If I ever get back to writing my Libertarian Gamer columns, I'll be sure to do one on the Living Dead. Zombie flicks have had political overtones almost since the beginning reaching their pinnacle with George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Reason.com writer Tim Cavanaugh surveys three books on the subject -- including my favorite Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture by Annalee Newitz -- and offers his own thoughts on the subject matter:
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers-type plots--in which some sort of alien menace arrives on earth and start replacing people with mindless automatons--have long been a staple of sci-fi/horror cinema.
There have been three formal Bodysnatcher films, the original from 19XX and two remakes, in which real people are taken over by drone-like “pod people”. Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters ignores the pods, and instead goes with parasitic aliens which assume control of a person’s mind and nervous system. The Faculty,
The Maple Society
A secret society dedicated to absolute egalitarianism, with everyone being completely equal in every way. To this end, they seek to assassinate higher-colored individuals within the complex (particularly those who lord their power over others), steal from those who have more to give to those who have less, and conduct unending genetic experiments. Originally these experiments were designed to uplift mentally challenged individuals to normal cognition levels, but this proved to be too difficult. Now they seek to unleash a genetic plague that will reduce everyone to the same lowest-common-denominator level of intelligence.
This noble goal has been achieved numerous times, but unfortunately the geniuses that create the plagues inevitably tested it on themselves before telling anyone else how to deploy it. At this point, the group has accumulated several dozen contagions that it has absolutely no idea how to use.
Missions: Kidnapping researchers to help them determine the proper way of releasing one of their many plagues, test missions to release the self-same plague, equalizer missions aimed at killing higher ranking individuals, conformity missions designed to enforce conformity throughout Alpha City (e.g. if one section does not have heat, then all sections should not have heat).
Atlas stood crouched on the launch pad, his arms holding up the bulky form of a $250 million, 1.5 ton communications satellite. He shifted the weight easily, adjusting his grip on the titanium handholds mounted on the satellite's protective shroud, then spoke softly into his headset. "Launch Control, this is Atlas. Ready for orbital insertion." A smooth, crisp, feminine voice replied back. "Confirmed Atlas. T-Minus five minutes to launch. Be advised Farstar is in position as well, and ready for geostationary TP in 10."
The Libertarian Gamers Project is having a lively conversation about using the Star Wars campaign setting to run just about any type of game imaginable, from space opera to noir detective stories to medical dramas. I posed a counter argument that just because you could run a medical drama story in Star Wars doesn't mean that you should.
The idea that kicked off the hold discussion was Jay Hailey's proposal for an Age of Alderaan in which modern day adventurers find themselves in a galaxy far, far away.
A few months ago I picked up Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS, partly because I'd heard good things about it, partly because its a kid-friendly game I can play with my daughter, and partly because I'm always looking for games for my DS that are different from the norm. What surprised me is just how pastorally libertarian the game is.
In the last issue of the Libertarian Gamer, I laid the ground work for a libertarian campaign set in the classic post-apocalyptic setting known as Gamma World, laying down some campaign guidelines and destroying the world. Now it's time to rebuild it.
In the distant future, Earth will be in ruins. The land will have been ravaged by a horrific assortment of doomsday weapons, from nuclear bombs to genetically engineered super-viruses to hunter-killer nanites. Mutants -- both human, animal and things horribly in between -- roam the Earth ... and consider it home. They compete with the surviving human settlements, which must fight off starvation and mutation, as well as the other denizens of their far-future Gamma World.
So who should ride into save the day? Why the capitalists of course!