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Dead Rising 3 Turns Undocumented Immigrants Into Zombies

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"Dead Rising 3 Turns Undocumented Immigrants Into Zombies"

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This seems…worrisome, and not just because it’s a retread of the lengthy philosophical debates that made the first half of this season of The Walking Dead drag:

That’s concept art for Rick, the lead character in Dead Rising 3 on the right. He’s an orphan and works as an auto mechanic. When the zombie apocalypse breaks our Rick is unsure of himself, so he isn’t the same kind of character like Frank West. His plan is to restore a plane and escape Los Perdidos before a bomb goes off and destroys the already ruined city. As a player, getting the plane to fly is one of your main goals.

One interesting tidbit a source tells Siliconera, is Dead Rising 3 has an undercurrent of themes about illegal immigration. Another character called Red leads an underground group of “illegals,” which are infected people that aren’t registered by the government. Annie, Red’s girlfriend is a runaway that’s sympathetic to the infected. While some survivors are helpful, others went berserk. One of the psychopaths you fight is a biker gang member who drives a “Roller Hog” – that’s a motorcycle with a steam roller attached to the front.

It’s a good thing to have a character who’s sympathetic to the characters who are stand-ins for undocumented immigrants. But I’m not sure it’s exceptionally productive to have as a premise the idea that people with diverse motivations for taking a tremendous risk are a diseased horde who ought to be registered with the government. There’s no question that there are big forces that motivate people to come here by means other than the legal process, ranging from economic opportunities in the United States to instability in Mexico. But being acted on big forces doesn’t mean that the decision to come here illegally is any less of an individual choice.

The most productive way to talk about a workable immigration reform solution seems, to me at least, to balance a discussion of those forces with an insistence that we see immigrants themselves as people on their own terms. It’s a lie to paint all undocumented immigrants as dangerous offenders just because they non-violently broke laws to come to the United States. And it’s not really productive or sustainable to insist that all undocumented immigrants are saints—no community or collection of communities can live up to that kind of weight. This metaphor may try to break down the assumptions behind the metaphor, but the construction of the metaphor isn’t wildly helpful in the first place.

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