I was already a reader of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics when I picked up Telltale’s version on Steam in 2012. I came for the game’s resemblance to the art style from the funny books, but stayed because of its similarity to Kirkman’s excellent characterisation and shocking brutality. We are the Walking Dead, indeed. Telltale demonstrated they understood that from the start of this series.
Season One was the game that put Telltale on the map for me, although I've enjoyed others since. I played its episodes back-to-back over the course of one harrowing weekend. I bewildered my family by bursting into tears and hammering on my keyboard relentlessly at points, until they had to tell me to stop in case I broke it. I still don’t want to go into too many details with you about why it made me do those things in case you haven’t played it yet. If you haven’t, please play it.
The Walking Dead is about surviving zombie flesh eaters, yes, but it’s mostly about bringing up, caring for, and respecting children. It’s the story of two people – a man, Lee, and a girl, Clementine – who look after each other and find some kind of family during the worst possible circumstances. The man is a murderer, which isn’t ruining anything since you find out right at the start. I was still a few years away from becoming a father when I played it, so I think I identified more with Clementine than Lee, anyway.
I’m now a dad to daughters, and lost my own father earlier this year, so I’d like to play it again to see whether I feel differently about it. I’ve dabbled with most of Telltale’s output since the first season of The Walking Dead, but nothing’s grabbed me as much as it did. Nothing except being a dad IRL, at least.