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The Walking Dead has zombies, but it's not a 'zombie game' Exclusive
 The Walking Dead  has zombies, but it's not a 'zombie game'
January 3, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander

January 3, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander
Comments
    60 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Design, Exclusive



It's safe to say Telltale's The Walking Dead was 2012's most unexpected hit. Zombie games are in over-abundant supply, it's a licensed property, and the studio's known for having a loyal niche of oldschool story game fans, not for turning its episodic series into Game of the Year contenders.

Its surprise universal acclaim has to be a closely-watched game changer. For all the increased attention to and desire for storytelling and choice in games, successful, player-empowering narratives frequently feel like one of the industry's biggest unsolved problems. There are still legions of devs who believe that choice and story aren't worth much at all.

Yet to say The Walking Dead has been successful because the story is so strong would be something of a miscategorization. It's not that it's particularly strongly-plotted, nor that the characters are terribly rich. On both those counts, it doesn't quite get past genre tropes: cast of desperate individuals with muddy pasts thrown together for survival made more challenging by the personality conflicts that emerge alongside thin resources and environmental threats.

Most of the games we have about zombies are born from even simpler stuff, where "zombies" is just the trapping of least-possible resistance for an action game: You have all the horror and aggression of a humanoid assailant, but none of the ethical minefield. You don't have to come up with a reason for the conflict; it's universally understood that a zombie is a mindless devouring machine. They come with a built-in fear factor -- the innate, biological human revulsion toward death and entropy.

walking dead 1.jpgThat imminently understandable, B-movie cult vocabulary accounts for only a sliver of why zombie fiction remains popular. The true appeal of the genre is oft-discussed by aficionados, but important to remember when we talk about The Walking Dead: The main reason people love, say, zombie movies is because we get to think about what we would do in those situations when desperation runs high and there's no time to think -- when the dead are the danger, life seems more precious.

How important is sentimentality? Should you fight to save a child, even though that child will slow your group down, contribute little? Can you deal with a volatile, selfish person if they have the muscle you need? What if it means they eat and you don't? If someone seems sick, will you try to help them, even if you can't be sure their sickness won't render them one of the undead at any minute?

In circumstances where every resource -- whether food, weapons or less tangible survival skills -- matters, everyone loves to wonder how they would handle situations, loves to yell at the screen. A popular "game" of sorts on social networks involves the casual use of display algorithms to determine which of your friends would play which role with you in a zombie apocalypse. Look to your left, the first item you see would be your weapon. How would you do? What would you do? What matters most to you when the world goes to hell?

walking dead 2.jpgWe've never had a zombie game that really focuses on that essence before. We're used to the physical conflict, gunning down hordes of the shambling undead. The Walking Dead's action and combat sequences are sparing, occasional and timing-dependent scares that serve to enforce the idea that immediate danger could arise at any minute.

The gameplay is primarily about leveraging that fear to invest decisions with immediacy: choosing your allies, your strategy and the allocation of your resources through conversation options.

It asks you to decide how much of your past your companions need to know, who you save when you don't have much time to think, to decide what kind of person your protagonist is: self-sacrificing team player, mysterious outlier, manipulative leader.

Through simple button pushes, the game allows you to select how you respond verbally and otherwise in a variety of situations -- which often include no response at all as an option -- and the story and characters respond visibly to the choices you make.

They feel meaningful and permanent, and allow the player to feel a unique sense of control over the narrative. Responses are time-pressured, too, giving you only so much time to react. What sounds on the surface like something of an unappealing constraint -- why not let the player have time to think things over? -- is actually a strong design choice here, underlying the sense of pressure and desperation that's essential to a strong zombie apocalypse story.

walking dead 3.jpgWhen story and choice are tied to gameplay such that the player's interest is primarily on customizing the hero or making him or her stronger, there's always a little bit of dissonance, but this game, reducing itself to key situational choices, is a way of enforcing that every decision feels meaningful, even exciting.

Its scenes are set in specific areas where exploration is either limited or not immediately necessary, so there's no sense of chafing at the wise use of constraint. There are few sentimentally-heavy scenes designed to tell the player what they should think is important; there's only enough information and feedback provided to force the player to set his or her own priorities and act accordingly.

