The Walking Dead Episode 5: Best Racist Ever

 By Shamus Dec 5, 2012 202 comments


Link (YouTube)

I thought the girl who wanted to die was a really interesting conversation. If you think about it, people would indeed spend a lot of time cooking up theories on what was happening and why. Like, that would most likely be the new #1 water cooler conversation everywhere, forever. It would probably break down into a few camps:

  1. This plague is the punishment of an angry God or a fulfillment of some prophesy.
  2. This is the result of magic / demonic stuff but was brought about by humans.
  3. This plague is made by the government and was released on accident, or for nefarious purposes.
  4. This plague is the result of alien intervention or stuff from space. (Meteorites and such.)
  5. It doesn’t mean anything / it was just random chance / we can never know the truth / shut up and stop talking about it.

You think people go crazy thinking about who shot JFK? People hate unanswered questions. Just imagine how much more people would fixate on the question of What killed everyone in the world?


A Hundred!A Hundred!2202 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?


  1. Deadpool says:

    I don’t think her believing this is punishment from God necessarily precludes them from being knowing about Zombies. Magical, (or religious) Zombies have existed before. Just because the pseudo science ones are the most common now, doesn’t necessarily mean they’d be the ones we’d get. And, to be fair, the two aren’t mutually exclusive (A Zombie plague was released by stupid men and stupid research. Why? Punishment from God).

    • Shamus says:

      Good point.

      Oh oh! An alien craft crashed, which the government recovered and found it contained a zombie virus, which was then accidentally set free as a divine punishment!

      • Deadpool says:

        Heh… That sounds about right.

        It’s a fun anthropological fact: There it no event, however good or bad, great or small, that someone, somewhere won’t attribute to some sort of deity.

        Cargo cults are probably my favorite example of that, although that’s probably because I thought Dream Park was extra fun…

      • James says:

        Ill Add this in Night Of The Living Dead, the zombie plague was created by RADIATION! from VENUS!, bought back on some space probe, it effects the dead by re-animating them somehow, zombies eat the dead, but not there own, ‘cus WE NEED SOMETHING TO ATTACK THE PROTAGONIST, it ends with a child murdering her mother with a knife, her dad getting shot for being a dick, and the last guy left, a black guy whos kinda like Lee, gets shot in the head by the police who think hes a zombie

      • JPH says:

        That sounds like a solid Deus Ex plot if I’ve ever heard one.

  2. Aldowyn says:

    Chris.. I’ve been agreeing with you a lot this season, and that’s not changing. You hit the nail RIGHT on the head when you brought up the discussion of ‘false choice’. That is THE question when doing any critical analysis of TWD, I think.

    Too bad the rest of the crew didn’t really continue the discussion.

    Oh, and it took me a while to figure out how to open the lock on the gate because I thought hitting it with the axe would make too much noise and it seemed reasonable to find the combination. There’s some issues with a lot of these puzzles, and they were never the strength of the game – I’m kind of glad they focused on them a little bit less in the later episodes

    P.S. Lol some great puns Rutskarn. Especially the ‘awl in’ one. That one made me wonder if you had any sunglasses…

    • I wanted to know why I couldn’t use Lee’s dad’s cane to drag the brick within reach, for example.

    • Hydralysk says:

      Yeah, the issue of false choice has been brought up a lot on the net. One of the reasons I hated ME3 was because the game’s narrative overrode my choices or turned them into abstract number bonuses. In TWD however I didn’t feel as cheated, even though it also had few branching outcomes, because the theme I’d felt throughout was that terrible stuff happens and there’s not much you can do about it. For me the choice’s success lay in it’s character building, it felt like I built Lee into an avatar of my personal values and ethics. Lee himself doesn’t have the power to drastically alter the narrative, but how he handles himself shapes what kind of person he becomes in the narrative.

      That said, I do understand why people could become frustrated, but in my case it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game.

      • Klay F. says:

        Part of the reason why TWD works in most cases and ME3 doesn’t is because every choice (choice here being in finger quotes) easily flows back into the narrative.

        Contrast this with ME3′s penchant for just giving us “not-Mordin”, “not-Grunt”, “not Rachni Queen” etc.

        In ME3 the forks in the story are hammered back into the singular narrative with all the elegance of a drunk rhinoceros, the result of which feels like a giant “fuck you” from the developers. With TWD it is usually much more deft.

    • Shamus says:

      I’ve been holding off on the choice / consequences discussion because we’re really early in the series. We haven’t hit that many choices yet, and so we’ll have to refer to things in vague, roundabout, non-spoiley ways, which will hamstring the discussion. So, I’m waiting until we’ve got some decisions behind us.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Okay. That’s a good answer, Shamus, thanks.

        *edit* Also, that original post MIGHT have had a bit of an accusatory tone, or maybe I’m just reading it that way because I kind of meant it that way. In either case, I apologize. It seemed to me like the group just rushed over his perfectly valid point – I was obviously wrong.

    • Jakey says:

      The game does actually cover the padlock thing if you talk to people, because the writers did seem to think of everything. You can ask them about it before you rescue Glenn at which point you find out that Glenn’s the one who knows the combination, then when you ask Glenn he says something to handwave it away and tells you you’re better just breaking the lock.

  3. Deadpool says:

    Putting this on a separate post since it’s an entirely different discussion…

    I’m probably the biggest prominent of the “Choices should matter more.” but this isn’t a “EVERY choice should have a massive and noticeable effect.”

    This is a non choice, but it’s okay to have non choices in games like this: It helps make your other choices more poignant. The problem is the game doesn’t exactly offer other choices.

    I wouldn’t mind having this lady die NO MATTER WHAT if, for an example, the choice between going in the morning or at night would lead to two separate scenes. Maybe going at day you end up in Hershell’s farm and going at night you end up meeting Glenn, Doug and Carly. You have different conversations, different events, and you go to the drugstore before Kenny, then get to see the scene with Kenny coming in and the game is back to the same.

