The Most Gut-Wrenching Game Trailer Ever?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 18 2011 10:40 AM

The Most Gut-Wrenching Game Trailer Ever?

I've barely had my morning coffee today, and I've already chokedup once.

The gorgeous, chilling trailer for the video game Dead Island has been ricocheting aroundthe Web, and it's a doozy. The game, a zombie shoot-'em-up, is set at a tropical resort. The wordless trailer, which moves backward through time, follows one person's experience during the melee:

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The trailer has already been recutand re-edited to show the events in proper chronological order.

I think the piece is benefiting a bit from lowered expectations ("Video games are capable of this ? Get outta town!"), but I still think it's incredibly effective.

Metaphorically speaking, zombies are a very flexible kind ofmonster; they can standfor a whole lot of things . But I think the real reason they're cropping up so often in popculture these days is precisely because of the emotional, narrative characteristicswe see in this trailer: Zombies, with their ability to suddenly turn familymembers and loved ones against each other, stir up primal feelings like noother monster can. One of the most moving scenes I saw in the early episodes ofthe AMC zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead involved a character and his young son holed up in a house that's being circledby the revenant who used to be their wife and mother. You know what the man isgoing to have do you can see it coming from a mile away as soon asyou know he has a shotgun but his dilemma is no less powerful for that.

Meanwhile, for any gamers who find themselves seduced by this trailer, Wired 'sGame Life blog recommendscaution , as "thisisn't really a game trailer in the traditional sense. It's not a series ofclips from the game....Though the trailer is said to capture the game's solemntone and setting, it is not the same thing."

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

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