I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 (2009) – SKA STUDIOS
On Xbox Live, quietly sitting in the corner next to the Arcade games and demos, you will find the Indie games section. For those of you who are unaccustomed to this, Indie games are basically small games that ordinary folk create using a set of tools that Microsoft offers developers (in a very similar nature to the Net Yaroze games produced on the original Playstation). These games are then sold at a basic price, nothing more than 200 MS Points, and offer a short, fun experience. The quality of these games can vary quite drastically, however there is one game on the service that stands heads and shoulders above everything else; and that is the 2009 hit I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 (or, I Made A Game With Zombies In It for those who do not speak 1337).
Created by James Silva of Ska Studios (whose other big title is The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai on Xbox Live Arcade), the premise for this game could barely be more simple. Using the left stick to move and the right stick to shoot, you take control of a character from an overhead point of view and kill zombies. Sure, the zombies drop powerups (increased speed, invulnerability and extra lives) and more powerful weapons (flamethrowers, miniguns and lasers amongst them – all of which have limited ammo), but in the main its just you versus the zombie hordes. What makes this game a supremely fun experience is two things; first of all, the simplicity means that anyone can jump straight in, which is helpful when you consider the game supports four player co-op. And second, there’s the song in the background. It’s a 10 minute track sung by Silva, which is fantastically tongue-in-cheek and describes the game you are playing (The chorus involves Silva belting out ‘I MADE…A GAME…WITH ZOM-BEES IN IT’). What happens though is that the song is split into different sections, and these directly relate to the gameplay; the slow, rocky sections is where you fight normal zombies, when the song speeds up you start fighting green globs of goo and snakes with red faces, and then when it hits drum and bass the screen has an epileptic fit and starts throwing diamonds at you, ala Geometry Wars. It’s a great gameplay dynamic. The background of the game also changes along with the music, which makes for quite a surreal atmosphere; playing this game drunk was one of the most mind bending experiences I have had with games; and I’ve seen a friend play Rez HD in the dark.
The game has become a great success for the Indie service; it had been downloaded over 300,000 times by August 2010, and remains the best selling game of all time on the service according to Xbox Live. When you do the maths, its clear to see why; simple yet addicting gameplay, a hilarious song (which made its way to Rock Band) and a great sense of humour, all for the price of $1 (80 MS Points in the UK). I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 is well worth the investment.