Zombies On Nintendo Systems Through The Generations
by Mia-Beth Honey
Zombies have been the highlight of gaming for generations, more than ever now. With the ability to make us, laugh, jump, and cry (and bust some serious headshots) is it any surprise they’ve been such a success and that so many zombie games have been produced? So, let’s take a look back and trace the lineage of zombie games that have appeared on Nintendo systems throughout the generations.
The zombie gaming timeline really started for Nintendo in 1994, with the release of Zombies Ate My Neighbours (SNES) , which became a cult classic just a few years after its release, January 27th 1994. The game was based on the classic concept of zombie horror movies and pushed in some real “scary” characters (for their time). The zombie concept is what sold the game and is still selling the game – with a total of 48 bone-crushing levels, the game still sells boldly – since it’s re-release on WiiWare in late October 2009.
But the real game began when Capcom jumped on the Nintendo boat, releasing Resident Evil 2 on the Nintendo 64 with better perks than any other platform the game was sold on, including bonus costumes and giving the gamer a chance to choose the level of violence they deemed appropriate. Although it’s graphics are primitive in relation to today’s modern take on things, its ability to induce nostalgia makes it a collector’s item. Capcom stayed on the boat, between 2000 and present, and still manage to dominate the world of zombies, Nintendo or otherwise.
In 2001, Resident Evil Gaiden (GBC) was released, a true collector’s item in anyone’s eyes, most only lucky to have played a less enjoyable emulation of the original game, which, again has a wonderful nostalgia inducing affect.
Later on Capcom further produced a large amount of the previously successful series on GameCube – Resident Evil Remake surfaced on the console around 2002 – it held immense superiority in the graphics department in comparison to the rest of the games available on the console at the time. This was then followed up by the re-release of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 (2003), all of which are still being played, even with the technology available today, and also sell for a reasonably high price (anywhere between £10 and £100 dependant on the condition of the game and packaging.)
This is more than likely due to the fact that Gamecube games can be played on the modern Nintendo Wii, with the help of a Gamecube memory card and a classic controller. The more recent RE’s have been mash-ups of those previously successful, such as The Darkside Chronicles, developed exclusively for Nintendo Wii , which desperately tries to cling on to the nostalgic players – but releasing this in 2009 was a big mistake. So many successful zombie games were produced in 2009 that Capcom’s bold attempt to cling on to their classic players lost them.
All is not lost, though! 2009 was one of the best years for Nintendo based zombie fun – including games that are based on childhood fantasies and fear in the simplest way, such as: Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Released on Wiiware), which you may have guessed was fueled by the childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland. And, Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (released on DS), and once again – as you may have surmised- based on the childhood classic Little Red Riding Hood . Not only that but the remake of the classic Zombies Ate My Neighbours was also released on WiiWare, selling as well as you’d expect a cult classic to sell. Dead Rising and House of the Dead, were also stars of that year – House of the Dead Overkill (released for Nintendo Wii) pushing the boundries of violence, sexuality, and inappropriate language, and guess what? We loved it! It created a real humorous atmosphere, that made Sony just want to join in too – which they did, but two years too late! Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, was also released – also pushing a humorous fun atmosphere, but keeping the 72 hour ticking pressure bomb on us, to make sure things aren’t too funny and the fear is still inevitable for those that just don’t have the slicing skill to survive.
2011 held one of the most well known (non-Capcom) zombie games released, Plants vs Zombies, which was popular with the majority of age-groups because it managed to strike the balance between appropriate and fun, even with zombies – I know, it seems impossible! Fighting zombies… with plants? Who’d had ever thought it would catch on? Still, Plants vs Zombies is Nintendo’s Angry Birds, solid, easy to get into, and addicting. You have to try it, and once that happens – its only a matter of 6 levels away until you hit tired eyes and the fact you haven’t moved out of your seat for 12 hours.
Capcom attempted to jump back on the boat this year, with Resident Evil Revelations (Nintendo 3DS) which is definitely gaining mixed opinions from everyone, some claim it’s the best they’ve ever played – others claim Capcom pushed way too hard to get back into their old habits. From my observations? They’ve combined two things that all zombie fans love, survival horror and action, and from what I see, you can’t go wrong, especially with a resume like Capcom has!
If Resident Evil Revelations is anything to go by, the zombie future is definitely looking up – with improved graphics, feistier violence and more blood-wrenching fun being acceptable…But if you do feel like looking back for a second, and catching some of that nostalgia I mentioned, several times – Here’s the top five Zombie games I recommend;
1. Zombies Ate My Neighbours (SNES)
2. Resident Evil 2 (N64)
3. House of the Dead Overkill (Wii)
4. Plants Vs Zombies (DS)
5. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (DS)