    The game still ends in the same place (as it kinda has to… Until episode 5, which is an entirely different complaint) but at least your choices have some consequence beyond the next five seconds.

    It’s okay to have non choices. I think it hurts the narrative of the game a lot that they have nothing BUT non choices.

    • Aldowyn says:

      But that’s Chris’ point. IS this choice a non-choice? Sure, it doesn’t affect what happens. But it affects HOW it happens, and I think that makes a difference, especially in a game that’s all about the character interaction and dealing with events like that one.

      • Deadpool says:

        “This is a game about choice.”

        But seriously, it hurts the game by quite a bit. This is because it takes away from the “Holy crap, what should I do?” effect of tough choices when you know that NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE.

        • Aldowyn says:

          But things WILL change! Just not circumstances. Kenny will think differently of you, for one.

          • Deadpool says:

            And Kenny not liking you adds three quick time events to the game and a few new asshole lines instead.

            And most of the choices don’t even affect Kenny…

            Seriously, all of this would be kind of okay if episode 5 had big changes. The end of episode 4 hints that 5 will be wildly different depending on your choices, and that would have been okay. Hell, it could have been great.

            • Aldowyn says:

              I think we’re getting to the point where it’s just a difference in opinion, but I’ll leave you with a quote:

              “it’s about the journey, not about the destination”

              • Deadpool says:

                See, the example I gave WOULD have changed the journey and still have the same destination.

                The difference between “Meet Shawn/Chet, help push a car, end up at Hershell’s farm” and “Meet Shawn/Cop, watch cop shoot Chet, end up at Hershell’s farm” is kinda superfluous isn’t it?

                • Aldowyn says:

                  I wasn’t arguing that choice, I’m totally fine with your example. But if THAT isn’t a non-choice, then there ARE other choices in the game that are also non-choices for this one to give context to or whatever.

            • Klay F. says:

              The effect of Kenny not liking you isn’t that you get some more quicktime events. The effect of Kenny not liking you is that Kenny doesn’t like you. The effect of Kenny liking you? Then Kenny likes you.

              I’m sorry if that sounds like a tautology, but it is no less true. I’m sorry if the game somehow failed to live up to some arbitrary standard of narrative branching to fulfill some equally arbitrary gameplay to choice ratio. But the more you talk about the game, the more it comes across that you were expecting something completely opposite from the majority of people.

              • Deadpool says:

                I didn’t much more than what we got, but an attempt would have been nice.

                Especially considering the developers kinda said that’s what we’d get. I mean, the director of episode 4 says flat out the decision at the end of episode 4 would cause a “dramatic” change in the experience of 5. And it flat out DOESN’T.

                But beyond that, this isn’t about expectation. This is about what’s better or worse for the game. Because, narrative focus or not, this is supposed to be a GAME right?

                What’s the core mechanic here? It’s not combat and puzzle solving is all but forgotten as the episodes go on, so what’s the “play” part of this game?

                • Klay F. says:

                  The “play” part is the conversations obviously. It was clear to me from the outset that the “game” as it were was going to be about the interaction between these characters. The characters themselves are CONSTANTLY calling back to your previous decisions, whether the decisions affected the story or not. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you, but it obviously does to many people here, because that is how you build believable characters.

                  The game says it itself at the beginning of each episode. “The game adapts to how you play.” The characters are the only part of the game that matters. It say nowhere that the story adapts to how you play. THAT is the difference, because the characters very definitely adapt to how you play.

                  • Deadpool says:

                    DO the characters change? I mean, I know Kenny scream “You never had my back!!!” once or twice, but how does he CHANGE?

                    See the problem is we have a game whose core mechanic is making choices and we have choices that lead nowhere.

                    Where’s the player engaging the game? Why is the player considering these choices at all if they affect NOTHING? It becomes less a game of “What will I do?” and more “Which choice will make character a like me and character b not like me?” It forces the place to metagame because there isn’t really a game…

        • But seriously, it hurts the game by quite a bit. This is because it takes away from the “Holy crap, what should I do?” effect of tough choices when you know that NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE.

          Isn’t that an argument after the fact though? It’s not like you’d know going in she’d still end up with the gun. I actually thought the choice with the woman was contextualized rather well.

          • Deadpool says:

            I suppose the episodic nature of the game probably made this problem more obvious, yes.

            During the first episode, I DID struggle with my decisions. Then watched my roomate play with mostly opposite decisions.

            By episode 3 though, it should be pretty obvious even to single players that nothing you do will ever change anything… Especially if you’re like me and disagree with Kenny.

            • Thomas says:

              This is the bit that I’m interested in, how do people learn that the choices don’t change things? Because they’ve deliberately designed the game to keep the trick up, no saving, no easy reloading, often cutscenes in the way of reloads etc. I found out because I read someones comment ages ago about how the going at night/go by day didn’t diverge the story and because I felt there was no way they’d have the resources to actually let you choose these options. Just that they make the current option the one that’s actually sensible (ep2 going to the farm, ep3 not running away with Lilly)

              Another guy I spoke to got frustrated with a negative event and looked up a walkthrough for a way to avoid it and found out.

              I’d be interested in hearing other people’s experiences with this

              • Deadpool says:

                Easiest way to make this clear is disagree with Kenny.

                Kenny drives the story. Any choices you make if he agrees they happen, if he disagrees something else happens.

                By episode 3, between Kenny just straight overruling you in every call, and Lily essentially undoing the only choice you’ve had so far that had any sort of impact (however small it was), it becomes pretty damned clear that it doesn’t matter.

                I may have believed that episode 5 would be the big changing one, especially considering how 4 ends. But by then I was curious, so youtube fixed that up.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I wouldn’t mind having this lady die NO MATTER WHAT if, for an example, the choice between going in the morning or at night would lead to two separate scenes”

      Um,they do.Thats exactly what the crew discussed during that scene.Instead of helping those two start a car,you end up being found by the police,and one of the guys you wouldve helped ends up zombified.

