zombies, after all. It’s not like they have rich internal lives. The time for book clubs and PBS has passed for them, you know? And anyway, there’s something oddly soothing about going to a high place with a scoped rifle and picking off their shambling asses. I wouldn’t say it’s a zen thing (it seems inadvisable to use the word “zen” with anything involving firearms), but it does get you into a contemplative frame of mind. At least until the zombies figure out where you are and swarm you. But until then: Bliss. I can’t think of anything better.

Oh wait, I can: If they were Nazi zombies. Yes.

(And no, I really shouldn’t be playing Left 4 Dead right now — waaaay too much stuff to do — but what can I say. Sometimes you just need to go after the zombie hordes.)

57 thoughts on “Man, If Blowing the Heads Off of Zombies With a Scoped Rifle is Wrong, I Don’t Ever Want to Be Right

  1. This has become my newest stress reliever. It’s so cathartic to blow the bits out of helpless zombies.

    L4D is truly epic, and the co-op play style is very well done.

    Could use a few more maps, though…

  2. May I suggest that blowing away zombies with anything other than a pump-action shotgun is somewhat, how shall we say, “blue state”. I mean I certainly understand the pleasure of plinking zach from 300 yards, but really couldn’t the same be said of dairy cows? I’m just saying…

  3. Actually, there can be a lot of zen in firearms, particularly if they’re fully automatic. Detachment and repetition, two key pillars of the meditative arts. My SKS was good for my teenage soul.

    Of course, there’s nothing like realizing how thoughtlessly you squeezed off 60 rounds to make you n advocate of (effective, common-sense) gun control.

  4. Ironically, there is a “Nazi Zombie” mode available after you beat Call of Duty: World at War. It’s been the only thing I’ve played for the past few days.

  5. it seems inadvisible to use the word “zen” with anything involving firearms

    as your zen lawyer, I advise you that I agree with that inadvisable advise.

  6. I’ve been hitting raiders, ghouls, and insane survivors in Fallout 3 myself, but I can see the appeal in zombies as well.

  7. I think I recall once reading some statistics saying that the rate of gun violence has gone /down/ since first-person shooters became popular. But I wouldn’t stake anything on it, and I can’t remember the source.

  8. I’ve had far less time to play L4D than I’d like. But what I have had has been phenomenal fun. Also, I’d just like to state that Versus is the best mode ever.

    PS. Is the hunting rifle worth the effort? I haven’t noticed many places where it can be used effectively.

  9. I’ve played everything Vale has to offer many times over, and this one will be interesting – particularly the “replay factor” with the dynamically changing levels, which supposedly offers a snowflake factor. I worked for EA for several years (and Kesmai, one of the MMO pioneers), and one of the things I learned along the way was that there’s a certain comfort level that players expect from a static level design. The 2nd jaunt though is always faster – does that make it more enjoyable, or less?

    The multivariate level design thing has been tried before (the vast majority being failures). Has anyone retried the same level yet?

    I’d like to see Kate Baker chime in on this. She’s a player’s player.

  10. I wouldn’t have expected a zombie to have that much blood in its noggin.

    I mean, wouldn’t it pretty much pool in the feet?

    I’d like to see that. A zombie flick where the zombies all look like they’re retaining water.

  11. This is why I have yet to buy any sort of game console. Teh interwebs proves plenty distracting enough. I can’t IMAGINE the time I would waste if I had a shiny play station of x-box to dominate my time. I’m in grad school, I barely have time for The Sarah Conner Chronicles and Heroes. let alone zombie head shooting-y goodness!

  12. My PC is starting to get a little long in the tooth. What are the specs for L4D? If the graphics are cranked way down, does the immersiveness vanish?

    There’s a pretty good, free, flash Zombie Survival game called The Last Stand 2.

  13. Huh, I must have made a typo in that link to the game, ’cause it’s not there. Curse this Comment-Previewless existence!

