Walking Dead Proves Gamers Want Deep, Adult Stories

But then, there’s Clementine to consider. Clementine, who has just witnessed a boatload of horrors and atrocities in the span of maybe an hour. She’s even committed one or two awful (though necessary) acts by this point. She’s been splattered with blood and asked to commit violence only minutes before. And things are only about to get worse, as Lee, her last caretaker, dies — and not only dies, but turns on her.

Can I really ask Clementine to shoot Lee? Do I really want to do that to her?

I didn’t. I sent Clementine away. I’d rather let Lee turn — I would rather turn — than ask her to do that, and force her to carry that weight. From Telltale’s gathered statistics at the end of the title, it seemed the vast majority of players, around three in four, felt the same way.

There’s something to that, I’d say. There’s something about small character moments that can be as important, maybe more so, than those huge save-the-galaxy kind of stakes. I’ve saved plenty of galaxies; I’ve never had an effect on another game character like Lee had on Clementine. And that moment meant more to me than nameless planets saved from explosions or countries full of digital denizens whose lives are endangered by nuclear weapons.

Occasionally, I want to blast aliens, sneak past terrorists, and otherwise save everything ever. But not always. I’d much rather have personal connections with interesting characters and do things that affect them, instead of the nameless hordes that make up “America” or “Earth” or “all sentient life in the galaxy.”

I’d really rather be treated like an adult by my video games, strange as that may sound. It’d be nice to see more games try to accomplish what Telltale has done with such remarkable capability. A few more could stand to grow up.


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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5 Comments on Walking Dead Proves Gamers Want Deep, Adult Stories

Jonah Dupuis

On November 29, 2012 at 5:26 am

So right, this game gave me a connection I have never felt before! I was in tears while Lee was saying his last words to Clementine! One other good point is brought up; this is any adult story! It’s not like most games where there appealing to all ages, but it’s heavily appealed to teens! This game has a serious story and has some really messed up scene in it! So this game will hopefully change the way developers look at there game! Also it’s $5.00 a episode unlike you $59.9@ cost for most games

If you have not got this game you have to, everyone will be talking about until season two hits! Be in the know; also you can play what I think is a game that will change the way we of stories in video games!

Patches

On November 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Since its a topic with spoiler…

*** Spoiler ***

(my 1st Episode 5 playthrough)
Did you put the handcuffs on Lee or the Zombie?…

Got to admit I thought long and hard about this one… I was so sure the Zombie would unstuck himself somehow, but I was so sure, especially with the yellow eyes and the failed ‘W’ mashing that Lee would turn before the end…

Another great thinking moment of this game…

I finally decided to put it on Lee… he was the free zombie-to-be in the room, and frankly, I wasn’t sure at the time that Clem may be able to shoot him, being his friend and caretaker… And even when the option was possible, could she really do it, or aim right?…

Got to admit I’m curious to try the handcuffs on the zombie and not asking Clem to shoot Lee, to see how it turns out…

R.J.

On December 2, 2012 at 1:24 am

I just started playing this, and it’s pretty amazing. I love that there are so many time where I’m confronted with decisions where neither is clearly superior. And knowing that the game has placed me in the position of caretaker has made some choices even harder since I have to balance what someone else needs or wants along with my own needs and wants.

Rigo

On December 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I Really LOVE the show. Total fan, but I wouldn’t call this a ‘game.’ It’s more of a motion comic where you get to choose to go left or right. As far as it’s gaming value, I’d rate it the same as a game of solitare. Making a radio work, by installing batteries, or beating off a zombie by hitting one key over and over, is not really a game. That beings said, if you’d like to watch a somewhat lengthy motion comic of the Walking Dead, you’ll like this.

Dynamite

On December 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

The first thing that needs to be done is to ignore the stupid industry nonsense about Heavy Rain and other lazy, manipulative writing (such as Mass Effect 3′s ridiculous ending) being “mature” and “artistic.” These things aim for the lowest common denominator of pretentious egotists who think that true storytelling is focusing only on the most superficial elements and leaving the actual narrative to the audience’s interpretation. We need less of that type of junk and more stuff like Red Dead Redemption, Walking Dead, Resistance 3, Enslaved, and ACTUAL interpretive/artistic stuff like Limbo, Journey, Unfinished Swan and so forth that deliberately stimulate the audience’s obscure/abstract side to create unique experiences instead of writing half-arsed, hole-filled nonsense and using ‘creative integrity’ as the go-to excuse when they realise their audience wasn’t as stupid or inattentive as they thought they’d be.