Telltale's approach aims right at the core of why people like the genre in which it's working, and then distills the player's experience down to only that core of complex choices and reactions. It takes zombie fiction from mere "setting" to core element -- what if other rulebound genres took that approach to storytelling? It's exciting to imagine what designers will learn from The Walking Dead's narrative design.


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Comments


Steven An
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The permanence of the Walking Dead is something I'd like to see explored more. By "permanence" I mean the fact that you cannot reset or reload a save, unless you start all the way from the beginning. Ie. the same kind of forced auto-save that games like Demon's Souls employ. This creates tension and meaning that's largely lost in many games.

Christian Nutt
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You can reload a save from any of the decision-points in the game, actually.

Maria Jayne
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Hmm mixed feelings about this, while I can see why in this particular game it helps to add to the tension, I also am playing Darksiders 2. Which has a single auto save approach, few days ago it saved me at a point where a bug had trapped the "key sphere" I was rolling on the terrain and it wouldn't budge.

I tried everything for about 20 minutes trying to shake it loose, reloading, restarting the client, in game explosives to try and dislodge it. Nothing worked...and it was my only save, I turned it off disgusted, 7 hours of gameplay lost, back to the start.

If you're going to force a single save point that is out of the players control, you better be damn sure your code is solid. Because anything less is damaging your game.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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The tension is generated from the fear of getting stuck in an endless death cycle or having a show stopper bug ruin your save like in Maria's case.

Christian Nutt
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To be honest, this game's capacity for meaningful choice is highly overstated by the press in general, I think. I played through all five chapters and it doesn't seem to me that there are many significant choices that shake out in an interesting way.

Without getting into spoiler territory, it seems that most of them basically shape characters' attitudes towards you/events, and whatever choice you make, the same thing will happen either way. I can think of some moments I liked particularly and some examples which are really terrible, but overall I don't think the game is a really great example of "meaningful choice" in a game.

I think it's being overblown because the choices are so emotionally affective, which is cool, and I like, but the actual in-game EFFECT of a choice on gameplay is pretty minimal.

Ronildson Palermo
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Sure, you'll end up in that particular place anyway - but it's why you'll end up there and how the characters will treat you that counts and makes for the experience.

Sadly, a virtual game that can take you to exponentially different places and situations is not even close to reality.

Tyler Shogren
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I have to disagree. There is a basic strategy in chess called a "fork" where you force your opponent to choose between losing two threatened pieces; the narrative in the walking dead "forks" the player repeatedly, wearing down the "just a video game" sense of security we all play with and building a sense of guilt and anxiety. Video games don't normally do anything of the sort.

Lincoln Thurber
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It is a bit overstated, or rather choice is so rare in other games that even the slightest hint that we see in games like WD or Mass Effect seems to add value over and above the real meaning or utility of those choices.

Ian Uniacke
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Or to go even further:

choice is so rare (or non existant) in other games (as generally played by the modern hardcore gamer crowd)

There are many pre-extant examples of this kind of thing, Alter Ego comes to mind. And that game does it better because it's not weighed down by having to create content.

Thomas Kushnerenko
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Agreed. Played the game multiple times experimenting with differnt decisions and outcome. In the end I concluded that none of the choices 'truely' matter.

Heavy rain had a similar system, where the games focus was on storytelling and drama. Generally though, no matter what choices you make, the game would bring you to alot of the same points anyways. However poor choices could result in main character deaths, altering the final cinematic of the game, sometime drastically.

However the best example I've seen for in-game decision making is the witcher. Constantly I faced moral dilemma's where I simply could not decide which was the good choice, and which was the evil. Whenever a consequence of your decisions was met, a 'reflective' cut scene would play, where the protagonist would locate the point of origion for the outcome, and question wether he made the right choice. Honestly, by comparison, the walking deads choice system feels elementary.


But It's good to see a zombie game that isn't focused on simply killing zombies. Left 4 dead, dead rising, day z, war z, countless mods, natzi zombies, halflife 2. Zombies in games are generic. I rather tabletop a Cthulhu game where 5 zombies pushes all the players to insanity or death rather than mow down an army of undead with a lawnmower.

