From time to time, Mrs. Grimgnome is a doctor trapped inside a zombie-plagued town. She travels from building to building, in constant communication with a larger coalition of do-good-ing humans, trying to thwart the zombie menace. My dear wife, you see, is nearly addicted to a free on-line massively multi-player game called “Urban Dead.”
The game is basic, almost simplistic and easily overlooked by those thumb-twitching game-fiends who need flashy graphics to keep their attention. Since it’s web-based – and I know this isn’t unique to Urban Dead – it can be played on ANY computer that can traverse the Weird Wild Web which is refreshing in this era where games frequently require a platform upgrade. The game field is a three by three grid that represents the buildings and areas a player can see out of a relatively large city of Malton. (The Powers-That-Be prudently sealed off Malton shortly after the zombie’s started rising, y’know, to make sure things didn’t get REALLY out of hand.) Details about these areas appear in text and can be enhanced by certain objects, for instance binoculars. But only human players can use objects. Oh yes. In Urban Dead, players can also be zombies. In fact, human players turn into zombies when they are killed. And for that matter, zombies can be turned back into humans at “Revive Points”.
Since the object of the game is ongoing and so broadly construed, player groups have formed with other goals, some extremely idiosyncratic. Some are simple “neighborhood watch” type groups that keep the zombies out. There are zombie-based groups even that try to organize their destruction or give it a peculiar slant. One group, as I remember it, were scholars in life and hence they refuse to kill anyone found in a library, museum or school. A nice twist on the cliched zombie rally call “Brains!” These groups run their own websites that as far as I can see have no connection whatsoever to Kevan Davis, the guy behind Urban Dead. My wife’s group even appears to have a Firefox plugin that allows players to identify other group members in crowds as well as to track other kinds of information. They help each other, patrol their neighborhood of Malton, co-ordinate raids, heck, they might even have raves and tea-parties for all I know.
Kevan Davis keeps the site fun too with upgrades and special limited time events. For instance, on Hallowe’en for one day only, there were trick or treaters out, some wearing costumes, some knocking on heavily barricaded door for the stale candy that was available that day only from mall stores. Weird. But weirdly fun.
There is a relatively detailed WIKI for the game that can be found at:
Last year for Christmas, Mrs. Grimgnome got an Urban Dead t-shirt which she loves DEARLY, wears constantly — and washes occasionally. Get one for someone you love.