Article 24—Zombie Nation Brochure (1990)

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I apologize for the shabby condition of this piece, a four-page flyer introducing the
surreal NES shoot-’em-up Zombie Nation. I had it stuck to the wall in my office with adhesive tape for a few years, and when I moved to a different office with a cork board, I stuck pins in it. I always loved video-game box art that featured photographs of miniature models as opposed to drawings, paintings or computer renders. So Zombie Nation was an obvious favorite, and this brochure allowed me to appreciate the little details in the image—like the baby crawling precariously on the edge of the grocery store roof, or the sculptor’s faint thumbprint on the belly of the Tor Johnson-lookalike zombie in the middle.

Now that I think about it, the Zombie Nation box art reminds me of the photos on Imagic games from the early ’80s. When Imagic released Demon Attack, Cosmic Ark
and other titles, a designer created objects to be photographed for the packaging by cannibalizing spaceship model parts and plastic toy creatures from the local hobby shop. That’s exactly what the Zombie Nation sculptor did, and eBay helped me to identify some of the objects he or she used. On the left is a Lionel railroad crossing signpost made for model railway sets; you can even make out the part number (309-29) in the photo on the front of the brochure. The supermarket comes from Bachmann Industries’ “Plasticville” series of O scale model railroad buildings, and the grocery is a vintage HO gauge accessory (manufacturer unknown). The television set is a 1970s-era Sterling pencil sharpener (with its lenticular “flicker” TV screen covered by scraps of paper). The car is a Hot Wheels “black wall” ’57 Chevy by Mattel, most likely from the 1977 Flying Colors series. Now if I could just sculpt me some zombies, I could build a replica of the Zombie Nation diorama in my own home!
© 2011 Chris Bieniek. Certain video game images, characters and logos on this Web site are copyrighted or trademarked by their respective publishers.