A Philosopher's Blog

Dead Island

Posted in Ethics, Technology, Video Games by Michael LaBossiere on June 25, 2011

While looking for some new co-op play Xbox 360 games, I ran across an upcoming game called Dead Island. The game is set, amazingly enough, on a resort island. The player must battle zombies in order to survive. Seeing the game made me think of an adventure I had written for GDW’s horror RPG Dark Conspiracy. This adventure, called Nightsider, was published in 1992 and the first part is titled “Dead Island.” The players are on a resort island and find that the inhabitants have been killed and raised up as zombies by a military experiment gone wrong. Naturally, there are secrets beyond that (involving my own creations, the nightsiders). But, aside from the name and the basic plot elements, Dead Island is different from my adventure. One weird thing: though my adventure is set on a fictitious island off the coast of Maine, the cover of the adventure shows a tropical setting (palm trees and the zombie kid has a dead parrot).

Perhaps someone involved in the project saw my adventure and got the basic idea from it. Perhaps the person does not even recall the adventure. Or, which is also a real possibility, it is just one of those coincidents that happen because gamers often think alike. To use one example, I have noticed that gamers often independently come up with the same names for characters, monsters and game settings.

“Dead Island” is also the name of part one of GDW’s 1992 Dark Conspiracy adventure, Nightsider. This adventure, written by Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere, features a vacation island whose inhabitants have been transformed into zombies by an experimental military weapon. This island is, however, located off the coast of Maine. Aside from the name and plot similarities, there is no known connection between the video game and the Dark Conspiracy adventure.

Naturally, I have no interest in attempting a troll style lawsuit. I would, however,  be interested in knowing if my adventure had some small role in the idea for the game-it is always cool to see that happen. I’ve been inspired by others, so I think it is only fair to try to pay it back in a small way.

I did attempt to put a blurb on the Wikipedia page for Dead Island clearing up that it has no connection to my adventure, but someone quickly swooped in to remove my addition. I am, of course, not urging people to add something like the following to the page:

“Dead Island” is also the name of part one of GDW’s 1992 Dark Conspiracy adventure, Nightsider. This adventure, written by Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere, features a vacation island whose inhabitants have been transformed into zombies by an experimental military weapon. This island is, however, located off the coast of Maine. Aside from the name and plot similarities, there is no known connection between the video game and the Dark Conspiracy adventure.

That would presumably be wrong. Right?

In any case, I am a big fan of zombies (which is why “Dead Island” leads off Nightsider) and video games. So, if Dead Island is any good, I’ll pick up a copy. If it sucks, I will curse it for tainting the name “Dead Island.” I really like that name.

Full disclaimer: I suspect that the genesis of “Dead Island” can be traced back to one of my favorite childhood books, The Bad Island. It has no zombies, but is about an island populated by monsters. I must confess that I still have it.

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3 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on June 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’m sure your RPG’s plot will be better than this video game’s. UGH!, another zombie !

    • Anonymous said, on June 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      there was supposed to be (insert noun) after zombie but it didn’t take.

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