Japan’s Forgotten Yet Wonderfully Quirky Zombie Games

Japan’s Forgotten Yet Wonderfully Quirky Zombie Games

Let’s face it. With movies ranging from 28 Days Later to Pirates of the Caribbean and TV shows like The Walking Dead, it’s quite clear the world has itself a case of zombie-mania. In the realm of gaming, the Japanese have contributed to this as much as anywhere else with game series like Resident Evil, Dead Rising, and House of the Dead, just to name a few. But these are far from the only Japanese games that feature zombies.

In fact, Japan has been cranking out quirky zombie titles for years. Some of these you may have heard of, some of them not, but all are filled to the brim with everyone’s favourite form of undeath.

…Yeah, you heard me. Suck it, vampires.

Typing of the Dead

To say House of the Dead was a powerhouse in arcades would be an understatement. So it’s no surprise that Sega wanted every last possible cent they could get out of it. Hence the creation of the typing tutor game, Typing of the Dead. Surprisingly though, the frantic typing action of this game made it as much fun as the original (if not more so) and actually succeeded in teaching a generation of Japanese children to type. It was so popular that it was responsible not only for the creation of the Dreamcast’s keyboard controller but also for an arcade cabinet equipped with dual keyboards.

It’s thanks to Typing of the Dead that now everyone knows the greatest weapon against zombies isn’t the shotgun, it’s the typewriter.

The Last Guy

Using hi-res satellite images, PSN’s The Last Guy presents the zombie Apocalypse in a way like none other. Moving through an actual city map, you collect people from the buildings you pass and they line up behind you. Your goal is to rescue as many people as possible by getting them to the escape zone before the zombies/monsters feast on your ever-growing line.

Of course, no one knows to this day why one promotional video implied it was made by three Indians and a goat living in the Himalayas.

Zombie Revenge

Zombie Revenge is a 3D beat ’em up released both in arcades and on the Dreamcast. A spin-off of House of the Dead, this game is filled to the brim with everything you’d expect: tons of guns, even more zombies, and some of the most hilariously bad voice acting you’ve ever heard. It’s just one long, over-the-top zombie slaughter-fest from beginning to end.

And it’s really hard to say something bad about a game where you routinely punch zombies till they explode.

Undead Knights

After a family of knights is slaughtered by their king, they find themselves resurrected by an unseen demon so as to get revenge for their murders upon any and all responsible. Not only are the main characters zombies in the PSP title Undead Knights, but they also have the power to force any of their defeated foes to join their army of undead servants and help them get revenge in this hack ‘n slash adventure.

Zombie Nation

Though called Zombie Nation, this NES classic shoot ’em up has very little to do with zombies. This is because, of course, the game had nothing to do with zombies in its original Japanese inception. But with a couple sprite changes and a wall of text, this went from a game about a tengu to one about a giant, flying samurai head rescuing the zombie-fied population of America by eating them.

It is exactly as crazy as it sounds — especially when you reach the game’s second boss, affectionately referred to by one reviewer as “Naked Zombie Sean Connery“.


  • I’ve been trying to get my hands on the PC version of Typing of the Dead for a while. Unsuccessfully.

  • Used to play typing of the dead heaps a few years ago. Such an awesome and scary game. One mistype on the keyboard could mean your life.

  • The only issue I have with this article is that Typing Of The Dead was NOT the cause of creation for the Dreamcast keyboard. That would have been the fact that the Dreamcast was internet capable.

  • My missus (Japanese) got her hands on English of the Dead on DS. All of the phrases in the game are read in a monotone, muffly, slightly bored sounding drone.

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