A Case Study: The Walking Dead

When I'm not tooling around on the Internet or making my indie games (see my earlier blog entries), I study computer science with an emphasis on game development and more specifically interactive storytelling. The Walking Dead was my favourite game of the year and in my opinion one of the best examples of how games can tell uniquely effective and gripping stories in a way other mediums can't touch.

I was so impressed with the game that I wrote a 10+ page essay on why and how The Walking Dead does such a great job. The essay was originally for a university course on interactive storytelling, so it can get a bit academical but I tried to keep the tone light and readable. That's just how I roll.

Anyway, great game, and if someone gets something out of this essay, great. Either way, let me know what you thought! Read it at: http://haxor.fi/~ml/published/ACaseStudyTheWalkingDead.pdf

2 Comments
2 Comments
Posted by soralapio

When I'm not tooling around on the Internet or making my indie games (see my earlier blog entries), I study computer science with an emphasis on game development and more specifically interactive storytelling. The Walking Dead was my favourite game of the year and in my opinion one of the best examples of how games can tell uniquely effective and gripping stories in a way other mediums can't touch.

I was so impressed with the game that I wrote a 10+ page essay on why and how The Walking Dead does such a great job. The essay was originally for a university course on interactive storytelling, so it can get a bit academical but I tried to keep the tone light and readable. That's just how I roll.

Anyway, great game, and if someone gets something out of this essay, great. Either way, let me know what you thought! Read it at: http://haxor.fi/~ml/published/ACaseStudyTheWalkingDead.pdf

Posted by Nicked

Really interesting!

It seems like you're saying that through "immersion" players become more attached to characters and therefore there's greater emotional payoff. I'm curious though, how you'd account for our experience of games on an interpretive level. That is, it seems like you're arguing that the Best Stories are the ones that are the most emotional, ones where a person is most invested in what happens. But certainly fiction is meant to do more than involve us emotionally.

I bring this up because I have a (admittedly snooty) concern that, nowadays, a lot of fiction in general is only really serving this sort of emotional reading you're writing about: The idea that we only play games "to escape", or we have to watch a movie "to feel something". I feel that interpretive readings of movies, games, etc. are often lost because people get too caught up emotionally to think about the more important things a work of fiction is saying.

Do you have any thoughts about how something like The Walking Dead (or game stories in general) can better inform us culturally or empathetically on a meaningful level?