Ron’s Game Shop

Welcome back to the Game Shop. In the last edition, I talked about the video game crash of 1983 and how it affected the industry. This time around, I want to talk about a special game that I had the privilege of playing: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead.

I do not want to spoil the game, so I will explain as much as I can without ruining the story. I say this because this is absolutely one of the best experiences I have had playing a video game and I want you to experience it for yourself.

The Walking Dead.

When someone mentions it, most people think of the TV show on AMC. But this game is not based off the show. Its artistic design can be instantly connected to a comic book style. That is the style Telltale decided to go with for this game. It features brand new characters, as well as a few from the comics and the show. For example, Glenn appears briefly in the game, before heading off on his own way to Atlanta.

The Walking Dead is a story-driven single player experience. It is not a first person shooter. It can be better described as a point-and-click adventure game. This may detract some, due to the fact that it’s not like the zombies mode from Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops or Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

The game keeps track of all the player’s decisions, major or minor, and in the end, they can totally affect how a character views you, if a character dies or not, and it can affect the ending in a major way. It’s like Heavy Rain, but it’s not as dramatic and movie-like.

Telltale decided to split the game into episodes. Episode 1, “A New Day,” was released on April 24, 2012, and laid the foundation for the other four episodes in the first season (Telltale expressed a desire to create a second season). Players are introduced to the main character, Lee Everett. Almost immediately afterwards, players meet Clementine. Clementine is an eight-year-old girl living by herself in her tree house after her parents went on a vacation to Savannah. While they were on vacation, the zombie apocalypse occurred. They never came home. Lee becomes a father figure for this girl as they travel together.

The player also meets a large majority of the characters that will be around for the rest of the episodes. The episode starts with Lee being escorted in a police car to Atlanta. Lee and the officer talk along the ride, and the player learns about Lee’s crime. After a zombie walks out in front of the cop car, it crashes and tumbles down a hill. Lee is then set on his way to survive in the harsh world full of zombies. Lee has to survive with other survivors in a pharmacy located in Macon, Georgia, until it is overrun. They manage to escape and reach an abandoned motel. This is where the first episode ends.

The second episode, “Starved for Help,” released on June 27, 2012. The story begins a few months after the first episode ended. The survivors are quickly running out of food, and with turmoil among the group about leadership, things quickly turn sour. The survivors run across a farm of friendly people who offer food and shelter in return for help around the farm and gasoline to power their electric fence. The longer Lee and his group stay at the farmhouse, the more they begin to notice that something very strange is going on.

After the player completes this episode, they begin to notice that the plot twist is hinted at throughout the entire episode. Again, I won’t spoil it, but my jaw dropped. And this is only the first in a series of amazing plot twists.

“Long Road Ahead” was released on August 28, 2012. This episode sends players on the road to Savannah, Georgia, after bandits attack the motel; a trip in which Lee is hoping to help find Clementine’s parents on. They are forced to flee without their supplies, and tensions reach a new height on the road. Now we all know that it wouldn’t be The Walking Dead if someone didn’t die. In fact, a couple characters cease to exist in this episode. This is where the game starts to get interesting.

After the adventures in the third episode, and with some characters now gone, “Around Every Corner” (released on October 9, 2012) starts out with the survivors arriving at their destination in Savannah. However, it is in worse condition than any other town they had stayed in. The city is absolutely overrun with the undead roaming the streets and the survivors cannot go back the way they came. They soon find a nicely defended house, and take up shelter. “Around Every Corner” has no shortage of surprises and plot twists. That is the reason why The Walking Dead is such a great game experience.

The fifth and final episode, titled “No Time Left,” released on November 20, 2012, and provided an amazing conclusion to what was already a great game. After a suspenseful end to episode four (and a ridiculously rage-inducing cliffhanger), Lee is faced with a difficult situation; Clementine has gone missing, and has something much bigger to worry about. Hopefully I didn’t just give too much away, but please play the episodes to find out.

“No Time Left” is MUCH shorter than any of the other episodes, but I have a theory as to why this is; there are so many choices and possible outcomes (at the start of episode five, there are 32 possible variations in the story) that Telltale wanted the longest ending to be about the same length as a normal episode. But for me, it was by far the shortest. And I will not lie to you, I cried manly tears. This goes on the record as the only game to ever make me cry manly tears.

So I have said this before, and I will say it again and again and again: go play this game. The disc version was released on December 11, 2012, and is available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone). I will highly encourage this game to everyone who loves video games, because it is an instant classic. I will be playing the second season, should it ever be released.

Thank you for hopefully reading this wall of text known as the Game Shop. Stay tuned next time when I talk about Sony’s PlayStation 4, which was just recently revealed to the world. Until then, stay classy my friends.

Blog by Ron Compton