It’s shooty, it’s got a good sense of achievement, it’s difficulty is progressive, it has a good multiplayer set up, it encourages teamwork, it’s simple and has simple mechanics. I like all of these things in a game. Yes it’s zombies but I suspect it came in the wave of zombie games before zombie games became the tired go-to for things to dispatch. You can’t have a game where one is to kill humans like this no no no that would be obscene, but zombies? Sure why not, they are already dead, and after all shooting waves of zombies with an infinite supply of ammunition is fun.
What is also fun are the different contemporary weapons available that these zombies drop as they die (again), like, the special forces were training at home depot in a mock hostage attempt as the zombie virus took them all leaving all of the employees and soldiers dead but still carrying the latest and greatest military and home improvement hardware as they died. They all collectively decided to gather out of town at a farm, or an asylum, or a prison. It’s just weird. Anyway, the weapon that grabs my attention instantly if it’s available in a game is a nail gun, it’s so great to have a high powered flesh shredding nail gun (thank you Quake). Maybe I need help but it’s so satisfying. Despite the inclusion of the nail gun, my current favorite combination of weapons is the M79 grenade Launcher and the AA-12 Shotgun, those 2 have great zombie clearing potential if you get the rage perk or a No Reload perk…so much carnage.
Well not actually Nation Red alone by itself but all games really. I’ve played video games my entire life and these days I try to avoid the ones that tend to become periods of zero productivity because I’ve spent so long playing them I now see that time as being better used elsewhere. So choosing the right games for me becomes quite important. Some games, namely MMO’s give me social circles and I’ve learned a bunch of skills about people management from them but that’s really stretching the imagination as to what tangible “rewards” one can gain from such a past time. If the objective of a game is a high score, I’m likely to pass on it because competing against myself so I can pat my own back isn’t really doing anything for me. However, as the objective of Nation Red is achieving a high score, and I seem to be enjoying the game, there must be more going on. If I am playing a game like this but with friends then my opinion about ‘ high score’ changes drastically. The objective of beating my previous best becomes quite important to me. It’s the benchmark of performance, it indicates how well I’ve played and how we play together, it’s how we indicate our tactical and strategical changes – if they work or if they do not. A low score means that something between us isn’t working so what could it be? Is somebody sick or depressed today? Is something else that’s not the game occupying our attention? A “better than usual” score might mean we are in the zone. It might mean that we are having more fun and so playing better because we are enjoying the experience. It might mean that only one of us is playing better today, but who? Normally this sort of thing is sorted out as we pat each others back on job well done and somebodies actions get singled out as being particularly awesome.
So really, a simple function like a high score can say quite a lot about a gaming group, and that is the best part of such a simple and REALLY old game mechanic. And looking at the time spent playing a game like Nation red in this positive way makes the game more interesting, at least to me it does.
I appreciate Nation Red a lot more when myself and my group try to improve on our previous attempts at zombie bashing, if every time we play we can improve our score then I feel that is time well spent. Perhaps playing games with friends is more important to me than the actual game we are playing. If we can have fun playing a game together (inevitably this is the case) then a game is worth the time spent to play it. And in this respect Nation Red is a good few hours of simple, shooty, messy fun, that I would recommend you play with friends or at least online multi-player.