Artist's zombie-like depiction of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is a Tea Party supporter.
If you cut a Tea Party zombie, does it not bleed? (Photo Credit: CC BY/sanchizmodesigns/Flickr)

As Election 2012 approaches, video game designers at StarvingEyes Advergaming have released a new title that has conservative critics up in arms. Entitled “Tea Party Zombies Must Die,” players are inserted into a zombie apocalypse where they must blast their way through hordes of zombies bearing the faces of real-life Tea Party politicians, supporters and Fox News commentators. Many note that while the game may add to the level of public entertainment, it does little to further public discourse.

Shoot up the Fox News studio

It is a given that all zombies must be put down with extreme prejudice – a popular sentiment that began with the films of George Romero and made its way into video games with such popular franchises as “Resident Evil,” “House of the Dead” and “Left 4 Dead.” It can be said that StarvingEyes is merely capitalizing on a popular trend, but when the setting is clearly the Fox News studio, and the zombie opponents are dead ringers for famous conservatives Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, critics go into a spastic zombie walk of outrage. A decaying cavalcade of rednecks, birthers and klansmen do not make for merely a catchy viral game, they amount to an attack upon conservatism, critics argue.

Free speech, zombie style

The National Review suggests that “Tea Party Zombies Must Die” crosses the satire line. StarvingEyes CEO Jason Oda, who calls “Tea Party Zombies Must Die” a “personal project,” doesn’t understand the fuss over his work.

“I am not worried about it affecting business,” Oda said.

Free speech is one thing, but as one Huffington Post reader points out, the free market place of ideas generally rises up to shut down more objectionable expression. Quoting a speech by President Obama:

“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized (and) we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do, it’s important… (to make sure we are speaking) with each other in a way that heals, (rather than) wounds.”

What video games should do

“Tea Party Zombies Must Die” brings up the question of what video games can be. While it’s easy to argue they are simply mindless entertainment, Dr. Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, writes in her book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” that games should focus on the task of making real life better for as many people as possible. While that may be too lofty a goal for StarvingEyes’ zombie massacre, perhaps the game could have taken the tactic of illustrating how the world might actually improve without the above-named “Tea Party zombies.” Zombie blood lust is fleeting, but lasting change is something in which we can all believe.

Tea Party Zombies footage (Note: Video game gore, political stereotypes)


Huffington Post:

National Review:

Tea Party Zombies Must Die:

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