Day Traders of the Dead

Zombie Shooter Straight-Up, No Finance Chaser

Conix Games
Suggested By:

danman says:
While I enjoy PTT's arty take on videogame culture, I also enjoy playing games where I get to blow shit up. Or, indeed, shoot monsters in the face.

Never let it be said that we don't aim to please.

Day Traders of the Dead is a Robotron-esque game (or perhaps more closely, a Smash TV-like game -- both Eugene Jarvis designs, of course). WASD to move, mouse to aim, hold the left mouse button down for continuous fire, kill zombies galore.

At Easy even I can play it, but higher difficulty settings should satisfy better shooter players. It's limited -- six levels, plus a survival mode -- with only two enemy types (day traders and CEOs). There are a variety of weapons to pick up, but no ability to swap among them; you just fire whatever you picked up last. A few powerups that do things like emit a shockwave to kill nearby zombies -- and the rest of the zombie drops are little bills, euros and pounds as well as dollars. Score basically equals the value of the currency you pick up.

So far so basically okay; another Flash overhead shooter, certainly playable but without a lot of depth. Which leads us to the theme; the title is certainly amusing enough, but aside from the fact that point drops are bills, there's no real theme integration here. The arenas are ostensibly the floors of different international stock exchanges, but this is a conceit and has no effect on play. Supposedly, the "day traders" are infected with a virus called G.R.E.E.D. (a cheesy acronym I can't be bothered to look up the meaning of), and the only solution is to shoot them, but this is a spurious justification with no deep connection to theme. And in fact, one presumes that the creator is basically butt-ignorant of the finance industry anyway, since stock exchange floors are not populated by day traders; day traders are dweebs who sit at home trading shit on a discount brokerage site the way some people play online Poker for a living. They're amateurs, in other words; the guys on the floor of the NYSE are professionals.

So yeah, I (or more likely the99th) could go off on some riff about the financial meltdown, the cultural connection between Romero's work and the crime, violence, and cultural decay of the 70s, and thus the cultural meaning of the current zombie revival in an equally uncertain era, but that would be essentially irrelevant here; fella did an overhead shooter, came up with a funny title. That's all, really.


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Well, to pose a question,

Well, to pose a question, why doesn't fatale end up being a 'Fella did a wander the maze game, came up with a nifty title' game as well?

It just seems like day trader has a much more clear and present win condition than fatale. But how does obscuring and hiding the win condition make fatale any deeper than day trader? Why is there supposed to be much more to fatale than day trader?


Looks like a fun game, in a "mildly diverting" way. Will check it out - I'm pretty much beholden to do so, given that you apparently wrote this review just for me :)

Callan raises an interesting point with the Fatale/DTotD comparison. I do think there is a tendency for players, when confronted with a game (such as, from what I read, Fatale) that has the traditional goals/gameplay structure missing, to attempt to fill the resulting gap by projecting or reading more "meanining" into it - that is, with this game, it's clear what the point is, so it doesn't get discussed. With games where the point is less clear, people go looking for one.

Which is fine and dandy to an extent, but I do feel that quite a few recent "art games" rely overly on the player projecting their own interpretation onto the game in order to give it some meaning, rather than having such meaning inherent in the game's content. I can't say for sure if "Fatale" is guilty of this, as I haven't played it, but from what I've read here and elsewhere, it sounds like itt might be.

Good questions. I'll answer

Good questions.

I'll answer your question with another question, why is it that actual daytrading, a game with simple graphics and only three verbs, end up being glorified by the media and major institutions as the meaningful engine behind our society, and games like this resort to mere parody?

Because when you daytrade little voices whisper in your ear "she must be a virgin, only a virgiiiiiiin would have a price so pure".

Demons and schitzophrenia determine what is revered and popular in this culture.

Fair 'nuff

I'm inclined to agree. I like your points about the potential of games to communicate certain kinds of information, and the wasted opportunity when they don't. I quoted your "homeland Guantanamo" review in an essay. Still, if someone wants to make an uninformed fantasy about splattering stock marketeers, I guess it's at least as intellectually valid as "Fuck the system" graffiti, which I'm in favour of. Sure, it doesn't say much, but I appreciate where they're coming from. It's interesting to see that, given the genre, and the fact that the theme is more or less arbitrary, that this was the chosen veneer.

Well put, danman, well

Well put, danman, well put!

Here's something, where an author talks about how often people try and screw with convention, when really that just means you end up talking to other people who like to screw with convention
From here:
"If you embrace the form, strive to entertain above all else, there really is no limit as to the crazy cerebral contents you can give the reader. I take the success of The Prince of Nothing as proof positive of this. The problem is that most writers interested in arguing with readers go to university, where they’re taught that forms, particularly popular commercial forms, are the devil. So they generally go on to write cerebral fiction that violates or “plays” with generic conventions, and as result end up generally writing for people who share their education and values. All their talent is squandered on people who already share the vast bulk of their thoughts – they simply become high end entertainers. Intellectual buzz merchants."

Daytrader certainly forfils entertainment, but I don't think it then goes on to add some medicine with that suger, so to speak. While fatale sounds as if it defies having that meaning danman talks about, and thus it basically only talks to people who think that way anyway. They both lack the other.

Daytrader and fatale need to have a lovechild!