Lately, it seems like all of the proper scares have been popping up from independent studios. Horror games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Slender: The Arrival make players quiver in fear more often than the triple-A offerings sitting on store shelves. Without having major focus groups to please or sequel expectations to fulfill, smaller studios can more clearly represent the frightening concept they want to convey.
Similarly, if an independent studio wanted to make a relatively simple and fun game about friends eliminating hordes of zombies to a goofy theme song, then keeping other cooks out of the kitchen might be the best way to go.
Officially titled as I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1, this delightful game debuted on the Xbox 360 in August 2009. Sold for only a dollar through Xbox Live’s Indie Marketplace, this game let up to four players mow down legions of increasingly difficult and absurd zombies in a top-down, twin-stick shooter fashion. The simple controls and gradual difficulty curve emulates the arcade games of old, where a player’s only goal is to survive and set a high score. What sets this fun little gem apart is the glorious music that serves as a single-song soundtrack to the carnage.
Instead of a chiptune background beat or a symphonic movie-style score, I Made a Game With Zombies In It features a roughly 14-minute hard rock journey from the developer himself. The tempo of the song flows with the gameplay, featuring slower beats when the action cools and shreddin’ guitars when things get frantic. Even the lyrics fit the on-screen onslaught, as they center around the game itself. Right from the start, developer James Silva melodically welcomes you to his game and gives you basic instructions on how to play (zombies come shambling out from all si-aye-ides/you’d better shoot them, or you’re gonna die-aye-aye). Since the game lasts as long as the song, the whole experience feels like some sort of awesome concert you have to fight your way through.