The Walking Dead: In Review
In good video games you look for something to draw you in. something that grabs you attention from beginning to end. You want to be a part of a good narrative, good character structure, and most importantly action. Imagine you had a game that taught you in the process. Imagine a game that let you determine your story line and outcome. Imagine a game that got you emotionally attached to it. If you haven’t found what I’m talking about you’re looking in the wrong place. The walking Dead video game give you real problems, real struggles, real conversation, real decision, and real survival tactics. It has the excitement of a movie, interaction of a game, and narrative build of a book. This game is among the best ever playable stories.
Mostly everything in this game is based on you person feelings. When given decision to make in the game on what to say and what to do, you only have a certain amount of time to choose and it really isn’t much time. Whether it is to save a specific person or give food to a specific person, these choices are real world problems. This feature is different from many other games because you have more time to think which you can break down what decision might make the best game play for you. Someone people will choose to always be the nice guy or always be the mean guy on purpose, but with this short period of time you only have time to be yourself. Even though you make a choice doesn’t mean what you want will happen. You can try to save a specific person in they still may die. I find this the most intriguing part of the game and add to the realness of the game. Sometimes you may feel like you make the best decision but the outcome is still the worst. Most other games only have 1 experience: whatever you choose will happen in that exact way. This characteristic of the walking dead keeps you on your toes.
The Narrative of this game is very strong, to where people observing might think you’re watching an animated cartoon, but don’t let it fool you. The game gives normal interactions such as talking, walking, and defending yourself. With thinking of the normal interaction you can consider it a The Sims Video game on steroids. As playing the main character of Lee, you must manage everything around you, keep everybody safe and look after your beloved daughter figure Clementine. You must be smart when killing the Zombies as you would if killing the enemy in Call of Duty. In comparison to real life it teaches your survival of the smartest, and you’re only as good as your leader. Even with the many modes of gameplay the narrative never lacks.
“In video games, the possibility space refers to the myriad configurations the player might construct to see the ways the process inscribed in the system work. This is really what we do when we play video games: we explore the possibility space its rules afford by manipulating the symbolic systems the game provides. The rules do not merely create the experience of play — they also construct the meaning of the game. This is to say the gestures, experience, and interactions games rules allow (and disallow) make up the games significance. Video games represent process in the material world— war urban planning, sports, and so forth— of the rules themselves. We encounter the meaning of games by exploring their possibility spaces. And we explore their possibility space through play.” (◾“The Rhetoric of Video Games.” Ian Bogost in The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. Ed Katie Salen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. 117-139.)
This exert from out of The Rhetoric OF Video Games by Ian Bogost explains the powerful nature of the walking dead. It uses the procedurality, or rule of the game, mixed with rhetoric of a story line to create a game that stands out amongst its peers. Within these rules of the game you must still play into the argument what is life’s survival tactics. It gives its meaning to the game. You must try and survive during this zombie apocalypse, while trying to keep everyone around you happy and safe. Within the game you must manipulate different strategies to control the outcome of the game. By combining the procedurality and its rhetoric, the Walking Dead creates a video game that expresses its concerns with people throughout the world in times of crisis and uses its processes to build a video game with a story line better than most movies, characters better than most books, and a game more complex than most games.
“Randy Schroeder suggests that when immersive media “collapse distinctions between different kinds of space” it is the game that changes the perception of the real, and that “in the world of immersive simulations the real doesn’t leak into the playworld the playworld leaks into the rest” (Schroeder “playspace Invader” 148)
The setting in the walking dead is very distinct but not pinpoint. The games travel through the course of cities, such as Atlanta, Macon, and savannah Georgia. The consistently bring it up and even in real life you must go along this path to get from Atlanta to Savannah. Telltale games give you that feel of real life setting without getting so deep into it. It adds the real life cites but doesn’t try to recreate actual landmarks. This doesn’t get it caught up in real vs virtual setting like in games such as Assassins Creed and La Noir. These 2 games have gotten praise or backlash for certain landmarks that they have thrown in the game with its correct year of establishment. The walking dead doesn’t get caught up in this because it just gives you to overview or bird’s eye view of the state of Georgia.
All in all I find The Walking Dead to be an outstanding game. Within its many modes and rule of gameplay, the freedom and self-attachment gives you a different experience with video games. It puts itself out there by allowing you to really get involved and become one with the character. It has a narrative like no other, and you get the idea of both a movie and a book within the rules of a video game. It sets itself apart from all games and has started a future for self-determined games.