      Or do you think thats a choice with no consequences because the difference needs to last for X minutes?By that logic,the ending of planescape:torment is just one,and all the choices are irrelevant because you will just end up dead either way.

      • Deadpool says:

        It’s like five dialogue lines. Neither Chet nor the cop ever show up or have any effect on any character in any way shape or form. The biggest difference is whether or not you do a quick time event.

        You don’t know Chet, there is no emotional connection. His life or death means nothing to the game or the player. The cop has no effect to the plot. It is a true non choice, with no meaningful story, gameplay or emotional impact at all.

        This situation is a non choice, but it has a story point. It’s the first big “You can’t save everyone” moment, and it’s quite nice. Day or night? ZERO effect no matter how you look at it.

        • Aldowyn says:

          There is a choice that has long-term effect (at least 2 episodes, depending on how you see it) coming up VERY shortly.

          • Deadpool says:

            Have you seen the two ways episode 2 and 3 can go? Seriously, it’s smaller than the difference between ME3 vanilla and extended cut…

            • Aldowyn says:

              I’m about to make a pretty big claim, so bear with me here:

              True narrative choice in a video game is a logistic IMPOSSIBILITY. Having something that truly branches just doesn’t work. Doing so at the end requires either A: To be the end of the entire series or B: To make one ending ‘canon’, thus invalidating the choice.

              Feel free to argue THAT point. (I’m serious, do!)

              • Deadpool says:

                Fallout 1 and 2.

                Yes, there is a canon ending, but they’re vague enough about it to let 90% of your choices matter.

                The beginning and the end of the games are just this side of identical, but the methods of getting there are widely different.

                Very different games, I know, but just a point. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE.

                And I gave an example of it already. Would it really be IMPOSSIBLE to just add that scene? Give players another look at different characters? Letting players approach the same scene (Kenny’s stupid arrival at drug store) from two different angles (one coming WITH and asking for sanctuary, the other deciding to accept new members to the supply-less group) isn’t an impossibility. It’s RARE, but still DOABLE.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  If it’s vague then it’s not a narrative ‘ending’, really (also I haven’t played either, so I can’t argue more specifically).

                  This game DOES have narrative branches that come back together like the example you gave, just not very many.

                  I’d also argue that’s not the POINT of this game. It never says NARRATIVE choice. It’s about the emotional journey more than the physical one.

                  • Deadpool says:

                    It’s hard to use it as an example if you’ve never played them… But the game does get around it a lot by having a sequel simply deal with different issues.

                    Also, judging game one because of its effect on game two is just kinda silly. If the developers gimped themselves in the hopes for a sequel, that’s actually pretty stupid.

                    Much as I AM looking forward to season 2 I would HOPE its connection to season 1 is as tenuous as season 1′s connection to the comic…

                    In the end, there is nothing stopping them from making the choices have an actual effect in the story beyond the cosmetics except time and money. Which are fair I suppose, from a business standpoint.

                    But we aren’t stockholders, we aren’t their advertisement department, or their accountants. We’re their audience. This game is WEAKER for its lack of choice. It takes away the gravitas of the choices, the impact of the decisions you make. It takes away the tension and immersion that could make this story much more powerful.

                    • Aldowyn says:

                      It’s a season 2. One would expect it to continue the narrative.

                      Like I said, logistically impossible, not literally. Voice acting, animation, writing, everything just combines to make a branching storyline harder and harder, and I personally think what we gain from those makes it not worth it.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  So wait,its ok when fallout does it,but its not ok when the walking dead does it?Just because one of the games does it for longer?

                  • Deadpool says:

                    You REALLY don’t see the difference between choice in Fallout and choice in Walking Dead? Seriously?!? I mean, have you played the games in question? He hasn’t, so that’s a fair excuse…

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      The difference is in scope alone.You yourself said that doing something different about kenny gives you a few quick time events later on,and changes his dialogues.Thats a branch right there.Its not as big as completely going off the rails and finishing your objective before ever learning about it,but its still a branch.

                      Thats like saying that because there is a huge difference between a wrecking ball and a basketball,one of those is not a sphere.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      Let’s look at another example: Tactics Ogre.

                      Chapter 1, mostly the same. end of it you have a major choice.

                      Chapter 2, two completely different chapters. The end of one of them we have another branch.

                      Chapter 3, three VERY different chapters.

                      Chapter 4, mostly the same.

                      When I say different I mean, different characters, different situation, different dialogue, different themes, different thoughts and feelings.

                      The beginning and end are the same, but the middle is wildly different.

                      Know what the difference between a STEP and a JOURNEY? Just the scope.

                    • Aldowyn says:

                      @Deadpool It took me a while to figure out that you weren’t talking about TWD, honestly.

                      Episode 1: Mostly the same, end of it you have a major choice Doug, Carley
                      Episode 2: two somewhat different chapters. The end of both of them we have another (identical) branching. Larry
                      Episode 3: Four significantly different chapters.
                      Episode 4: Can be significantly different, depending on choices from episodes 1, 2, and 3. Ends with another big decision. Kenny’s relationship and then dropping Ben
                      Episode 5: Two branches, decision. Lots of slightly different branches. all come together, end. Ben alive/not, then showing the bite, who comes with you to find Clem. Then ending.

                      Throughout it all people treat you differently based on the choices you make and how you treat them. THAT is the point of The Walking Dead, not different characters or different situations.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      What are the differences in episode 2 and 3?

                      We’ll talk about 4 and 5 when I don’t have to strike entire posts, but what happened in 2 and 3 that made it a change in the JOURNEY and not the STEP?

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      “Know what the difference between a STEP and a JOURNEY? Just the scope.”

                      But thats just it,you keep telling how it wouldnt matter if some of the steps were identical if there were others that were not,and yet there were others that were not,yet you keep saying how those dont count.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      Because they don’t change anything MEANINGFUL. There is no new insights, there is no new outlooks, no new plot points. The journey itself is ALWAYS the same.

