Why Can't I Stop Playing The Last Stand--Dead Zone?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Why Can't I Stop Playing The Last Stand--Dead Zone?

While we've seen loads of new console and PC games alike come out in recent days--indeed, with the buildup to holiday shopping season well under way there will only be more titles to look at--an unexpected title has hit me upside the head. And in this title contains what would seem to be an interesting potential trend in the making.

Out at a little place called Armor Games, you'll find a variety of flash-game titles waiting with a variety of plots, capabilities and gameplay styles waiting. One of the newest is a persistent RPG / RTS title known as The Last Stand--Dead Zone. Based on the shooter titles of the same name, The Last Stand and its sequel, The Last Stand 2, The Last Stand--Dead Zone puts you in the midst of Union City, the ultimate destination of The Last Stand 2. Supposed to be evacuated by the government following that old horror movie staple, the zombie apocalypse, the opposite is quite true instead--users are regularly treated to explanations of the backstory as part of the loading screens which feature such choice tidbits as the government bombing residential districts in a bid to not only wipe out the zombie hordes that infest them, but also any survivors who happen to still be upright--and now, Union City is regarded as a "dead zone" by those outside of it. But there are people still alive in the dead zone, and you're one of them.

Users will build a civilization in the ruins of Union City, and will attend to a variety of matters therein like securing it against random hordes of zombies, improving the comfort with amenities like beds and outhouses, securing food and water supplies with vegetable gardens and water collectors, attracting survivors, and of course, making regular forays into the outside world to find those supplies vital to the rebuilding of your particular civilization.

So back to the question at hand. The interesting thing about The Last Stand--Dead Zone is that it has timed components, and all that time is real time. It may take an hour to build a water collector, and it will take an entire hour so to do. Upgrading systems, clearing junk, even returning from missions all requires actual travel time. Yes, these times can be shortened via the judicious application of hard-to-find fuel supplies, but for the most part, users will do a lot of waiting.

That's why this game finds me so amenable to it; it fits neatly into the breaks in a schedule. Five minutes here, five minutes there, and pretty soon you're talking about some big leveling up. It's a casual game with an overarching theme and storyline. It's Angry Birds on steroids times a million. It's almost impossible to spend hours playing this game, unless all the time spent playing it over a month or two is factored in. It's the greatest of coffee break games.

This makes me wonder if anyone will take notice. Sure, casual gaming is on the rise. Sure, tablet and smartphone games were most of the Tokyo Game Show. But is anyone else putting together a game like this little game found out at Armor Games? If not, maybe they should be, because making casual games that offer not only high-grade action and entertainment but also do so at a time frame that makes them easy to slip into a quick break makes for a casual game most anyone can get into.
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