The Walking Dead: Season 1
The Walking Dead is a point-and-click story game in which the player must make quick-time decisions. The game is based on the popular comic and TV series by the same name.
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Story & Themes
Spoilers ahead! Several tragedies occur in a short span of time. The teenage member of the group is accused of treachery (and later proven guilty, though his heart was in the right place), someone is shot by the group’s paranoid leader, who disappears with their transport, and young Duck is bitten by a “Walker,” the colloquial term they’ve given the zombies. As Duck’s condition deteriorates, the group comes across a train, which they get up and running with the help of a homeless man who has been living there. Finally it becomes clear that Duck will not survive, and his mother, Katja, commits suicide, leaving Kenny grief-stricken.
The group encounters a young couple who helps them out of a tight spot, and they finally make it to Savannah. The city is overrun, however, and after determining that there is no boat left, Clementine is suddenly kidnapped by a mysterious man who claims he has her parents with him. Lee is then bitten before he can rescue her, and in the end Clementine—though safe for the moment—has lost her protector.
The Walking Dead is a cinematic experience where the player, acting as Lee, must make many quick-time responses and decisions. Characters remember what Lee has said to them, and will often—though not always—follow his lead. Tragedy is inevitable, but Lee’s decisions dictate the general direction of the storyline. The loyalty of Lee’s comrades is tested at the end of the game when an injured Lee must rescue Clementine.
The game’s themes include family, fatherhood, despair, and survival. The player must make a lot of tough decisions, and the game doesn’t coddle. For instance, Lee can offer to kill Duck before the child becomes a Walker—and the player must aim the gun at Duck’s head and shoot. The Walking Dead aims to make us second-guess ourselves, and it does a good job of showing the player just how tough last-second decisions can be—who do you save? You can only choose one of your friends, and you only have 3 seconds to decide. Plus you don’t know if they’ll survive anyway. The game isn’t difficult, mechanically, but those decisions can be exhausting and ultimately tragic.
Any moment where Lee must make a decision can be considered a conversation point, and there are certainly a lot of those moments. Here are a few examples:
- What do you think you would've done if a zombie apocalypse happened to you? Where would you have gone?
- At what point does survival become more important than morality? One group decided to kill their sick, elderly, and children in order to ensure their own survival—what part do you think fear played in this decision?
- Do you think it’s harder to make split-second decisions than it is to just react in a split-second? What makes this game different from other games?
Action/Adventure, Point-and-Click Adventure, Role-Playing (RPG), Stealth, Survival Horror
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North America, North America/U.K./Australia
Cannot be played online