Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Developed in the United States by LucasArts
Published by Konami
Released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is one of the true oddballs in Western video game design, an homage to American B-Movies jammed into the template of the top-down run-and-gun shooter. It’s quite atypical of the genre: The shooting and movement mechanics aren’t particularly great, despite assorted internet chatter that would argue elsewise, is quite an easy game. Instead, the star of this show is its unique progress mechanics, which allow players to choose their own path and direction for “rescuing their neighbors” in the game’s fifty-plus-levels. Combined with the absurd number of useful weapons and items, an exceptionally flexible level design engine, memorable monsters, and a great sense of humor (sold wonderfully through both art design and game mechanics), ZAMN stands quite alone in its genre and the medium at-large.