  14. Angelleon @5

    Funny. I felt just the opposite. Plastering something in semi or full auto is fun. Given enough ammunition even a chimpanzee can hit a target.
    However, learning the control and patience to be had by mastering muzzleloading single shot firearms is truly a zen like experience.
    The repetitive and contemplative actions involved are remarkably calming and centering.
    That said, splattering zombies calls for something more rapid fire than a Civil War era musket.

  15. I loved the demo and – RELOADING! – thoroughly enjoy the game for it’s – I’M RELOADING! – fast pacing, good action, and the – RELOADING! – attention it pays to all the required zombie movie – RELOADING! – tropes. It took us less than – I’M RELOADING! – two minutes into the game to become completely and utterly – RELOADING! – paranoid about turning corridors, opening – RELOADING! – doors, and going into – RELOADING! – dark rooms.

    If I’ve got one minor – RELOADING! – complaint with the game, it’d be that the – ONE SEC, RELOADING! – near constant exclamations of “RELOADING!” get just a tiny bit tedious after a – RELOADING! – while…

  16. Ahh, see here we have two differing types of zoning out (which is a way to say entering a zen state without getting lynched). Yes, the cloud-floaty drift of the crosswires across the horde can put one in a detatched, contemplative state, but the rhythmic thump of the shottie, with one’s mind up and to the right of one’s body, grasping the gestalt of the horde to send each flock of buckshot into the densest thicket of shambling undead where it’ll do the most good, slicing each second apart, whispering how many rounds one’s expended and how many are left in the pipe…

    Tellin’ ya, put on some Enigma or the “Walk in the Woods” bit of the Halo soundtrack and you’ve got Transcendental Murderification right there. Lovely.

    Do feel free to add Steam user “bogster” to your friends list. I gotcher back (etc)

  17. The pipebomb has become my number one way of stress relieve. Throwing it at a oncoming horde and seeing them turn around to follow it. Oh that wonderful bleep sound and finally, when a big group is gathered around it: KABOOM!

    Headshot are nice, in a kind of old fashioned way, but I’ll take the zombie pot-pourri anyday.

  18. to #24

    I’ve also noticed the “zen like experience” when shooting my flintlock rifle. There is some time compression going on too. Several times I’ve had a “WTF, I’ve been at the gunrange for 7 hours”!!!
    But seriously, there is great pleasure to be had working with a primitive firearm and finding a “recipe” that will make it perform.

  19. I see nothing wrong with zen marksmanship. See Zen and the Art of Archery:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_in_the_Art_of_Archery

    On the zombie-shooting angle, in your copious free time you should try out Fallout 3. Lots of post-apocalyptic zombies to headshoot. And raiders. Oh, and super mutants. Great fun. I’ve already beaten it once and am now playing it through again.

  20. I think we need Mythbusters to test whether zombie heads really detonate like that when struck by a rifle bullet.

    Hmm… where can we get some substitute zombie heads?

    (I started to list some likely candidates, but decided that this question might be worth addressing in a larger scale.)

  21. Djscman @22

    Minimum:
    o Supported OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64
    o Processor: Pentium 4 3.0GHz
    o Memory: 1 GB
    o Graphics: 128 MB, Shader model 2.0, ATI 9600, NVidia 6600 or better
    o Hard Drive: At least 7.5 GB of free space
    o Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

    From comments I’ve seen on message boards it runs quite well on those specs, but you do loose some of the fancy effects described here:

    http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=1962

  22. Dave and KenS:

    Interesting. For me, a muzzle-loader is like a manual transmission. I feel super competent using one, but I’m way to conscious of the individual steps of the process to find the zone.

    And I can’t believe that no one here has mentioned the ultimate zombie cure – flamethrowers!

  23. Angelle,

    Someone pointed out – very cleverly – that a flamethrower is too indiscrimate to be the ultimate anti-zombie weapon. No, this clever person pointed out that the maggot-thrower would be the perfect too. The little wigglers would nosh the undead flesh, but just gross the living out a bit.

    Also, funny.