When zombies hit the big screens in the night of the living dead, the focus was hardly on the undead at all. It was about how people show their true colors. Do they invite the new survivors in at a risk to their group, or listen to them scream as they are pulled apart. Do you let the man with the gun call the shots, or stand up for human values, which may no longer have a place in the world. That's what i find intesting about the 'zombie genre'. It has never been about murdering something that's already dead for me. The walking dead gives you the 'illusion' of choice which is powerful in your first play through. However knowing the outcomes and seeing how much your choices don't matter disturbs the illusion in the end.

It is worth noting that interactive cut scenes are more immerse than action game play with pretty cinematic. I think that's what should really be taking from the experience that is the walking dead.

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Tyler Shogren
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There seems to be some confusion between real and perceived choice. Regardless of the real breadth of the game's decision tree, every choice feels important on the first play through. The developers play this up, repeatedly disclaiming that your choices matter. It's this fostering of dilemma that facilitates greater narrative impact. As opposed to, say, Skyrim, which has much greater breadth of choice, but is arbitrary and vapid and so carries little emotional weight despite immense amounts of narrative content.

Michael Pianta
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I downloaded the first episode for free over Christmas. I was very interested to try it out after everything I'd been hearing about it, even though I am no fan of Zombie fiction. In general I agree with what Christian said. The game is constantly trying to present you with "choices" which I suppose I'm meant to find difficult (morally speaking) but which in actuality were transparently reducible to "Which character do you want to save?" and "Which character do you want to like you more?" and "Are you willing to tediously explore this one room to make this other character like you a bit better?" And so forth. Also, like most episodic fiction, this game struggled to generate real tension because I know as a user that somehow or other the game must go on (else how could I buy parts 2, 3, 4, and 5?).

Additionally, whenever I faced the hardest questions (who lives and who dies) I felt that the characters in jeopardy had not been present long enough for me to really care. Now, being fair to the game, I imagine that changes as you go deeper into parts 2, 3, etc. But within the context of Part 1 at least, I was often thinking "Well, I only met that character 10 minutes ago and I only met that other character 5 minutes ago so... coin toss."

As a consequence of all of this TWD did not seem to me like a major break through in game story telling. At best it is perhaps an incremental improvement (in terms of complexity) over Mass Effect, the Witcher and many other games that feature lots of choices. In fact it really highlighted for me how difficult and perhaps impossible the creation of a truly compelling branching narrative is.

However I did still find it somewhat interesting. I suppose I'll at least try part 2 before making my final judgement.

Saul Alexander
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@Christian: I think you contradict yourself. You say it isn't a good example of "meaningful choice", but that it is "emotionally affective". So what you really mean by "meaningful" is that the choices don't greatly vary the plot? I have to take issue with that definition - in what way is branching plot more meaningful than experiencing an emotional response? I would argue that precisely the opposite is true.

I wrote a blog post about it, which Jake Rodkin of Telltale seemed happy with as an exploration of the issue at hand: http://digitalspiritguide.com/how-telltales-the-walking-dead-tric
ks-us-into-feeling/

Javier Cabrera
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I still need to pay this. My brother gifted it to me through steam!

---------
Javier Cabrera
http://www.cabrerabrothers.com/indielife/

Eric Geer
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"The Walking Dead has zombies, but it's not a 'zombie game'" Same could be said about the show. The zombies are there as a "threat" but its really just a drama about people living and surviving with zombies in the background. And that is why there can be a great story...because it's not within that B-Movie realm of action/gore.

Luis Guimaraes
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That's why I found it weird to read "it's a licensed property" as a negative factor. I have many friends that are TWD fans, for them anything with the TWD name on it is instantly awesome.

Ian Uniacke
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I would say the majority of zombie fiction falls into this category...just not in games. Most modern zombie fiction is Romero based which is pretty much what the walking dead is in serial form (from my limited understanding of it). It's only in modern times that the zombie genre has been reduced to b-grade splatter fests, primarily driven by Return Of The Living Dead. I'm sure I could draw a diagram of ancestry but that might be going a little too far. ;)

Matt Ponton
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No surprise to me. The title, "The Walking Dead", refers to the "people living and surviving with zombies in the background", and not the zombies themselves.

