Adventures of a Non-Gamer: The Walking Dead
by Shawnie Kelly (@DearShawnie)
Breaking news: I think I found my favorite game! But before we get into all that, I would like to thank those who reached out to me in my time of gamer grief a few weeks ago. I hit a minor speed bump in my progress, or lack thereof. Many sweet people encouraged me to calm down. I hated playing video games for a hot minute there and I’m not going to lie, sometimes I still totally hate it. But not today!
Today I played The Walking Dead. It. Is. So. Good. I know there’s some gibberish out there about it being uneventful and slow-paced, but like I said — gibberish! First let me say that I wasn’t initially super excited about playing this game because I don’t watch the show. Is this when you lead me to the town square for public persecution or something? It’s not that I don’t like the television series; on the contrary. I was once forced to watch three episodes in a row. I actually really loved it, but I don’t like jumping into the middle of things and haven’t yet found time for a three-season weekend cram session. Especially when it’s something so narrative-driven, I want to invest in the whole thing as it was meant to be presented. I’ll catch up with the rest of the world eventually. That said, if you’re one of the ten people who don’t watch, don’t worry about having no context before playing the game. It’s actually based off of the comic series and I haven’t read that either. I know, what kind of monster am I?
While I don’t watch the show, I really appreciate how this game breaks down into “episodes” because it’s relatable, and far less intimidating than levels, campaigns, or any other official-ish word. Episodes are like “Come kill some zombies, it will be fun!” and campaigns would be like “KILLS ZOMBIES OR YOU DIE.” It’s the little things for me. Something else I loved is how you choose what you say. For instance, in the very first scene you’re in the back of a police car in cuffs. When the officer speaks to you, several options pop up. You can be like “Shut up, I hate you” or like “Good day, officer.” (I totally made up those options, but you get the point.) It takes into account all of your decisions throughout the game and I guess it sort of personalizes things in response to those choices.
On the subject of choices, sometimes you have to choose which person is going to die. It’s so much virtual pressure! You guys know I have XBox controller anxiety with all of their buttons and whatnot. You might think someone like that would have difficulty in real life emergency situations, but for some reason I feel like I would be super great in real life at choosing who to save in zombie attacks. You obviously let the best shot live; anyone can shoot a gun, but not everyone gets a head shot on the first try. Zombie killing is very meticulous. When weapons aren’t a factor, you save the bravest person. Who’s more willing to run through a zombie mob to get to the gas station for some snackies and batteries? Obviously save that person. When both people on the chopping block are equally valuable, save the funnier one, because let’s face it, everyone eventually dies in the zombie apocalypse. We might as well be laughing when we bite the dust. This game makes you think about these things, and I’m grateful. You can never be too prepared — that’s my motto! Actually, it’s definitely not my motto and anyone who knows me will tell you that. But in this scenario, let’s make it our motto.
It actually is pretty sad when two characters are dying and you have to choose between them because this story is so great. You love these characters! One of the criticisms is that it moves slow, but for me that actually makes the action scenes more profound. Your emotional investment is built throughout these dialogue-heavy scenes, at least that was my experience.
But let’s be real, the main reason this game is so appealing to me is the “point and click” situation going on. There are not a million different directions to go and a million different ways you can get lost in the objectives. Literally, you can only move within a certain radius until you do what you need to do. There’s always a cute little white dot that you put you cross hairs on and get simple instructions. Anyone can play this (except little kiddies because it’s scary), and I appreciate that. I only died one time. *slow clap* Did I mention it was scary? I’m scared of most things, so I’m not really the appropriate judge here. But I jumped several times. Maybe a squeal or two. Don’t tell anyone, please.
Happy gaming, you gamers!