Attack of the Zombie Banks

Video Game


Attack of the Zombie Banks is a tower defense game that playfully illustrates many of the tactics used by Too Big to Fail banks in the aftermath of the 2008 collapse of the housing market. In the game, players take on the role of home owners and protect themselves from ‘robosigners’, ‘rocket-docket’ judges, and ‘zombie banks’ who are attempting to illegally foreclose on their home. The game is a mod of the popular tower defense game, Plants vs. Zombies, only players must defend themselves against foreclosure by the Zombie Banks, or banks that have already died, but were resurrected by a government bailout.

The levels and characters in the game are based on specific news stories about the financial crisis. The game has three acts: The Setup, Wrongful Foreclosure, and Securitization, which teach players about different aspects of the financial crisis. In The Setup, players defend their home from Alan Greenspan’s Zombie, which advocated for easy mortgages and artificially low interest rates, and the Creepy Balloon Mortgage Clown who will sell you a mortgage that may balloon out of control. In Wrongful Foreclosure, players must fend off robosigners who were hired to sign tens of thousands of foreclosure affidavits and Rocket Docket Judges who came out of retirement to preside over no-document foreclosure hearings. The final act, Securitization, is about how mortgages were packaged and sold to unsuspecting investors.

Attack of the Zombie Banks is a collaboration with Derek Curry, as part of the collective Bankster Games. Curry and I co-founded Bankster Games in 2010 to design digital and analog games that explain aspects of financialization that may be difficult for people outside of finance to understand.