Cordero W
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More proof that passive, cinematic experiences plague the industry.

Cordero W
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Metal Gear Solid did it, but at least they had more active gameplay. I like to call games like Walking Dead "sitcom games."

Ben Taber
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Yes, it is absolutely a situational comedy, well observed. (...what?)

Hey. There can be different kinds of games. Narrative exploration based experiences don't take anything away from involved strategy or intense twitch focused games, or whatever particular flavor you favor in your games.

Of course, the overall experience is anything but passive, but getting hung up on arguing that point would imply that I accept your implied premise, which I absolutely don't.

Samuel Green
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Yes, The Walking Dead is a plague on the industry. I wish it never existed -_-

Surely this is proof that passive, cinematic experiences actually have potential to be good for the industry. Maybe they have been plaguing the industry in the past, but the universal acclaim and love for TWD gives me the impression that TWD isn't exactly a detriment to gaming or society.

Saul Alexander
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The Walking Dead is my game of the year. Therefore, whatever game you like is rubbish. Oh wait, I'm not that closed-minded.

Andy Wallace
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One of my favorite aspects of this game is the way it treats the ethics of the decisions made by the player. It tells you that characters will remember what you did, but the text used in those little hints is always devoid of judgement, a method that beats the hell out of the typical karma meter used in so many other games. I love how it leaves it up to the player to decide what is right or wrong in a given situation.

Carlo Delallana
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Systematizing morality is always tricky unless you stay within the realm of generally acceptable social norms. But this usually means sacrificing any depth because any attempt to explore morality and choice on a deeper level requires the player to insert their own morality thresholds into the experience. Otherwise they would simply attempt to "game" the system. By not creating a real morality system, Walking Dead achieves that necessary emotional connection between the player and the game.

Bertrand Augereau
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Am I the only one to be aggravated by the non-rebindable controls (and the default is incorrect on an AZERTY keyboard, imagine playing with ZQSD on your QWERTY) and the non inversible vertical mouse in a mainstream game in 2012?
Moreso after a full season of potential patching?

Thom Q
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"Zombie Game", "Story Game", I'm learning about all new genres today! ;)

So, you don't think the story of the game is very strong-plotted, nor are the charachters rich. To top it off you claim the horror genre is B-movie territory..

I like the article, and I do agree with all the rest, but imo Story Games & Zombie Games are not genres, is the Walking Dead game story not weak at all, and are the characters Very rich and thought out.

I hate the Walking Dead show. I think it's poorly directed, horribly written & acted, and really bad produced, and not worht being on AMC. Comparing the two is hard, since an animated game is obviously not the same as a series, but overall for me the game beats the show on every aspect.

Mark Day
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Wow... really... "I think it's poorly directed, horribly written & acted, and really bad produced, and not worht being on AMC."

My opinion. Great show... well written, well directed, well acted, and Sunday nights aren't as fun until February when it starts up the second half of the season. But to each their own.

And the game from Telltale has been a really fun translation of the story/setting to another medium. Great show... great game... 'nuff said.

Thom Q
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I love the Pilot, I think that one's brilliant. Part of me feeling so heavily about the show is that I really wanted to like it, but instead got dragged through 3 seasons of increasing frustration :)

I think Frank Darabont's vision for the show has been ruined, something being confirmed by him and other sources at AMC. How beautiful and intelligent the pilot was, the mirror image is true for the rest of the episodes. They try to follow the comics original story, but the comics never had 14 episodes of running through the woods and the farm (season 2).

Like Leigh Alexander said, big part of the charm of survival stories is the "What would I do" factor. If the whole cast then walks past piles of M16's for example, or drive Walter White's hybrid car around, the immersion for me is ruined.

