A Grey Matter (Spoilers)

EDIT: This blog has a sarcastic tone that people misread as being judgemental towards people for what they did in a video game. That's my fault for not making it clear enough, it's simply a method to point out how TWD reveals things about our personalities and how through it's gameplay mechanics, TWD makes us care not just about characters, but how others behave to characters. It's pretty majestic.

If you like Kenny, I still want to be your friend. <3

The Walking Dead is a Video Game

And this blog post has all the spoilers.

Maybe you've heard of it?

I've begun to use The Walking Dead as less of a game and more a judgement tool for my friends. It works far better than any kind of personality test or preliminary conversation, cutting through the fleshy meat of small talk and straight to the bone at core of an individual - truly impressive for a video game. Yes, the story is engaging and emotional, and that's awesome, but I don't think they've got enough credit for how much The Walking Dead reveals about you as a person. Both through the choices you make and the choices you see others make. I don't want anything to do with anyone who:

  • Killed Ben
  • Killed Larry
  • Left Lilly by the side of the Road.

Within the game, these are all valid choices, which you can make, and many did make - they are not wrong. But this game got under my skin in such a way which no other game did. You kill the Rachni Queen in Mass Effect? Sure, that's the evil choice, but there's no grey zone there. I will never say you made the wrong choice in a Mass Effect or a Fable, despite those choices being far more black and white. It really speaks to the quality of the storytelling that I cannot see any of those moments hitting the other way, and get passionate about my side of the greyest of grey areas.

Sure, I cried at the ending, I cried Ben's death (poor guy!), and I was in love with the game before, but it wasn't until I got into a real heated discussion with others about it, until the full picture was laid bare, and all sides argued their points on all decisions, fought for the most pointless of moral minutia, that I realized how excellently crafted the game is at just bringing out all sides of people - what I thought was the only good choice, others may see completely backwards, and I may think you the worst on all counts, but there is no right answer.

So thank you, Telltale! You made not only a great game, but brought back that spark for truly passionate discussion (I'd go so far as arguments) that had been dormant for a long time. Don't fuck up season 2.

Outro Bullet Points Are Cool...

  • For those curious, this whole thing started because of this podcast I did on Screened, which a) is still a thing that awesome people are trying to keep alive, and b) was just really interesting, as it felt at points we weren't discussing the game, but what it means to be a good person - something I haven't felt before in relation to god damn vidja games.
  • I saved Doug, and Doug is easily one of the best characters in the game. I watched Carley's death, and felt it to be less impactful than Doug's, mainly because without Carley, Lilly is pushed as the main female L.I., and it that was the angle they took to mine the drama, rather than Carley as the L.I. who suddenly dies.
  • I really liked the tag at the end of the credits, a mixture of hope and cynicism that struck a chord beautifully with me - I didn't see it at all as a sequel hook.
  • I'm blogging again. Remember blogs?
8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Tylea002

The Walking Dead is a Video Game

And this blog post has all the spoilers.

Maybe you've heard of it?

I've begun to use The Walking Dead as less of a game and more a judgement tool for my friends. It works far better than any kind of personality test or preliminary conversation, cutting through the fleshy meat of small talk and straight to the bone at core of an individual - truly impressive for a video game. Yes, the story is engaging and emotional, and that's awesome, but I don't think they've got enough credit for how much The Walking Dead reveals about you as a person. Both through the choices you make and the choices you see others make. I don't want anything to do with anyone who:

  • Killed Ben
  • Killed Larry
  • Left Lilly by the side of the Road.

Within the game, these are all valid choices, which you can make, and many did make - they are not wrong. But this game got under my skin in such a way which no other game did. You kill the Rachni Queen in Mass Effect? Sure, that's the evil choice, but there's no grey zone there. I will never say you made the wrong choice in a Mass Effect or a Fable, despite those choices being far more black and white. It really speaks to the quality of the storytelling that I cannot see any of those moments hitting the other way, and get passionate about my side of the greyest of grey areas.

Sure, I cried at the ending, I cried Ben's death (poor guy!), and I was in love with the game before, but it wasn't until I got into a real heated discussion with others about it, until the full picture was laid bare, and all sides argued their points on all decisions, fought for the most pointless of moral minutia, that I realized how excellently crafted the game is at just bringing out all sides of people - what I thought was the only good choice, others may see completely backwards, and I may think you the worst on all counts, but there is no right answer.

So thank you, Telltale! You made not only a great game, but brought back that spark for truly passionate discussion (I'd go so far as arguments) that had been dormant for a long time. Don't fuck up season 2.

Outro Bullet Points Are Cool...

  • For those curious, this whole thing started because of this podcast I did on Screened, which a) is still a thing that awesome people are trying to keep alive, and b) was just really interesting, as it felt at points we weren't discussing the game, but what it means to be a good person - something I haven't felt before in relation to god damn vidja games.
  • I saved Doug, and Doug is easily one of the best characters in the game. I watched Carley's death, and felt it to be less impactful than Doug's, mainly because without Carley, Lilly is pushed as the main female L.I., and it that was the angle they took to mine the drama, rather than Carley as the L.I. who suddenly dies.
  • I really liked the tag at the end of the credits, a mixture of hope and cynicism that struck a chord beautifully with me - I didn't see it at all as a sequel hook.
  • I'm blogging again. Remember blogs?
Posted by pyrodactyl
@Tylea002 I killed Ben, it was a mistake but man he was such a fuck up. Telling Kenny about what he did in the middle of a zombie attack. Seriously WTF?
As for leaving Lily, are you completly insane? Abandonning her was the most clear cut right choice in the entire season. It wasn't murder on my part since she can survive on her own and she showed she was a crazy unstable bitch by shooting someone in cold blood on a unch.
Posted by Hitchenson
  • I killed Ben
  • I killed Larry
  • I left that bitch to rot on the side of the road because fuck her
Posted by laserbolts

You judge people on the decisions they made in a video game? I want nothing to do with you.

Edited by MildMolasses

Fuck Ben. His noble sacrifice was in episode 4. Otherwise he dies like the fuck-up idiot he was in episode 5.

I let him go out on his terms. He wanted me to let him go to not hold the rest back. So I did. Do you know how angry I would have been if saving him lead to someone else dying? We've been given either/or scenarios, and even deaths with no say in the matter. I was not going to let Ben's continued existence cause anyone else to die

Posted by Tylea002

@laserbolts: I don't actually judge people, the "I want nothing to do with" line was more just representative of how passionate this game can make you about decisions which, as I say later in the blog, really do have no right answer. That's the point I tried to get across, the fact this game gets under your skin like that; I'm not saying I genuinely judge people by video games.

Edited by Ghostiet

Leaving Lilly on the road is the right choice. She's broken and becomes a threat to everyone - this is especially apparent when you have Carley. She kills her basically because she told her to quit being a paranoid bitch. It's not even an accident, where Doug throws himself at the bullet, where it could be excusable. When someone begins to kill out of sheer spite, there's no coming back.

Leaving her might be cruel since she's basically hopelessly broken, but when she brought up Lee's past when Kenny came by, she stopped being even remotely redeemable. Especially since my Lee backed her up pretty much all the time apart from killing Larry - which was excusable for me until I saw what happens if you try CPR (and I kinda don't like that the game pulled a "YUP YOU FUCKED UP", since it's the only time the game does that when it comes to moral choices). I never gave her shit.

Edited by DeadPan

Killed Ben because he was a snivelling little coward who got people killed.

Also lolscreened