                      Moreover, there are no moments where you go “Man, I wish I hadn’t done that earlier!” and no moments where you got “I’m sure glad I did that!” In a game where every “choice” boils down to “Oh man, both these options suck, which one sucks less?” it is kind of damaging when they’re all THE SAME THING.

                    • In all games, the story will be the exact same regardless of your choices. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

                      Even in the original Fallout games, the plot was the same. There would be some slight variance, but you’d hit all of the same plot points. This is EXACTLY how The Walking Dead handles it.

                    • Thomas says:

                      I’m kind of on board with ‘it’s the journey idea’ but I disagree that TWD did that. Or if it did, it hasn’t been satisfying. I can’t replay it, and tbh I didn’t even bother having a canon and I always make a canon ending for myself (different issue to save for ep5 though)

                      I can make a case that they are arguing for fatalism, which would be fair enough, but what it’s lacking is a feedback mechanism. When I think of ‘its the journey’ it’s implying to me that you’re a different person, even if you end up in the same place, because otherwise human choice is meaningless and so the events shouldn’t have changed but their should have been a recognition that going through them had a purpose. This puts it on a different level than the ME3 discussion, because it’s not about gameplay validity but the human philosophy it implies. The same person shouldn’t have shot a women or let her be zombified but without feedback this game implys that. Specifically Clem should have been reflecting back your choices. She’s too small to impact the plot so it wouldn’t have caused resource strain or branching narratives and she is also the focal. That would have been good enough, I’m happy to end up in the same place, but only if I think the journey getting there has had meaning and a journey that doesn’t change any of the characters, has no meaning.

                      (Also in this examples, seriously just let the women go off screen and we can see her shot body if we look round the camp later on (implying she was all corpsified and one of us took her out), )

                      Also as to your canon argument, to my mind seperate games are seperate games and a later game can’t impact the validity of a former. So if KotoR2 made lightside KotoR cannon it wouldn’t have affected me being given true choice in KotoR, because they’re different games. It’s just KotoR2 has a backstory I happen to be familiar with

              • X2Eliah says:

                Yeeeah just plain no. Sorry, but NO.

                Witcher 2 has a choice – to give an example – that changes THE ENTIRE SECOND CHAPTER. Not just stylistic choices, but it changes entirely with whom you side, what quests you get, what people you see, what actions you do, and what parts of the map you even get to see. AND it is a choice influenced by and conducted through narrative. And the story converges in the third chapter. And it’s not a case of “completely unrelated two different places and you can only go to one randomly” because it’s about choosing one of two sides involved in the same larger conflict, and actually fighting against the other side at the end of the chapter, but going and doing and seeing different things during it all.
                So no, it’s not an impossibility, because games with it exist (and are bloody awesome).

                • Aldowyn says:

                  *shrug* It closes back in eventually, doesn’t it? And the ending ends up being the same? THAT is my point. All games have to, unless they’re willing to actually FINISH or pick a ‘canon’ ending.

                  Have you ever seen a tree where the branches go back into the trunk?

                  • Deadpool says:

                    But it’s okay. The problem is that this game doesn’t BRANCH. It just adds a line of dialogue, register the choice and moves forward. The tree doesn’t branch, it bends ever so slightly…

                    • Aldowyn says:

                      Yes, Yes it DOES. I said that! Both in the doug/carley decision and the ben decision, and probably a couple others! (Not hugely, but it definitely DOES branch a bit)

                      And I keep saying I don’t think it MATTERS to the kind of story I think TWD is trying to tell. I’m okay if you disagree with that point, though.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      I’d disagree.

                      It’s a story about adversity, and difficulty and making tough choices. It’s a game about choices, and those choices are meant to be Scylla and Charybdis.

                      Do you save someone and risk yourself? Do you let someone die horribly just to save your skin? Do you steal so you can live? So you trust random stranger? Etc, etc, etc

                      If these aren’t the kinda questions you’re asking, then there’s no point in setting your narrative in a zombie universe.

                      And if the player isn’t ACTIVE in these choices, then what’s the point of making it a GAME?

                      Do you know what would change if this game had been a short animated series instead? We wouldn’t get to see youtube videos telling us what percentage of people picked what choice…

                    • Zukhramm says:

                      Sure, it doesn’t branch, but I just see no problem with that. Not all games need to.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      NEED to? No.

                      But a narrative based game whose plot keeps putting the lead character in tough situation with difficult, no right answer decisions to make SHOULD have those decisions MEAN something.

                      Is the game a failure in its state? Hell no. But it’s barely a game… Your level of interaction drops as the episodes progress.

                      The final episode is little more than “click in the one place you can go to, pick up the one item that’s available then use it in the one place an item can be used” and “dialogue options.”

                      Having those dialogue options MATTER would go a long way…

                    • Zukhramm says:

                      Whether they matter or not and whether the story branches or not are two entirely different things.

                    • I will say that the scenes you see vary by quite a bit depending on what you’ve done.

                    • Jokerman says:

                      Aldowyn

                      It does not branch all the time….more than most games though, i dont think that means the choice does not matter.. Its very reactive to your choices – you get many call backs and changes in dialog, but it does not branch with every single decision….which seems like the only way to please some.

                      I think the biggest way it branches throughout the entire game is the Doug/Carley choice. You get the last moments of episode 2 with the end fight and who is blamed for betraying the group in episode 3.

                      Carley also offers a great option to reveal your past to the rest of the group, i liked that. Wish i picked her in my first play through. You dont get that with doug…you do get bells though, everyone loves bells.

                      The other branching choices are Ben and revealing the bite. Everything else is pretty much a mention here and there and a call back. Although all effect who helps you look for Clementine. It never gets to “The Witcher 2″ levels of branching, but i dont expect that from many games.

                      You can also justify some of the choices going both ways, including the girl in this one….she was always going to commit suicide, in real life its hard to change anyone’s mind when its made up….the game just chooses to show you that she is dead set on this course by making her force the action. Same with Kenny in episode 3, he was always going to do what he did….your choice was to side with him….i really liked how they did that one too, let you think you had made the choice then show us that other people than you can decide things in this world.

