The Zombie Minesweeper trailer was recently featured on IndieGames.com. What an extremely proud moment! Getting posted there has been one of the little tick-boxes on my list of 'things to do before I'm a real indie.'
However, there was a fairly strong sentiment running through the comments:
"Bleh.... zombies." ~Briker Ed
Zombies are a funny theme: They've been going strong for a long time, and regardless of how much fatigue players express, developers keep making these games, and players keep buying them! But that's no excuse for us to jump on the bandwagon and pump out 'yet another zombie game'. No, in fact our choice of zombies was fairly carefully considered, and it's just our burden that we have to push past all the 'me too' zombie games out there.
So why zombies?
The first thing was that, making Minesweeper, we wanted some kind of slow, clueless enemy. This would allow us to keep it a puzzle game where the enemies are there to add pressure, rather than having fast, smart enemies, which would have turned it in to more of an action game. We thought of a few different kinds of enemies, and zombies just seemed the most 'right'.
The second was that land mines are kind of a touchy subject, so we wanted an enemy that would be 'okay' to blow to bits. Again, there were a lot of possibilities, but zombies seemed to strike the right balance between 'okay to destroy' and 'make a big mess when you destroy them'.
We did try to inject our own flavour in to it though by making the zombies cute animals, and even plants (cue zombie mushroom). Although there are probably other games that have done this (there are a LOT of zombie games. ;) ), we felt that at least that was an aspect of zombies that hadn't been done to death.
But here is, I think, the most important part: We decided that we wanted zombies, and we threw ourselves into it fully. We considered the ramifications and alternatives, put our own style on it, and ensure that it was made to the highest quality. It's important to never get caught in the flow and do something without intention. Make a choice! Even if it's the wrong choice, being conscious of the decision allows you to evaluate the outcome and make better choices in the future. This is the only way to improve and be happy with what you've created!
- Graham Jans