I think would classify myself as a gamer. I have played a lot of video games across a lot of systems from Sega, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Some were great, most are good and there of course have been some terrible ones. I have been fortunate to see the medium develop and evolve (during my lifetime that is) from innovative platform games like Mario and Sonic, to the more cinematic stylings of games such as Uncharted, Halo and God of War.
The above mentioned games each have their own impressive qualities. Halo presented us with a deep sci-to world. Uncharted gives us a modern day Indiana Jones and God of War makes for an interesting take on Greek mythology. The key thing that makes all these games successful is the look and style of each of them combined with their fun gameplay. For most gamers they can accept a drop in graphics as long as the gameplay works. However earlier this year I had the opportunity to play a game that wasn’t really a game in the technical sense, rather it was an interactive story that may not have been the first to take the medium to this level but it definitely is an example on how to take gameplay away and focus purely on story and emotion.
The Walking Dead by Telltale Games is one of the most prime examples of pure storytelling in gaming that I have seen in recent years, the one other notable exception being The Last of Us. Based on the popular comic series and not as much on the television series, this point and click game follows Lee Everett, a convict as the apocalypse breaks out and through circumstances beyond his control becomes responsible for the well being of a girl named Clementine. As the story progresses you meet people and are separated from them. There are deaths throughout, but you have to make choices during the play. This can determine who lives and who dies. It can make a difference in how your cohorts think of you and whether or not they will help you. Now the story ends the same for Lee and Clementine ultimately no matter what choices you make. Yet what this game does great is how hard those decisions are. The hallmark of a great story is its ability to transport you to its setting. Well The Walking Dead does that perfectly I would say. Which makes the choices so difficult to make. Just like in reality we sometimes have a split second to make a choice without fully thinking about how far reaching the consequences are. I think of one particular scene where I had to choice to leave a member of the group behind after that member did something terrible. I chose to leave them behind and for the rest of the game that weighed on my mind. That’s what I loved about it, the choices did not just advance the narrative, but stayed with you the player throughout. Now that the game has just started its second season I hope the quality continues.
I reccomend this game to any and everyone. Whether you like games of this nature or not. It is availible on Playstation, Xbox, mobile phones and PCs as well. There are plenty of opportunities to experience this amazing story.
For more Telltale coverage, check out the DeaconsDen review of The Wolf Among Us