As lifelong comic book fans we’ve spent a fair amount time with the space alien meets virus Venom over the years. No doubt comics themselves have had their fair share of viruses, or outbreaks or epidemics - with Venom being the first character we think of whenever the ‘v word’ is brought up. But on that note it’s a stretch to call Venom a virus. The symbiote might be amorphous but it’s both sentient and has feelings (rejection and revenge, after all, are what lead the symbiote and Eddie Brock to even become Venom
). But that liquid-like makeup of the alien portion of Venom sure does conjure thoughts of it acting like
And so that got us thinking about viruses in games. Games are so much about power and gaining experience while fighting impossible odds, that viruses would be near the top of the list of “impossible odds”. However, a game where you can’t overcome those odds would be a bleak one indeed, and thankfully our medium gives you the agency to get on with it, while also saving the world -- or universe -- in most cases. Thanks to the digital and home entertainment release of VENOM we thought we’d explore some of gaming’s greatest, and most catastrophic, viruses.
5. The T-Virus - Resident Evil Series
It’s probably the most famous virus in the videogame landscape. And it comes from the nefarious Umbrella Corporation, which might as well be co-owned by Trump for all its shady actions over the years. Leon S. Kennedy likely suffers from serious PTSD due to what it’s put him through (coupled with the Plagas from Resident Evil 4), but like most viruses, it started out with less of a ‘weaponised’ lean, and more to help humanity on the whole. Naturally, however, as these things go it backfired, zombies became reality and the S.T.A.R.S. team went on the permanent overtime roster.
: Avoid any cities with Raccoon in their name and you should be fine.
4. The Necromorph Virus - Dead Space Series
While not specifically cited as a virus, the necromorphs of the Dead Space series have been affected by a recombinant extraterrestrial infection, which results in the creation of the Necromorphs. The point of the infection, according to worshippers of the Markers that spread it in the first place, is part of a cleansing of humanity. Isaac Smith, however, does not hold this sentiment in any form of high regard and as such discovered, quite by accident, the best way to deal with them - “cut off their limbs”. Not quite zombies, but arguably more aggressive, smarter and more adaptive, the common enemy of Dead Spacers
upped the jump scare ante of survival-horror games and then some. Hopefully we see a revival of the series in some form in the future.
: Join the Church of Unitology or invest heavily in either a Plasma Cutter or a Line Cutter. You might find both at Bunnings if you look hard enough.
3. The Genophage - Mass Effect Series
The Genophage might as well have been invented by Umbrella Corp, given its purpose. But in (suspended) reality it was created by the Salarians as a deterrent, then utilised by the Turians as a means to halt Krogan procreation because of the Krogan predisposition for conquering. And while successful in its initial purpose, the knock-on effect now means Krogan are far more willing to die for their cause given they have an almost fatalist view of themselves as a race. There’s also still no known cure, though many Krogan are now rejecting the aforementioned “fatalist view” in favour of a a future they can control.
: Either become friends with Urdnot Wrex or Grunt, or just stay away from Tuchanka altogether.
2. The Green Flu - Left 4 Dead Series
Given the nature of the zombies found in Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead series, it’s any wonder an anti-virus hasn’t been found. This particular zombie-creating strand of virus mutates and can be contracted in both an airborne sense, and through other means. It’s aggressive and adaptive nature makes it one of the worst to ever hit a fictional videogame setting, and with a rumour we’ll be seeing an announcement around a new Left 4 Dead game in the wake of the poorly-managed Evolve (publisher-side, not developer-side), it might be time to start considering some gas masks again, sometime soon.
: Get yourself three shotgun-competent friends who don’t like Directors.
1. Cordyceps Brain Infection -- The Last of Us
Yeah, we acknowledge that most of these viruses have zombie-creating properties, but that’s something you might need to take up with the game creators. We’re just here doing our best viral
reporting. Of all the viruses we have spoken about though, Naughty Dog’s Cordyceps Brain Infection might be the worst. Why? Because it’s a fungal infection that managed to decimate more than half the human population in less than a year. It also makes the infected look weird
, and also adversely makes us never want mushrooms on our pizza ever again.
: Leave the light on, and make sure you live in an arid postcode.