Cody Rhodes
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I want to think that the reason The Walking Dead series receives such acclaim is due to the way characters are treated. Rarely do we see a game where characters we fight to protect can be so easily removed, despite making the right choices, killing the enemies fast enough and so on. Also we see types of characters perish that do not normally face these consequences in visual media. Because of that pivotal moment, in my opinion, in the third episode, the game transcended, for many, to a new place for an interactive experience. I do enjoy The Walking Dead episodes, and it is worthy of praise. But it's also worthy of scrutiny and perhaps not so much the Game of the Year heraldry that came in December.

As mentioned, there are many tropes the game strictly adheres, which, for me, damage its lasting effect. These moments do make you realize that no matter how well you solve a situation, an event occurs so suddenly that it strengthens the drape of dread the game spreads. It's these moments, these hands of God, that frustrated me more than anything. And because of that, they sour the tension and reduce it to gimmicks meant to keep you engaged and compelled and emotional.

These moments seem to plague the Walking Dead franchise as well. I haven't read the comics, but the show follows the same methods by having characters so unrealistically defiant that they withhold important information as a means to advance the plot in a certain direction and thicken the tension to an unbearable level.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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It's almost as if the game is on rails.

Tadhg Kelly
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I hope to be writing more on this soon, but the Walking Dead is the game that's decisively proved to me that games and storytelling just do not mix. For a long time the defence against this accusation came in the form of saying that the problem was with the bad writing. In WD we have a game which is phenomenally well written, voiced and very sad... and yet still when choice comes into it it quickly becomes hammy and forced.

Carlo Delallana
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I've seen this argument unfold many times on Gamasutra and i'm starting to wonder who we're trying to convince. Is it the game development community or is it the gamer? Does it matter to the gamer who enjoyed their experience with TWD that it technically isn't a game?

Ian Uniacke
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I was talking about this today Tadhg, and I think it's a bit disingenuous that TWD is being applauded as "the first episodic game that works" (paraphrasing, quotes for emphasis only), when I feel what really happened was Telltale tried episodic gaming, found it didn't work and merely pared out more and more of the game until what was left was nothing more than regular episodic drama (but you have to push play every 30 seconds). I can't think of an apt analogy but I'm sure there is one.

Ian Uniacke
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@Carlo: If I gave you a fish and told you it was a donkey, but you still enjoyed your donkey/fish, that still doesn't make it correct for me to say that I've finally cracked the secret to selling Carlo a donkey.

Carlo Delallana
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@Ian - your analogy makes no sense.

Games are a form of play. Now, if I hand TWD to someone and said "play this" what do you think they would describe their experience as? I highly doubt that the debate of weather or not stories and gameplay go together as the experience of play tends to be bigger than the sum of its parts. They're not going to suddenly flail their arms up in the air and cry out "This isn't a game! It's a donkey!" ;)

We can continue to argue over fine details from an academic point of view, I think these arguments for and against ultimately enriches the vocabulary of games, but at the end of the day it's the experience that imprints itself upon the player.

Tadhg Kelly
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Hi Carlo,

Nope, not at all. (And I'd say it is a game btw, or at least enough of it is).

My interest is more with whether The Walking Dead proves that games work as a narrative art form (as some claim), and I find that argument severely lacking. There are some very large disconnects in the play experience of Lee as opposed to watching Lee, which are largely caused by what I the player realise, perceives as good choices, feels fair and so on. Like many of the best adventure games, it sort of becomes something that I just want to watch after a while, like the show, because the choices increasingly grow hollow.

I also wonder it can sustain. I felt that the last episode went entirely off the rails, for example, and found myself laughing at points which I suspect I wasn't supposed to.

Kristian Roberts
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Tadhg,

I wonder if there is a necessary connection between a narrative art form and meaningful choice. It seems to me that it not need be so. Take a book. Narrative, yes; choice, no. Perhaps one problem (among many) is that we want to use the presence of meaningful choice (whatever that actually means) as evidence of a narrative art form (or of a game). If I think back to the Sierra's ___ Quest Games of the 80s/90s, I recall being told a good yarn (one that experienced rather than directed) and still felt like I was playing a game.