  24. MarkHB,

    Several points occur to me regarding said clever device:

    1) Stopping power: Maggots may be a long-term countermeasure, but as a personal defense weapon they leave something to be desired. It’s not very consoling to know that your target will be stripped to the bone in six hours if he’s going to be noshing on your brains in ten seconds.

    1a) Range: On a related note, what’s the range of a maggot-thrower? I.e., what’s the maximum practical muzzle velocity for a maggot if you still want it to be functional when it arrives on target? Seems like this would be limited to a close-in weapon, which goes back to the problem of stopping power.

    2) You better be very very sure of the propagation vectors for zombie-ism before you put this weapon in the field. Taking out one zombie is less of a win if you create a thousand zombie maggots in the process.

    I’d recommend running a whole lot of carefully controlled tests (with flamethrowers on hand for mop-up) before putting this one in production.

  25. @Steve: Among my local LAN gaming friends myself and one other guy were forbidden to play on the same time when on that map. We’d spawn, grab the sniper rifles and then rack-up ridiculous frag counts while only the very quick were able to get away from the spawn points. *nostalgic sigh* Those were the days.

  26. John,

    On behalf of the zombie community, I have to protest your stereotyping of us as shambling, mindless hordes. Just because we’re undead doesn’t mean we’re uncultured. Yes, we want to eat your brain – but we’ll accompany it with a nice Chardonnay, while listening to Dvorak.

    OK, maybe Vivaldi. But that doesn’t make us evil.

  27. L4D is completely epic, yes.

    John! Is giving out your steam account name too personal? Would love to pounce on you and tear you to shreds someday (in the nicest way possible). Or, I guess, I dunno, be on your team. That’d be cool too.

  28. John, we will keep an eye out for you in case somebody makes a mod with militant-childfree, Confederate-apologist, intelligent-design-believing zombies. Presumably ZPH would be the boss monster.

  29. I’m still fragging weird alien/human/entrails hybrids in Dead Space myself, but L4D is definitely in my “to buy soon” list.

    Anyway, I wanted to point anyone who is interested towards http://www.geezergamers.com which is a community of 30+ year old gamers (primarily xbox 360 based) who play together in co-op and versus games thus allowing folks to skip the annoying 14 year old cuss-bombs out there. It’s a great place to meet gamers and wind up with a full “friends list” for online gaming.

  30. Actually, I’ll chuck that offer open to anyone, you all seem like good sorts so if you want a bit of L4D, RF2 or whatever splatterage, go on and bung me in your friends list. I’m sillybusy at the moment, so when I do snatch an hour’s gaming I’d like it to be with Really Good Sorts….

  31. # Angelleon @ 35
    20 Nov 2008 at 8:34 am
    Dave and KenS:

    “Interesting. For me, a muzzle-loader is like a manual transmission. I feel super competent using one, but I’m way to conscious of the individual steps of the process to find the zone.

    And I can’t believe that no one here has mentioned the ultimate zombie cure – flamethrowers!”

    All it takes is working in within the process. It will take some time and lots of lead and powder. But it is attainable. I found learning by an old (16th-19th centuries) military manual of arms. The break down into simple steps by the numbers was conducive to military discipline and creates an automatic flow of process. (Baron Von Steuben as Zen master?)

    As regards your ultimate zombie cure: Hell Yes! I’m there with that!

  32. Okay, Scalzi. You were right. The fact that you can drop four or five Zombies stood in a queue with one shot makes the Scoped Hunting Rifle the nummawunguninnagame.

    Just… just shut up. Shut up. Stupid smart people.

  33. The beauty of the game BloodRayne, a guilty pleasure of mine, was that the vast majority of the enemies were a) zombies; b) Nazis; or c) Nazi zombies. Add PVC-clad vampire heroine, and you had something close to gaming nirvana.

  34. I always heard about problems with the steam account. Some account get even hijacked? Do you still think it is wise to get a steam account, I am usually to lazy to get a game in a store, so I would prefere to download them. Or are there any other options.

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