                      I do have to disagree about people arguing that turning Kenny or others against you has little meaning. In such a character driven game that is everything to me, even the stuff that he always says took a different meaning to me when Kenny was mad at me, plus he brings up every time you ever agreed or disagreed with you throughout the game.

                      I just felt like nobody forgot anything, the things you say or bring up when talking to someone would always be remembered and you have to take that in consideration when dealing with people….i loved that.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      If a story branches, then how can your choices not matter?

                      How can your choices matter if they don’t cause the story to branch?

                  • X2Eliah says:

                    So you only care about the very ending being not the same? Fine, whatever.
                    Dragon age: origins. You can choose who gets to be king/queen, you can choose what goes on with the archdemonbabysoul. New vegas – you choose what ending you get, and that IS a narrative choice that matters within the game’s world. Not in a gameplay fashion (aside from what missions you get), but on a NARRATIVE perspective, it does damn well matter.

                    Also, I still don’t see what your ‘logical’ argument is for narrative branching being an impossibility in games. You just said “it’s impossible because logic”. … So, why exactly is it impossible? Is it because your definition of narrative branching is so tight that it excludes any examples?

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    JFK shot himself,of course.

    Didnt mythbusters do a show about home made silencers?And yeah,pillow wont work.

  5. Spammy says:

    I always kind of liked Daryl in the show, actually. I mean, yes he was rough around the edges, but I always took away from it that he really wasn’t as bad a person as his brother and his dad tried to shape him to be. That he was pretty good, deep down.

    I did not kill the crazy lady. Through inaction though, when I got to the choice I chose to say nothing and that I think lead to the alternate scenario. She tries to take the gun from Carley, and the balcony you’re on collapses and everyone falls onto the ground and she winds up with the gun anyway.

    I guess you could argue though with The Walking Dead that at least during the episodes themselves they don’t have time to question why the zombocalypse happened. Which is good, as I think the why would just be distracting from the actual story of the game.

    • Greg says:

      If you keep watching the show you’ll pretty much have that belief confirmed. Daryl’s a pretty cool guy once he starts actually trying to get along with people.

      I didn’t give crazy lady the gun because I thought that was possibly the dumbest idea ever. “Hey, let’s give this suicidal woman a gun! Hope she doesn’t suddenly have second thoughts and run off, or worse is some kind of bandit who’s running a con! Best case scenario we’re out a bullet!” Lady, if you want to kill yourself, there’s a perfectly good awl down there, go get it.

      I don’t consider myself some hardcore survivalist master, but handing someone you don’t know your only gun is just … why? Why would you ever?

      • el_b says:

        because zombieland.

        also the bike and drugs are merles not darryls. merle is racist, darryl just doesnt like people at first.

      • I chose to give her the gun. I felt that it is better to die a human than live as a zomb… er, walker.

        • anaphysik says:

          Admittedly, IRL I would have offered to shoot her, rather than give her the gun to do it herself (it really is a pretty risky move to give a gun to someone you don’t know, especially someone freaking out as much as her :/ ). But I recognized the confines of the video game’s options and gave it a pass, so gave her the gun. (I was actually hoping Josh wouldn’t, so I’d get to see what happens if you don’t. With all four of them giving it to her, I’m *really* surprised Josh didn’t choose the other option here.)

          • Isy says:

            Shamus stated she gets “dealt with” whichever you choose. Some other people in the thread stated what happens the other route.

            I think the choice would have been stronger if you could have just left her there alone.

          • krellen says:

            She’s remarkably calm for someone that thinks she’s going to be a satanic instrument in a few hours.

            And remember what Herschel said about trusting people. It’s one of the major themes of the game.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wasnt that fourth option in the conversation for you to shoot her yourself?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ugh,why would you try to break the toughest part of the lock by cutting through it?Its the latch that you want to destroy,because its the weakest.Smashing it with any blunt object hard enough would do the trick,you dont need an axe.

    There,I said something negative about the game.Now I can safely gush until the end,and no one can say that Im biased.Oh shit,why did I write that last bit?Lets just hope I will delete it before posting

    • McNutcase says:

      Indeed, I was thinking that you were going to use the brick to smash it off. Even though, well, I have one of the GOOD kind of those locks, with no idea of the combination, and I can open it at will. It’s laughably easy to get the right amount of tension on the staple to just force the combination to line up by aimlessly twiddling the dial.

      Although, might I point out that Lee has a bloody fire axe, and I don’t care HOW awesome the door lock is, the pharmacy door will open to a fire axe? I mean, those things are MADE for busting through doors, and if you’re worried about noise? Just go through the drywall, because THAT a geek like me could cheerfully punch through, quickly and quietly.

      I will be ANNOYED if the lock turns out to be one with no key needed on the pharmacy side, because that will mean that this whole thing was ENTIRELY pointless as well as nonsensical (we’re locked in, except that one dude left, and now two more of us are going after him so we can find the plot coupon that’ll let us be not locked in…)

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Actually you werent locked in at all.The problem wasnt that you couldnt leave,but that larry is ill,and medicine is locked by a key that is in the front.So while you could leave out the back at any time,circling the building is not an option because there are zombies there.

        • MrGuy says:

          Circling the building isn’t an option because “there are zombies there”? Then going out the front isn’t an option because THAT’S WHERE THE ZOMBIES ACTUALLY ARE!!! What’s the difference?

          Sorry, this still makes no sense. It’s the same group of zombies blocking your path either way. You could aim the remote and throw a brick just as easily ducking around the side of the building as you could from the front gate of the building.

          If you can get out by another door, you shouldn’t need to open the front door. At least, not without better reasons than this.

          Oh, and by the way, since no one’s mentioned it, the ordering of these quests makes no sense, and does NOT need to be this way.

          Much simpler and less convoluted approach – front door is the only open door. Side door is locked, and we don’t have the key.

