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?
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?