Saul Alexander
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Interesting, Tadhg, because The Walking Dead is the game that decisively proved to me that games and storytelling *can* mix, and in an extremely effective way. I enjoy your work, by the way, and it has influenced my own thinking about games. But in this case I come down on entirely the other side of the fence. This is my 2012 game of the year by a long shot, and it has brought me to the realisation that story in games can effectively function in a much wider variety of ways than I'd given it credit for. It has also cemented the sense that story is the most important aspect of games for me personally.

[User Banned]
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Luis Guimaraes
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Wanting to know how the story ends without having to play through it. I know that feeling.

Miguel Vidaure
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Telltale's The Walking Dead is one of my top games of 2012 and I watched someone else play it.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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So should TellTale charge people for merely spectating the game being played? Perhaps they should throw some commercial breaks in there too just to cover their bases.

This is about as disingenuous as a "game" gets. Hack together a choose your own adventure with no replay value and hide behind lofty claims of artistry and storytelling. This discussion wouldn't have to take place if the game were classified as a Video Novella which is what it truly needs to be labelled as.

Adam Bishop
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Where has Telltale ever made "lofty claims of artistry"?

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jan Decock
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I really enjoyed TWD. I have to tell friends it is not just "a zombie game", much like the series Battlestar Galactica is not "just a sci-fi series", but is more about human relations and decisions.
After a few episodes I too started to look at things more critically, and yes, I too started to see flaws (e.g. the fact that the choices did not matter all that much). But the fact remains that this is a good game that should appeal to a broad audience and has the power to convince some (nong-gaming) people that games are not that bad after all.

Ian Welsh
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Just picked it up to try since people won't stop talking about it (I hate the Zombie genre.) But the idea that storytelling doesn't work is an odd one. PS:T, KOTOR, BG2, Fallout 1 and 2, all say, "uh yeah, it does work".

It's just hard, and even people who are good at it, often blow it.

John Flush
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The best experience I had during the break was playing "To the Moon" - I would have to define it as 'not a game' either if the criteria is how many buttons I have to push. If the industry wants to label these as 'not games' fine by me. Where can I find the industry that makes more stuff like this because I want to play them?

The industry should figure out how to categorize them better and include them as much as possible. This is expanding the market and extending reach. Not this "Games should be this way - this isn't a game!" BS that I hear out of too many fanaticals.

Thom Q
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Its not the industry, it's just young people, mostly guys / boys who just don't get it, didn't play it. It's a video-game, by all definitions. Adventure games were around before they were born.

Ian Uniacke
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Sorry but you're just being dismissive. I can't speak for everyone but personally I'm not saying it's "not a game" because it doesn't have guns. Your being ridiculous to suggest that. It's not even a real adventure game. It's a conversation tree with associated graphics and a slapped on veneer of "adventure game". But where are the puzzles? Where is the "win/loss" or even "win/don't win (yet)" (which is fairly much defining of most adventure games). All the points put forth are merely whitewashing the argument. Saying it's "play" doesn't say "is it a game?" Saying "oh your argument is wrong because I perceive you to be a pre teen fps fan" is just hyperbolic. At least argue the argument that is being made.

Joshua Darlington
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I really like the time limit on the decision/dialogue trees. It gives the game a "ticking time bomb" which is a standard film device for creating urgency, but seems to be missing in many (most) game narratives. The clock really adds to the scene level urgency. I expect this type of device to become standard in all dialogue trees from now on.

I havent played very far into the game but the most powerful narrative device in the TV show is kinship bonds and psuedo kinship bonds. Most of human evolutionary history is at the family and band level. (sub tribal). If you go on a guerrilla or primate trek in central Africa you will find most human relatives are organized at about 7-20 member level. I think there's been some recent research into human social networks which builds off of a similar observation.

R G
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It's really up to the individual whether or not one enjoys TWD.

What really can't be argued is if it's a game.

1.) Games cannot be defined. How is this not a game but Zork or Monkey Island are? How is Myst more of a game than TWD?

2.) Adventure games or text based games had a lot of the same elements that TWD has. I think the episodic release is what throws people off; It's something that made me dislike the game because all the episodes inherently felt short, and the emotional impact wasn't executed that well because when choices had to be made, it felt like I was pulled back and told "These are my choices, the ONLY choices".