          Make the “get the pills” quest first – just have a different solution to “get the lock off” puzzle than the axe. Glenn’s gone, and hasn’t checked in yet. Lee retrieves the keys, and can successfully enter the pharmacy without setting off the alarm (have a show of him doing things in the right order to not set them off). I mean, it’s his parent’s gorram store – he should know how to do this.

          You give Lilly the pills. She gives one to her dad. He doesn’t recover instantly, because who does? She says thanks and she’ll keep an eye on him.

          Now Glenn checks in via radio. You now have the keys, so you unlock the side door and go help Glenn. Everything at the motel works exactly the same way.

          Now to trigger the final attack. As you return with Glenn in tow, Larry’s starting to recover. He decides he needs more than “just a few pills” – he wants to take the whole inventory. And being headstrong, he insists “he’ll get them himself” and charges off into the pharmacy. And since he DOESN’T know about the alarm, he sets it off.

          Same gameplay, same puzzles, same outcome, fewer magic door plotholes.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            “Circling the building isn’t an option because “there are zombies there”? Then going out the front isn’t an option because THAT’S WHERE THE ZOMBIES ACTUALLY ARE!!! What’s the difference?”

            Ok,its like this:
            4 sides of a building.Back side is clear,front,left and right are swarming with zombies.Circling around would require you to go through 2 groups of zombies.Distracting those in the front,however,enables you to temporarily make that side clear,but left and right will still be swarming.

            But yes,its overall still silly.It gets better though.

      • anaphysik says:

        You actually can bust down the pharmacy door with the fireaxe (so I’ve heard). The alarm goes off either way, of course.

        EDIT: maybe not? Trying to find a vid, getting conflicting text reports.

        • You can try, but the door is too tough.

          Apparently Lee’s family invested in adamantium doors.

          • ? says:

            Don’t you have anti-break-in doors or something like that in America?
            Does every door there have to be breakable with one kick or swing of an axe by law?

            And by the way, do people in America really keep keys to their house under a doormat or other nearby,yet convenient location? Or that’s just extremely lazy writers? Experiencing USA through popular culture makes you wander, what’s the point of locking doors at all.

            • Shamus says:

              Some people do keep their keys nearby, although someone keeping their keys under the welcome mat is like someone with a password of “1234″ – they exist, but they’re rare. It’s generally a guard against locking yourself out. This is particularly true if you’ve got situations where kids get home from school before the parents get home from work, and you don’t want to hand out a house key to all the kids. You put a backup key in some area around the house.

              While it’s not the best practice, it’s not as insecure as it seems. If you’re REALLY a robber, you’re not going to waste time looking in all the flowerpots and under every loose brick – you’ll just break in.

              Also, the practice is more common in rural areas than in cities.

              • anaphysik says:

                It’s also not uncommon for that ‘spare key under the mat’ to already be behind some other protection. E.g. inside your garage, or under a mat in the car.

  8. Nidokoenig says:

    What’s the pharmacy door made of that you can’t get through it with a fire axe? Sure, it being somewhat reinforced makes sense, but breaking down doors is what those things are for. I’m also showing my Englishness here, but if they can get out the back and drive around, they can probably find a police van that should have some equivalent of the Enforcer(a mini-battering ram for breaking locks and forcing entry).

    I know I’m being a bit nit-picky, but this is the main reason I steer clear of adventure games. You get a door-breaking tool to break a lock to start a Rube Goldberg sequence to get some keys to open the door you didn’t just smash because of reasons. It becomes less about solving the puzzle than about analysing the code and seeing which flag you need to activate. Course, now that I’ve moaned about that someone will probably say that you can try that in the game and have it explained, but that always strikes me as more rationalising the puzzle sequence after it’s been decided. It’s generally more to do with my general preference for the procedural and emergent over the scripted.

    Reminds me of an awesome sequence in Flower, Sun, Rain where you’re stuck in a loop of being posed a problem with an obvious clue and having to go talk to someone who just gives you the answer several times… except that after the first time the guy just rambles on about flags and such instead. But then, it’s a Suda51 parody game so it’s basically agreeing with me that adventure games are silly, so obviously I find it agreeable.

    • Isy says:

      I had Lee try hitting the door with the axe – from the sound of it, it was steel. The axe wasn’t getting through that.

      That’s not to say puzzle game logic isn’t an atrocity, but frankly being an old adventure game fan, the steel door and explanation felt luxurious.

    • At least in the UK, Pharmacy doors are really quite solid because they’ve usually got a stock of controlled drugs behind them (and so are otherwise vulnerable to break-ins from unscrupulous drug addicts / dealers).

      Similarly, I’d be willing to bet that Police Riot Vans are rather harder to break into than the average car – although as you say, they’re probably worth the effort during a zombie apocalypse (aside from toys like the Enforcer Ram, chances are there’ll be some relatively zombie-proof armour in there too)!

  9. Tuck says:

    I keep noticing that one of the prominent zombies outside the drugstore has his lower jaw hanging loose. That guy won’t be biting anything.

  10. Pyradox says:

    Someone asked where you got your degree in Zombie anatomy and your first answer wasn’t ZombiU?

    • Aldowyn says:

      Ba dumm TISSS!

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them had a WiiU yet. I’ve heard very little about ZombiU, so it wouldn’t have been on my mind either.

      • Deadpool says:

        Which is a shame. ZombiU is the best survival horror game this side of… errrrr… Pretty much ever.

        No, it’s not the psychological thriller that Silent Hill 1 and 2 were, but it’s instead a true SURVIVAL HORROR, where you are afraid that you might die at pretty much any time…

  11. So… the Christian woman commits suicide? If she’s that Christian that she thinks the “not a zombie at all” is satanic, why’s she so gung-ho for sinning that badly?

    (And +1 for fire-axe beats pharmacy lock!)

    • Isy says:

      Maybe she’s Protestant.

    • Lovecrafter says:

      Well, from her point of view, her choices are:

      A) Become a satanic creature and kill anyone who gets close.
      B) Force someone else to sin and kill her.
      C) Sin herself and commit suicide.

