Ah, the Tea Party. Relax, frothy-mouthed internet commenters, I come not to criticize. Whatever side you take, you have to agree they're a polarizing force in American politics: a "love it or hate it" kind of choice in the utmost extreme. Which is why things like Tea Party Zombies Must Die exist...
Tea Party Zombies Must Die is a "game" in the sense that it looks like something created under the guise of diversionary fun. You collect weapons and powerups while roaming around a level killing zombies. Pretty standard fare in today's gaming world, except that the zombies are all representatives and supporters of the Tea Party, from generic zombies like "Generic Pissed Off Old White Guy Zombie" all the way up to a two-headed Koch Brothers monstrosity and ol' "Cryin' Eyes" Glenn himself.
As a game, it's...well it's terrible. The controls are almost as muddy as the horrible brown graphics, the animations are stilted and contain about three frames each, and the sound is a cacophony of constantly-looping music samples and zombie growls. You roam around streets littered with signs depicting Obama as Hitler before moving into the Fox News offices and that's about where I gave up because seriously this game sucks.
You have no idea how hard it is not to make a Fox News joke right here.
Look, no one will ever accuse me of sympathizing with the Tea Party. But a game like this does nothing to help the cause of people against the Tea Party, either. What is the idea? Catharsis? If I wanted to hack muddy GIFs into chunky red pixels I could fire up a copy of the original Doom and STILL get better graphics.
Does it send a message? What message? That Tea Partiers deserve to be killed? Isn't that the exact same rhetoric they took so much heat for when Sarah Palin was putting crosshairs on government officials' homes? At best it's crude and lowering the level of political discourse. At worst, it's making a political faction you're going to need to work alongside (because as much as we all wish otherwise, we're in this together) feel alienated and offended or worse, inspiring some weirdo to commit actual violence.
And no, I'm not saying violent video games lead to violent behavior. But when you start creating scenarios for people to violently murder real-life people that are frustrating and infuriating them, I can't help but wonder if some fringe lunatic isn't going to want to take the next step. And I can say with 100% certainty that if some firm put out the exact same game but swapped out Tea Party Zombies for Liberal figureheads like Obama, Al Franken, et. al. there would be a big discussion about how this is too far and insensitive, etc. etc.
This reminded me that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I need to book a flight home.
The whole thing is set up by a "viral advergaming" firm called StarvingEyes. I'm not sure exactly who the client is for this thing, but I am curious as to what some of their other clients, companies like UPS, Pepsi, and NASCAR, companies who in general don't like to rock the boat politically, will think when they see it spreading across the 'net.
What's your take? Offensive to your beliefs? Enjoyable stress relief? Just another checkbox on the collapse of Western Civilization? Leave your comments (but keep it to the game and not your politics) below.
Shout out to Kotaku for the scoop.