Wednesday, January 15, 2014

EXP Podcast #259: The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 Debrief

Much like the eponymous monsters for which it is named, The Walking Dead is back! This week, we have a thorough conversation on episode one of Telltale's second season of the Walking Dead. For those of you who haven't played it, what are you waiting for? But seriously, you can listen to the first half of the show without fear of spoilers, as we use it as an opportunity to talk about adventure games, tweaks to the mechanics, and the state of the series in general. After that we jump right in with story details. We're looking forward to comparing notes with folks that made different decisions, so feel free to jump into the comments!

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Show notes:

- Runtime: 48 min 32 sec
- Music by: Brad Sucks


  1. Hey guys, I just wanted to make a quick argument in favor of the "X will remember that" notifications. Don't think of it as, "Oh, that's a data point the game recorded". Think of it as a substitute for facial cues that you can't easily convey in the game engine/art style. Sort of a, "Hey, you really got their attention there." I find that it adds a lot to my understanding of the other characters. It's too bad that they don't give you the option to turn it off any more, but I feel like it was an intentional design decision.

  2. Hey Chyness. That's very much how I view the notifications as well. I used them less as a form of prescience, and more as though Lee (and in this case Clem) noticed something that I otherwise couldn't. Maybe the issue, besides removing the option of course, is the state "will remember that" is definite, as opposed to, say, "may remember that."

  3. You guy touched on it lightly, but I'm surprised I didn't hear more about about my 2nd favorite moment in the game (behind the brutal dog scene): the moment at the house when the group is discussing what to do with Clementine and she needs to appeal to someone. To me, that represents the strongest step Telltale has taken to create a moment unique to its young protagonist. That scene would have been impossible with Lee or 99% of player characters in other games, who always become the de facto leader no matter what the situation.

    It's sometimes thrown out as a criticism in the vein of "the choices don't matter," but in truth one of The Walking Dead's greatest strengths is knowing when to apply and when to remove player agency. Season 2 is a big opportunity to further explore that with indirect problem-solving and shifted power dynamics, so it was this moment that really got me excited for what the rest of the season might do.

  4. Finally got to this game (and the podcast) last night. Loved your insights, but the one other thing I'm curious about is the wristwatch I found.

    If you didn't see it, it was inside the desk where the bandages were found. I picked it up to examine it, but she pocketed it instead. Immediately, I regretted it: if it came to pass that these people did end up helping me (as it did), taking desperately-needed supplies is justifiable. It's forgivable. Taking a watch that was probably keep purely for sentimental reasons is not. It's like the lady trying to steal Clem's hat. It's wrong.

    I tried to put it back. The game wouldn't let me. In the spirit of things, I stuck with the decision. Even if it was unintended on my part, I pressed on. I never did find a use for it, so I'm sure this will bite me in the ass in another episode. My only hope now is that it belonged to Nick, and that Nick didn't escape the walkers I left him with.

    Did you guys find the watch? If so, did you take it?

    P.S. I saved Doug. Carly didn't even know how batteries worked: USELESS.

  5. I had completely forgotten about the watch...until I was reminded in episode 2! No more spoilers in case you haven't played it yet.

  6. I did play it. Frankly, the resolution to this was rather disappointing. I kind of wish there had been a harsher consequence.