Is it even a game?
This was probably the most common question asked by hardcore gamers when Telltale Games‘ The Walking Dead took the top honour at the recently concluded Video Game Awards 10th Anniversary celebrations.
Seriously, as a guy who loves a hardcore shooter (HALO) and an immersive RPG (Fallout) the thought that a game that is (A) downloadable and (B) decision·based (not skill-based) could reign as the king of the gaming world is more than shocking.
But, it takes something different to change the way the gaming world thinks and while this title is rife with glitches and technical imperfections, the attention to acting, story-telling and the clever way the title was released didn’t simply create an almost obvious choice for “Game of the Year”. it may have changed the way we look at gaming forever.
TellTale Games originally released the Walking Dead: The Game as a monthly download with five episodes in total. Now you can buy the disc, but back then you had to download it, play it and wait a month to get back in the saddle.
Given that your decisions had real consequences and lives were constantly at stake as well as alliances, players found themselves talking about their decisions with other players every chance they got. Before long, the conversation was what was driving the game, and everyone noticed that something very unique was happening – the story being told was unique to each player, and what was happening to characters in the game was having a real effect on the player. This wasn’t about the strategy of your mind, or the speed of your reflexes, this was about your humanity…
Taking down some other very big contenders such as Assassins Creed III, Dishonored, Mass Effect 3 and the extremely unusual and fulfilling, Journey, the Walking Dead: The Game takes me back to the adventure books I used to read as a child, where my decisions would affect the tale on the pages I was turning.
Well, that was a Nintendo and this is a Wii U. The concept is the same, but the evolution has provided something better, much cooler and quite possibly much more likely to have a real effect on the make up of the gaming wand than anything that came before it.
Available as a download, immersive and not requiring the hardcore skills of a seasoned gamer, the world of video games is being opened up in a new way to a wider audience and more power to TellTale for crafting such a gem amidst the expected titles that have offered sequel after sequel for decades.