Late to the Game – Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead
Last month, I had the transcendent experience of playing Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, Season 1. As a busy single mom, it’s really difficult to find time to play games. I generally tend to not get my hands on even the best games until at least a year or two after they’ve released. Fortunately, my incredibly busy schedule also tends to minimize my time reading about games, and thus I miss most spoilers. And, though I usually end up kicking myself for not having played the good ones sooner, it’s a fun experience when my friends get excited about my play-throughs like they’re vicariously experiencing their “first time” all over again. That, and I have a propensity for geeking out about things.
I’ve been waiting for a game like this to come along since I started gaming. I became intoxicated by the power of choice in games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins, but typically my complaints would be “Man, I wish there was more talking/relationship building and less fighting”. I even brought this game up in my philosophy class today (yes, I interrupted the professor to talk about games, someone high-fived me) when we were talking about ethical thought experiments; because this game is essentially a series of said experiments which all tie-in to one another, and where not only is there no clear “good” answer, but you’re essentially punished for every decision you make.
I know that might make it sound like a very unfulfilling gaming experience, but I assure you it is quite the opposite. The emotional ride that this game will take you on is absolutely unlike any other I’ve experienced. There’s a reason why people everywhere fell in love with this game, even with it’s lack of the action/battle-fueled pwnfest archetype.
If you’re looking for a game that’s going to make you feel something, this is at the top of my list of recommendations. With a gold star next to it. And a button that releases confetti and plays “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang.
I don’t intend to turn this into an official “review”, because by this point there are a million and a half of those plastered all over the internet written by people much more knowledgeable and articulate than me. But I will say this: when it comes to story and character development, the power of player choice and emotional experience, this game has no rival — nothing even comes close. It’s a living, breathing comic book, just waiting for you to read it and write it for yourself.
Play it. It will change you.
(And then talk to me about it so I can geek out about it all over again.)