By: Ren Westerman
Early on in the current semester I had a little extra spending money and decided to add to my collection of "The Walking Dead" games. I don't own all of the "Walking Dead" titles, but I do own "The Walking Dead," "The Walking Dead: Season Two," and the most recent addition "The Walking Dead: A New Frontier." Similar to "Life is Strange," "The Walking Dead" series was made in part by the company Telltale Games, and as such, follows the same style of allowing the player to make choices which affect small details throughout the story itself.
The answer is a little more clear than one might think, and it partially lies within that second question. Take a step back and ask yourself for a moment why people read horror stories, murder mysteries, psych-thrillers, etcetera. While those genres aren't necessarily for the faint of heart, they do offer a rather interesting narrative and perspective, often in regards to the human psyche. The zombie horror genre, whether in book or game, takes the whole idea of 'something bad must happen for this to be a good story' and takes it to the extreme.
Clementine is a very young girl who the player is introduced to within about 10-15 minutes of playing Episode 1 of "The Walking Dead." She is left home alone with a babysitter (who of course we meet as a zombie) and ends up joining another main character, Lee, shortly after we meet her. Taking into consideration some comparative analysis of the mere idea of a zombie apocalypse, we typically expect themes like 'survival of the fittest' to arise when describing the handful of individuals who don't become walking corpses. Clementine is an interesting counter to this thought process in both the ideas of age and gender as well as some combination of both.
We can actually see a bit of this observation throughout the duration of all three of the games I mentioned earlier. A child is expected to be feeble and a burden. They don't have experience with survival let alone self-defense or the basics of combat. They're seen as someone who must depend on the skills and expertise of someone else in order to survive. Throw in some gender analysis and you push that concept even further. Clementine does at times follow these expectations at times because to a certain extent, it's a bit reasonable to expect a child not to become Rambo the instant the apocalypse begins.
I would love to go into more detail about each game and how they directly impact Clementine's character, but telling you about it can never compare to experiencing it for yourself. One thing I will say in closing is that sometimes you have to look at the dead to better understand the living. Just don't get too close to the walking ones mind you.
Life Is Strange. Telltale Games and DontNod Entertainment. http://www.lifeisstrange.com/index.php
Telltale Games. https://telltale.com
The Walking Dead. Telltale Games. https://telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead/
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. Telltale Games. https://telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier/
The Walking Dead: Season 2. Telltale Games. https://telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead-season-two/
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