I had finally snuck up to a promising building without getting chewed up by zombies or shot at by other players. It was at one end of an airport. It was clear that someone had recently holed up there, as I found the door blocked off by barbed wire. I snuck around it, and kept sneaking — if a human showed up with a gun, I was basically fucked. I hoped to either not get noticed, or manage to convince the person to leave me alone while I leave the way I came in.
But, there was nobody there.
I searched the place for something — anything — I could use. I think I found a can of Pepsi. I worked my way up the ATC tower, and eventually to the roof… nothing. I used the opportunity to lie prone and scan the horizon — well, as much as my crappy video card would allow me — and I heard a shuffling on the ladder. “Fuck,” I thought. “I guess I’m starting over again.”
Except it was a dude. He had no gun. He thought I was dead for a second, approached me to see if my corpse had anything, but then he saw me move. We both froze for a second. One of us, me I think, eventually asked “friendly?” and the other replied “yeah.”
We asked each other for various things for a minute or two. He needed food; I had none. I wanted bandages; he had none. We both kinda stood there for a while, awkwardly, both realizing the other was harmless and useless. Then, another shuffling. A zombie had followed this asshole, and now it was coming at him, as he was closer to the ladder. He jumped off the roof, broke his leg, and the zombie followed and died. I followed him down, using the ladder, waiting for him to die to take whatever he had. Cold, I know. He crawled further, fell off another ledge, and died.
The location he crawled to? There was no way to get there without breaking a leg. He died out of my reach just to make sure nobody would get the Pepsi he was probably hoarding. I looked for a way to get to him, realized it was impossible, and moved on.
Sure, the game is broken as hell, and takes forever to set up, and the interface is about as intuitive as Dwarf Fortress, and the whole game was even more ruined when it went on sale and a million people rolled up on it and started shooting at each other — but those weird little moments where you’re just trying to survive and you meet someone else who’s trying to survive and you both realize you’re fucked — that’s what a zombie video game should be about.