I've always liked games that tell good stories, such as Go Home. I also like PC games which let you add characters, so you can include yourself and friends in the game. The Sims was probably the first time I'd experienced that. Recently I had a bit of fun with a zombie apocalypse survival game called Zafehouse Diaries (buy / review) that lets you import photos of you and your friends and create them as in-game survivors, along with photos of their homes and workplaces that you can visit and fortify in-game.
So, I entered some names, then sat back to see how my friends would survive in a zombie apocalypse. The game then lets you export all the actions as a diary. It didn’t go well. This is their story.
They made it to shelter.
Among the fragile group was a young warehouse worker called Reece; a tired middle-aged shop-worker called Joanne; a posh librarian called Alyson; Pete the gym instructor; and Sarah the bartender. They had no food or medical supplies. But at least they were alive.
The five of them were wary of each other. Reece wasn't adjusting well to the group, preferring to sit alone in the corner and sulk, but Peter was good with people and there was hope that he might be able to hold everyone together.
On the run from the zombies they'd met a weird guy at the outskirts of town. He said he was part of scavenger group looking for some spare parts, but they were attacked and he was the only one who survived. The guy had said there might be a vehicle in town that could probably be patched up if the survivors had the right parts. But there was a catch. There always is. The city outskirts are infested and getting more dangerous by the day. They'd also need to find a map before they could even think about leaving.
"I'm good with maps," said Alyson.
The group decided they would need to find a better place to stay than the building they we're in, so needed to scout out nearby places.
Joanne and Reece went to explore the warehouse at 4 Myrtle Court. "I know my way round these places," Reece said proudly. It wad a small building with numerous doors and windows. Not so easy to defend, but it could contain a cache of tools. Joanne and Reece scouted around the perimeter of the warehouse. They didn't see or smell any zombies outside, but peering through windows, they saw two zombies inside. They decided to play it safe since they were unarmed and crept back to our base, stopping every so often for Joanne to rest.
Meanwhile, Peter and Sarah went for a recon of the hotel at 5 Fallbrook Road. It was a large building with loads of rooms. Numerous entrances and windows. Peter and Sarah scouted around the perimeter of the hotel: clear outside, but crawling with zeds inside. Way too risky to go in unarmed, so they headed back, feeling happy after the successful scouting run.
"I'm looking forward to a good rest," said Pete, jogging along. "We were out for a whole hour."
Alyson had stayed behind in the abandoned house they were using as a base. She searched it and found a note about a recent scavenging operation. That could be useful. She also found cooking ingredients and snacks in the kitchen. She was annoyed that there were no working showers at the house.
Everyone was in a good mood. Reece did some exercise and Peter provided useful tips.
While the group rested Alyson did some more searching. She found more cooking ingredients, a bottle of Pineau, and a chess set. She could combine all these to keep people's spirits up. She felt that would be her best contribution.
While Peter was looking for a sturdy doorframe to do pullups on he found a crowbar. He hefted it in his hands. Yep, this could bash some zombie skulls in the right hands. His. He called a house meeting and suggested the four scouts go back out. There were bound to be good supplies nearby. And every dead zed was one less roamer to end up near their base.
Joanne and Reece approached the warehouse again, this time with the intention of breaking in. It was an easy place to get access to, so they didn't have to spend much time finding a way inside.
They headed to a balcony on the first floor leading to the loading dock. Once they got closer it proved tricky to access. There was a zombie in there. Joanne backed away, scared, but Reece grabbed a piece of wood and attacked, smashing the zombie's head in. He listened at the door: it sounded like there were only a handful of zombies wandering around downstairs. He was feeling fit and confident.
"Come on, Joanne. There's an old broom in the corner. You grab that, and we'll sneak down."
Meanwhile, Peter and Sarah approached the hotel. They climbed a large tree and Pete's crowbar let him prise the window open safely, snapping the lock off. They entered through a small, second-storey window leading to the first bathroom. One zombie. Pete didn't hesitate, whacking it across the head with the crowbar. It fell. So far so good. But the hotel was swarming with them. They could be overwhelmed at any time.
Joanne and Reece were still trying to clear out the remaining zombies inside the warehouse. They managed to reach the middle of the loading dock, where Reece said the best supplies would be, but there were more zombies than they'd expected, hidden in the shadows cast by the machinery and forklifts. It all fell apart. Joanne tried to sweep them back with her broom but they easily got past the defences. She was killed when four zombies mutilated, trampled her and bashed her in the head. Reece went down fighting, but soon three three zombies were eating his flesh.
Meanwhile Peter and Sarah were still trying to clear out the remaining zombies inside the hotel. Zombies poured out of the doorways, trapping them in a long corridor. Pete gave Sarah his crowbar and told her to run if she could, then he took deep breaths and entered a berserker rage using special gym-instructor training, attacking a load of zombies with his bare hands, managing to tear around ten of them apart before they downed him and bashed him in the head. Sarah hesitated, and ended up being eaten by six zombies as she flailed weakly with the crowbar. Blood soaked into the carpet.
Alyson knew nothing about the deaths of her friends. She also underestimated the danger. Without any spotters to warn her, she was caught off guard when a zombie made it into the house while she was busy searching upstairs bedrooms. She heard the heavy footsteps coming upstairs.
"Is that you, Pete?" she called.
The door creaked open and she faced the rotting stench of a zombie. It staggered towards her. She threw a box of towels at it and tried to run past. In the struggle she received some bruising, but she made it down the stairs, screaming.
She got as far as the kitchen. She was killed by the zombie's friend which had entered through the back door. It bashed her in the head then fell on top of her as she collapsed. It began to bite her and as her blood ran out, she wondered who would clean up the mess.
Oops. They lasted less than 6 hours. (If I’d been there it might have been different…)
The developers of Zafehouse Diaries tried their hand at another horror-themed game recently called Deadnaut (buy / review), which also lest you upload photos and create a squad of five people in an Alien-inspired setting. This has already inspired people to add their friends and turn it into a story.
If you enjoy that kind of thing you might also like Organ Trail (basically Oregon Trail + zombies), a fun zombie resource-management game which also lets you change the names of the players. Happy interactive story-creating!