The Walking Dead: How I Inadvertently Started To Love Interactive Fiction

the walking dead season 1

A while ago, when Season 1 was finally all done coming out for The Walking Dead video game on PS Vita, I remember buying the season’s pass and settling in for what a lot of people were describing as a “fantastic” game. I had my doubts, seeing as how the gameplay videos looked pointedly boring. I was wrong. So wrong.

So the first few minutes weren’t particularly exiting. You make a few minor choices and the game tells you “Mr. X will remember that.” Ooooh, scary. Where are the zombies, already? So you get in a car crash like right after that and the game picks up, which is nice.

The whole thing is a lot like the show: you constantly meet and lose new characters throughout the “show” while growing closer to the few characters you know won’t die, like yourself for one. The game DOES remember your choices in dialogue’s but they don’t always seem to make a big difference, except maybe at the end but I won’t ruin that for you.

I went into this game not really knowing or caring about interactive fictions but, as I read more about The Walking Dead, I realized that my conceptions of what interactive fiction was were completely off-base. I always assumed interactive fictions were just slightly nicer-looking text adventures. Another stupid assumption.

I stayed up that entire night playing through the first three episodes of Season 1 and I finished the game the next day. There’s a lot to be said about the storytelling in that game, but somehow when I try to describe exactly what it is that draws me in, I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Maybe it’s the way that, by the end of it, I really DID feel like I was making a difference in this world. Maybe it was the way that Clementine (the girl you meet in the beginning) evolves as a character in a way that can’t help but make you feel proud, even if you do lead her around by the nose a bit throughout the game. Maybe it’s just the fact the up-and-down roundness of the characters feels SO MUCH like the show, which I already enjoyed. Something to be said for good uses of IP there, I suppose.

With Season 2 now starting to come out, I’m seriously considering waiting until it’s all released before I buy them just so I don’t have to prolong the agony of waiting for the story to continue. I never thought I would feel so strongly about a game with next to no action whatsoever. Just goes to show what good writing can do.

1 comment
  1. Yeah I would LOVE for more games to adopt this style of storytelling.

    I’m doing what you’re contemplating: waiting for season 2 to be complete before I buy it. Same with Wolf Among Us. Waiting a month to continue the story just seems inefficient.


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