Why Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Is Now My Favorite Game Ever
Before I first started the game, I was more than a little skeptical that a video game could make me express emotions the way everyone had previously said The Walking Dead would. I always avoided the series in every way, because I’ve never been a big fan of suspense and thriller type zombie movies, and I kept relating the genre to things like Left 4 Dead, with the ultra fast and terrifying zombies.
One day though, I decided it was about time I give the franchise a shot. I started with the first episode of the TV series (on Netflix) and I was confused after the first scene (I still don’t know where that scene lies in the storyline). The scenes that followed kept me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the series. I have seen every episode now, after having watched the first two seasons on Netflix over the course of less than 24 hours, and the first eight episodes of the third season On Demand through my cable provider on a different day. I also watched the February 10th mid-season premiere (which to be honest with you, seemed like a linker episode to me, and less like a content rich one).
However, even after sobbing through all the saddest parts in the TV series, I still couldn’t believe that a game could leave me speechless and uncontrollably weeping, like I had seen so much on YouTube clips (I refused to actually watch any of them, so as not to spoil the experience for myself). After toying with the idea of playing the game, I finally buckled down and got it, and began playing.
I was hooked on the gameplay from the very first scene with the timed responses and adventure game like environment interaction. The first time firing a gun in the game seemed visceral and from the reaction facial features on the protagonist Lee Everett, I could truly feel the emotions that he experienced. After stumbling upon the neighborhood and meeting Clementine, it clicked. Telltale had managed to create the most lovable and dynamic character in the history of gaming. From then on, everything I did in the game put Clementine first. She was the first person I talked to when I had a problem or a tough decision to make, I took all her advice (with the exception of a few moments when it appeared her emotions got the best of her) and every action I decided to do, I wanted to make sure that Clementine would be alright. I was okay with making tough decisions when it came to other members of the group, but I played everything very close to the chest when it involved Clementine.
She was my sole reason for living in the game. Otherwise, I would have been a suicidal depressed guy, and that wouldn’t have made for a fun game. In the overall scheme of things, I played the game on my first playthrough as if I was in Lee’s shoes. Every decision made reflected my personal morality and perceptiveness.
In the end of the game, I found myself crying harder than I have ever cried about anything. I cannot think of a sadder moment in gaming or otherwise. This made me realize then and there that Telltall had done the extraordinary. They put me in the shoes of a dynamic protagonist and had me build the relationships that I wanted to build. I don’t know if the game would play the same if I hated children or was a rude person. As a matter of fact, I’m almost certain the game wouldn’t play the same. My choices truly feel like they shaped the internal structure of my group and story, even if the ending only had a couple possible outcomes. This is why, for the foreseeable future, The Walking Dead: The Game by Telltale Games is my favorite game of all time.
However, after having played things out the way I would have, I think it may be time to give it a go while doing some roleplaying. What kind of personality did/does your Lee have? Is he distant? Is he rude and brash? Is he selfish? I am trying to think of how I’m going to play things, but honestly, it may be hard to do considering the split-second decision making aspect of the game in some instances. That may make his personality shift back to mine in tough situations.