Too much praise honestly, but it's a step in the right direction. I'd like to see whole games personally, but I doubt we can stop the train from leaving.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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"Games cannot be defined"

What kind of art school claptrap is that? Look the word up, it has a meaning. Just a spoiler here but games usually have something to compete for with stakes at risk for the contestants with several possible outcomes that are dependent on the contestant's actions.

Thom Q
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Dimitri, I looked the word up like you said.. And I'm sorry bud, but it's time to learn.

Video Game
Noun

Webster's Dictionary:
- an electronic game played by means of images on a video screen and often emphasizing fast action
- an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen

Dictionary.com
-1. any of various games played using a microcomputer with a keyboard and often joysticks to manipulate changes or respond to the action or questions on the screen.
2. any of various games played using a microchip-controlled device, as an arcade machine or hand-held toy.

Wikipedia:
A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.


Ok, so we've learned a video game is an electronic game. We know what electronic means, but what does a game mean?

Game
Noun

Webster's Dictionary:
1 : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

Dictionary.com
1 : an amusement or pastime: children's games.

Wikipedia:
" A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool "


So, a video game is non other then electronic entertainment, that can be manipulated in some form or another..

Walking Dead is, and forever will be a video game, whether you hate it or not. It falls within all definitions of what a video game is..

It's kind of sad that you can't just say "I don't like it", or " It's not for me". I get it, you're young, want action, can't stand all the emotional stuff going on in the game, fine. But before you start spamming you're Nonsense of it not being a game, you'd might want to check if you're right. I hate Justin Bieber's music, but it's still music.. Im not 65 yet.

If this all fails, and you're still not willing to admit this is a game, I ask you this: Do you think Zork is a game? Do you think Monkey Island is a game? Do you think Dragon's Lair is a game? If yes, then why isn't the Walking Dead. If no, or you don't know the games, I urge you to stop trolling and start learning.

Luis Guimaraes
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A game is everything that can be gamed.

It can be gamed, a game.
It can't be gamed, not a game.

Dimitri Del Castillo
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"Im not 65 yet."

Obviously not. You haven't mastered the subtle vitriol of age yet, Thom. Your wall of text answer indicates that you'd rather slice hairs then get to the matter which is: player controlled content.

If you ever GM'ed a paper and pencil RPG you'd know that the first thing a party becomes aware of is when a GM is leading them down a path to an inevitable conflict. When a savvy party senses this, they can't resist the urge to try and sabotage the GM's design by going off the rail and into out of bounds areas.

By Contrivance a GM (or designer at this point in the discussion) will force the party back into the area of interest so that the story can continue. TWD is a perfectly contrived scenario that wont allow its user to get it off its rails no matter how hard they try.

Your level of satisfaction from following the glued down trail of breadcrumbs all depends on your level of buy in. If that is your pleasure, by all means, buy away.

Thom Q
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Wait, so you do accept now that it's a game. just not one you like?
My mission here is done..

Javier Cabrera
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I loved The Walking Dead Games. Just last night I was playing through episode one again and took different choices. Man how cool it is when something like that is done. Makes me want to do something in that line (and we probably will).

Have you found that the people who always say "this is not a game" or "that is not a game" are usually the people who don't want to say what games ARE actually a game for shame to be ridiculed?

TWD is very well done, but I still have my copy of Jurassic Park and boy, that sucked big time. Worst game I've ever seen and its based on the same engine and with the same character animations. So it isn't the franchise, it has to be something else.

-JC
http://www.CabreraBrothers.com/

Thom Q
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I think JP failed on writing & directing. As you said, gameplay is similar, so it's not really that. I just wasnt as much engaged with the characters as in TWD.

I kinda liked Telltale's Back to the Future game, but, in hindsight, I'd say it's too easy. It would have been the perfect title for more intense puzzling, and less character exploration.

Sam & Max season 1 & 2 from Telltale I liked the best, after TWD. They essentially continued where the series left off. Good puzzles and twisted humor :)


Overall, I think Telltale is doing an Excellent job, with 1 real misser: Jurrasic Park.


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