      Option C does seem like the lesser evil here, since she doesn’t become one of them, nor does she force the burden on someone else. Granted, I’m largely unfamiliar with both TWD and Christianity, so I might be wrong here.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        The problem with C is that She can’t repent for that act, but the other person that kills her could.
        Also Christianity encourages you NEVER to loose hope. You must persevere no mater the trials put before you. So taking the easy way out by suicide or assisted suicide is out of the question.

        • Shamus says:

          No, it’s not out of the question at all, and in fact those sorts of un-bendable, blanket statements fall into legalism, which is the very thing Christ himself was teaching against. His entire ministry was an exercise in breaking all of these taboos without breaking The Law. (The Sabbath, hanging out with tax collectors, the washing of hands, the refusal to condemn others, etc.) For example, the teachers condemned him for healing on the Sabbath, because work on the Sabbath was taboo. But he pointed out again and again that the condition of your heart was more important than the written code.

          Some hypothetical other Christian condemning this woman for receiving mercy because of THE RULES would have been dangerously close to exactly that sort of legalism.

          Also, as I said elsewhere, Christianity is pretty big tent and you can find adherents with many different beliefs.

          • Shamus says:

            Also, I realize that I’m technically breaking my own NO RELIGION rules. Please pardon this. I’m not trying to proselytize, I’m merely offering this for an explanation for why this woman’s actions don’t conflict with her character as presented. I’m not attempting to make blanket statements about all denominations of faith. No offense is intended. Warranty void if seal is broken. Use only as directed.

            • Hal says:

              Offer not valid in Guam and Puerto Rico.

              I’d ask for clarification on your thoughts here, but this is probably already too much of a diversion from your “no religion” clause.

          • krellen says:

            Just a side note that, given her beliefs, I felt that “God Bless You” was the only right thing to say at that moment, and I’m curious how many agreed with me.

            • Shamus says:

              It’s what I chose, too. Although, it did make me wonder if Lee believes in God. Am I expressing genuine sentiment, or just humoring her? It was an interesting moment.

              • Klay F. says:

                I’d say given the circumstances of the voice acting, Lee believes whatever you a roleplaying for him to believe.

                One thing I was majorly impressed with regarding the voice acting was how Lee always seemed to match the tone I’d had in mind when selecting a dialog option. I don’t think I’ve ever played a voice acted game where that was the case. Contrast this with like L.A. Noire, where you didn’t have a clue what the protagonist was going to say or how he said it. That being said, it helps a huge amount when your choices are actually clear. *cough*ME3*cough*

            • Jokerman says:

              I play a first playthrough trying to go with what is the most likely thing for me to say, i would never say “God Bless you” But i did go for “I’m here with you” Which is just as good i thought.

            • AJax says:

              I did too. Although, I felt Lee said that out of sympathy rather than being an actual religious person.

          • Aye – I was raised Catholic and am now atheist, but I remember well enough that the whole point of JC’s New Covenant seemed to be “all those laws that came before aren’t as important as loving other people”

            Obviously all the various Christian denominations interpret to a varying degree (with certain Commandments and Laws in particular), but that’s specific dogma.

            I think it’s easy for people to forget that ‘Christian’ covers quite a lot of specific, individual beliefs (many of which vary only slightly)

        • Isy says:

          Growing up Protestant (which doesn’t necessarily mean I know anything about Protestants, funnily) we don’t really have mortal sins, or requirements to repent before death to absolve sin. Christ kinda covers that thing for you – you don’t need a priest or a special ritual. I think the extreme “no suicide” is a Catholic thing that the media picked up, which leads people to attribute it to all Christians. In other words, what Shamus said below.

          We’re in America, so she’s more likely to be Protestant.

          • anaphysik says:

            Also specifically we’re in Georgia. Catholicism is more pronounced in the North, iirc.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_the_United_States#Demographics

            Of course, she does have a rather ‘neutral’ GA accent.

            EDIT: Annnnd that needs some clarification. By “GA” I meant “General American,” not “Georgia.” Sorry.

            • Aldowyn says:

              I’m pretty sure the highest percentage of catholics were Irish, and most of them stayed in New England. Southerners are much more likely to be english descended, and thus anglican/other form of protestant. (Pretty sure a lot of American Anglicans became something else later)

              • Klay F. says:

                Indeed one of the biggest points of attack against Irish immigrants to America way back when was that they were Catholic.

                Also, since the post is about JFK:

                Even as late as the 60′s there was a pretty strong anti-Catholic bias in the U.S. When he was campaigning for prez, JFK had to assuage peoples’ fears that he wouldn’t turn the U.S. government directly over to the pope.

                Yes, American politics has always been that dumb. Its not a new development.

          • MrGuy says:

            Well, sorta yes, and sorta no, but mostly, well, no.

            The “no suicide thing” was certainly Catholicism before there were other alternatives within Christianity. So, yes, technically it’s a “Catholic thing.” But it’s not like protestant churches were big on suicide back in the reformation either.

            Yes, suicide is still technically considered a mortal sin in Catholicism, in practice it’s rarely treated as such today. Virtually all cases of suicide come from people who are mentally disturbed or emotionally overwrought. The Catholic church generally accepts that these are actions of people suffering from a medical condition (temporary or permanent), and so not as true acts of free will. It’s been more than a few years since suicides were denied a church funeral or burial in consecrated ground. Or since the church taught that all suicides are instantly and irrevocably condemned to hell.

    • Shamus says:

      “Christian” is a massive spectrum of beliefs. Some churches teach that suicide is basically equal to murder, always. Others don’t have any particular teaching against it, or at least nothing that goes beyond normal societal taboos. (i.e. suicide is bad because it hurts those that love you.)

      • StashAugustine says:

        Although, it would be kind of a cool thing to explore the ethics of euthanasia in a post-zombie world. Something like shooting (ep3) Duck who’s pretty clearly going to die in a few minutes would be justifiable. Executing Larry as soon as you meet him because he’s got a heart condition would be right off. At what point would you execute a terminally ill person to prevent them from becoming a zombie?

