on Jan 23, 2013
Last week reader Mr. Guy commented, “Ask me about my zombie plan.” This was in the context of talking about The Walking Dead and our criticism of Kenny’s plan to survive by cramming the group onto a rowboat and watch each other die because we have no food, drinking water, fishing gear, cooking supplies, protection from the elements, or common sense. (Or whatever he was trying to accomplish. We don’t see enough of his plan to understand what he was aiming for, long-term.)
As bad as Kenny’s plan is, I think it’s the best one in the game.
- Doug: Find a group of competent people and fix their iPhones.
- Larry and Lily: Rule over people like a mad despot until you run out of food or the group turns on you.
- Lee: Find someone with a plan and follow them around.
- Ben: Find someone willing to take you in and then help them to death.
- Bandits: Let’s murder people for prescription drugs until civilization recovers enough to make us more drugs!
- The St. Johns: Let’s form a soccer team and eat each other!
Yeah. Not a lot of great plans here. I think Doofenshmirtz throws away better plans than these.
So… what would your zombie plan be?
No wait. That’s much too broad and lacking in parameters. What I’m really interested in is how you would guide something like Lee’s group to success. Some of you have real-world food stockpiles, bunkers, guns, sports equipment, and muscles. Good for you, but that doesn’t help a character in The Walking Dead universe. So let’s define some starting conditions.
Let’s assume the zombies behave according to the rules of TWD. I realize this is a bit difficult, since zombie stories are always pretty sloppy about rules and TWD plays fast-and-loose even by the standards of the genre. (Teleporting ninja zombies.) But we have to pick SOME universe, because the 28 Days Later zombie plan is very different from your Left 4 Dead zombie plan. In the former, infection is an extreme threat but the infected are doomed to perish before spring, so your plan needs to keep you isolated and hidden for five months or so. In the latter it’s assumed that if you’re alive, you’re immune, and you don’t know when the infected will die. One plan calls for a bunker and the other implies ongoing combat to secure resources.
So let’s assume we’re working within the parameters of TWD: Anyone that dies comes back as a walker. Walkers are mindless and slower than humans but seem to be inexplicably strong. We don’t know how long they will last, so your plans shouldn’t assume they will all be gone next year. Wildlife seems okay and the food-chain is apparently intact. There’s still small pockets of food and fuel to be scavenged, but those are finite. Bandits might be a problem.
Let’s assume you’re guiding a normal, healthy adult. Not an athlete, but also not someone with serious health problems. (I can’t ever contemplate myself in Zombieland, since my asthma would likely kill me in the first month.) You start out like Lee: In some random location where you don’t know your way around and you don’t have any close family to depend on or worry about. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll assume you make it through the first few days and get some basic weapons along with a bit of food. You have a safe place to stay for a week or so. Given all this… what do you do next?
- Do you seek out people to form a team, or do you go all lone wolf? If you do travel with people, what criteria do you use for choosing companions? If you join a group, what do you do when a Larry joins, or a Ben?
- What kind of weapons do you carry? How do you carry them? What other gear do you lug around? Limit yourself to gear that people are normally able to obtain in these stories. So, no tanks. I realize that this seems sort of arbitrary, but “IMMA GET AN F-15 FIGHTER JET LOLOLOL!!!!” seems like cheating. Let’s assume military bases are fortified and you’re warned off by snipers. Stick to stuff that’s available in public places: Stores, homes, schools, etc. No secret bunkers, no government research facilities, no military facilities.
- If you’re in North America. then where will you go? There’s a lot of territory here, and Tampa is pretty much a different planet compared to Anchorage.
- How do you dress?
- What’s your long-term plan? Do you look for a boat and live at sea? Do you look for a farm and try to grow crops? Do you look for some suburbs and scavenge? Do you head for the wilderness and hunt?
What is Your Zombie Plan?
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.