ME: So the federal budget got announced –
FLAPJACKS: Oh, god, are we going to have the boring budget conversation? Stimulus infrastructure spending jobs jobs jobs. There. I said everything we could ever say about the budget. Can we talk about Left 4 Dead now?
ME: What is there to talk about? It’s a good game.
FLAPJACKS: I have moral issues with it.
ME: About a game where you shoot zombies.
ME: I somehow know I’m going to regret asking why you have moral issues with it.
FLAPJACKS: Well, technically they are not “zombies.” They are “infected.” Which is why they can run fast like in 28 Days Later, see. So that means that these are simply poor diseased people.
ME: But in the game society has completely broken down as a result of there being so many zombies, and as a result of their proclivity to murder anything living.
FLAPJACKS: But isn’t that breakdown our failure? Why are we punishing the poor, sick people who, were they in their right non-zombified minds, would be horrified by their actions, and also not very likely to chase after a pipebomb like they were cats pouncing on yarn?
ME: The pipebomb thing is weird, isn’t it?
FLAPJACKS: The game seems to say that zombies will chase after anything that beeps. So that begs the question: why don’t you get more things that beep? Screw the guns, I’m gonna go find me some battery-operated clock-radios. They’ll keep me alive longer. You don’t go to the gun shop; you find yourself a Radio Shack and you’re ready for any undead zombie swarm.
ME: But the superior zombies, the ones with powers – they ignore the beeping. So you need guns to take care of the big bad undead.
FLAPJACKS: Clearly second-stage undeath gives one eardrums of steel.
ME: I don’t think that’s right.
FLAPJACKS: And another thing. How come you can only carry one grenade in this game? Is that even remotely realistic?
ME: Sure it is.
FLAPJACKS: How is that realistic? Grenades are small.
ME: Think about it. Say you are wearing pants with pockets, a shirt, and shoes –
FLAPJACKS: And socks.
ME: All right, and socks.
FLAPJACKS: I don’t want my shoes to smell like feet in the zombie apocalypse.
ME: Yes. Okay. Socks. Anyway, my point is this: you wear the medpack like it is a backpack. You have your pistols in holsters. You have your primary gun slung over your shoulder when you don’t use it. This leaves you two pockets: one can hold your pain-pills, and the other holds a grenade. You don’t have room to carry a second grenade. Especially when you consider that your options are either a Molotov cocktail or a pipebomb, neither of which is exactly compact.
FLAPJACKS: Firstly, where are all the real grenades? I mean, you find dead Army guys all over the place in this game, and frequently you find huge piles of ammunition and assault rifles and combat shotguns just, like, lying around. They didn’t bring any grenades?
ME: What good would real grenades be, though? They don’t beep and they don’t set zombies on fire. Maybe the soldiers used all the real grenades and found out the hard way that grenades aren’t that useful against a zombie swarm.
FLAPJACKS: Actually, that makes sense.
ME: Of course it does.
FLAPJACKS: All right, I withdraw my complaint about the lack of proper grenades. But that doesn’t address my other issue, which is “why don’t I get, like, a fanny pack or something in which I could store extra Molotovs or pipebombs.”
ME: Well, you’d need the fanny-pack to be front-slung, right? For easy grenade access.
ME: So do you really want that much gunpowder and/or kerosene right up against your crotch?
ME: There we go.
FLAPJACKS: Still, I would like to press the development team to include some of my ideas for the next patch.
ME: Oh, Christ, not the elephant stampede again.
FLAPJACKS: Come on. It would be the ultimate powerup. There is no problem an elephant stampede cannot potentially solve.
ME: Putting aside the question of why there would be enough elephants to stampede the zombies in the first place, and the question of how one could realistically summon a herd of elephants in this post-apocalyptic scenario, wouldn’t summoning the elephants be problematic?
ME: Ever think that maybe the elephant stampede might be counterproductive?
ME: Well, what if you got caught in the elephant stampede? Or a teammate?
FLAPJACKS: Or Nelson Mandela?
ME: …what is Nelson Mandela doing in the zombie apocalypse?
FLAPJACKS: He survived brutal imprisonment for thirty years. He’d be able to handle some lousy zombies.
ME: Anyway, that’s my point. The elephant stampede – quite apart from being ridiculous – would be counterproductive.
FLAPJACKS: But that is exactly why it has to be included. It demands a greater degree of playskill to use effectively. It is not a bludgeon, but a scalpel.
ME: A scalpel that is made of maddened elephants.
FLAPJACKS: Exactly so.