      • It would be interesting to know how those who do believe in the “suicide is major sin” version tackle this choice then. Do they condemn the woman? Do they allow her to commit suicide, get someone else to kill her, or walk away?
        (There can always be some trigger point (which raises a reaction the developer didn’t see) in a game for some people(*), and this is the first time (IIRC, I might not) that religion has been brought up in this game.)
        (*)I’m reminded of the moment in Portal 2, where Wheatley mocks Chell for being adopted being a trigger moment for at least one adopted child that made the news.)

        • StashAugustine says:

          Theology Of The Living Dead. I love the Internet. I’d argue (as one who believes suicide a sin) that the proper procedure would be something like in episode 3 when Duck gets bitten where you care for them up until the point of death, and then execute. It’s a little fuzzy depending on speed of transformation, certainty of death, ablity to restrain them, etc. Much more questionable are cases like killing Ben if he survived into Episode 5.

          Also, in a 28 Days/Left 4 Dead Technically Living Zombie scenario, it gets a lot fuzzier because there’s a small hope for a cure. In most cases, similar rules would apply, though.

        • MrGuy says:

          I believe you’re drawing a false moral distinction, at least as most Christian faiths I’m aware of would see it.

          I’m going to take this from the Catholic perspective, since we’re the ones most linked to “suicide is the worst mortal sin” perspective (as I discuss in an earlier post, this is actually largely NOT how it’s seen in practice in the modern church, but that’s a different argument).

          The reason suicide was ever considered a mortal sin (and, again, in theory still is) in the first place was not so much “you killed yourself and that’s murder and murder is bad” but rather “by choosing to die, you demonstrate that you have lost faith in God’s infinite goodness, and so effectively denied God.”

          The important piece (like any sin, as far as Catholicism and pretty much all other Christian faiths would hold) is not the act itself but the INTENT behind the act. If it would be a mortal sin for her to shoot herself, it would be effectively the same sin for her to ask someone to shoot her when she believed that person would in fact do so. And both would be seen very differently from someone out hunting who misses their target, has the bullet ricochet off a rock and come back and hit them in the head (even though technically this would be shooting yourself.)

          It’s the choosing to die that’s the sin, not the pulling of the trigger. You can’t get out of a sin (if that’s what you believe it to be) on a technicality.

  12. The Rocketeer says:

    I’ve got to say, I am holding off on watching the series since the crew’s deciding to cover it forced my hand into finally getting it for myself.

    And boy, am I ever glad I did! I am starting the third episode now and I am just having a blast with it. Really looking forward to catching back up with Spoiler Warning to hear some different takes on the material.

  13. Isy says:

    I spent at least five minutes going “I don’t wanna” when the game forced me to axe open the door. Does that seriously not seem like the worst possible thing to do? Can’t we just let Larry die.

  14. Danath says:

    I’m annoyed at the constant ragging on the Ice Pick, because those things really can drive through your skull and kill you in a single hit. They HAVE been used as murder weapons and they can easily destroy you with a solid well placed blow against your skull. The skull is not an impenetrable fortress, it just isn’t much of a defense against an ice pick, especially since your head can be broken just by PUNCHES or accidentally falling on small rocks if they hit you wrong.

    Wheras driving an axe through the collarbone/ribcage/spine is a much harder proposition, what with all the tough bone and meat in the way, it just makes sense that he couldn’t cleave through it in a single chop and that the eventual headshot did result in a kill. Aiming an axe is harder than you think, it takes some practice, as anyone who’s bothered trying to properly chop firewood can tell you.

    It’s the kind of thing where “these people have never heard of it, so they think it can’t happen, despite having never actually tried to look up information on whether it has or could happen.” Kind of undercut alot of the rambling.

    Also regarding zombie strength, that has to do with the idea that zombies have no “limiter” on their brains to stop them from using so much strength to harm themselves. Yes, we can do that, that’s what pulling muscles or straining ourselves so hard we break our own bones is. Zombies just have no self restraint or care for their own form, they just lack the ability for advanced motor functions, but flailing with undead strength they CAN do.

    Normally I love these episodes but some of the ranting in this seemed to really focus on nitpicking things that you guys were WRONG about.

    • Shamus says:

      No… not… not WRONG!

      dun dun dun!

      The horror!

      Seriously? You’re angry because we didn’t know you could stab people in the head with an ice pick? Did I miss a class in high school? Is this knowledge really that common? Moreover, is THIS something to be mad about? Nobody was “ranting”. Someone said it seemed strange / implausible, and others agreed.

      I have no doubt it COULD piece the head – I know the skull isn’t metal – but trying to picture it it seems like an overhead swing might not be enough, or that it would be hard to get the angle right to avoid the tool glancing sideways on the curved surface. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but it’s hardly a ridiculous position.

      Understand that this is an unrehearsed conversation. It’s not like we planned it all out. “Hey huys, we totally need to bring up this bullshit about icepicks. That totally ruined the game for me!” “Me too!” It just came up in conversation.

      • anaphysik says:

        “Did I miss a class in high school?”

        As you know, Shamus, American education just isn’t up to standards. Good thing you’re homeschooling your kids, so Heather and you can teach them all about the weaponizability of awls.

        But Shamus, you really ought to have known this. They are awl-purpose, after awl.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I want to point out that this is why I’m moving more and more away from LPs as a form of analysis. Analysis and spur of the moment don’t go great together.

        You end up having little nitpicks like that all the time overshadowing the TRUE issues/strengths of the game.

        In other words, at this point I watch SW more for the funnies and occasional bits of wisdom that seem practically prepared you guys occasionally spout than for constant analysis. There just ISN’T really constant analysis to be made of a video game a lot of the time :/

        #JustSaying

      • Alex says:

        “You’re angry because we didn’t know you could stab people in the head with an ice pick? