Tired of ads?
Join today and never see them again.
Advertisement - Guide continues below
In 2006, Rockstar Games, the makers of Grand Theft Auto, released the controversial video game Bully. Players could take the role of—you guessed it—a bully in a boarding school. It was like pretending to be Draco Malfoy without the magic powers.
Madaug's game "Zombie Hunter" is the opposite of that. "Anyone who plays it gets turned into a zombie" (9.139)—and not in the addictive Candy Crush way, when you say "just one more game" for two hours straight when you should be studying. Nope, Madaug's game uses a pattern of flashing lights that literally brainwashes people into becoming zombies.
Why? To combat bullies, that's why. Madaug thinks that if wipes the bullies' brains, they'll stop bothering him. He's right. But he what he didn't expect was for them to go buck wild and start eating folks. Whoops. We hate it when that happens.
Madaug's primary emotion is guilt. He feels bad that his game has gone out of control. And he feels even worse when this puts his mom and younger brother Ian in danger. "He'd accidentally ruined so many lives" (15.2), he thinks to himself, wallowing in self-pity. He even momentarily considers killing himself, but that thought isn't given any weight or exploration.
Madaug displays some bravery when he rushes off alone to save his mother. Or is it stupidity? There's a fine line between the two. Madaug doesn't seem like the kind of guy who really thinks things all the way through before jumping into them.
Madaug is a foil to Nick. Nick, who considers himself someone without any friends, refers to Madaug only as his lab partner. This reveals a bit of Nick's hypocrisy. He whines about being unpopular and not having friends, yet he never considers making friends with Madaug, because he sees Madaug as even more unpopular than he is.
There's high school for you, folks.
In fact, Nick calls Madaug, "an almost stereotypical nerd" (4.180). Ouch. We're not sure what the "almost" part is. The dude likes video games. He wears gamer T-shirts. He programs. He's bullied. He has an ironic nickname. Those are all the boxes on the nerd checklist. Trust us, we'd know. We're thinking Madaug is just a straight-up nerd. More power to him.
Perhaps Nick doesn't want to be friends with Madaug because of one major difference between them: Nick is street smart, while Madaug is book smart. "Nick couldn't understand how Madaug could be bright enough to figure out how to program a game, but not fly under the radar of the people who wanted to abuse him" (9.143). Again, pot meet kettle. For as street smart as Nick is, he can't fly under his bullies' radar, either.
Perhaps these two should team up. They might be unstoppable. Or at least they'd have a lot of fun playing video games together.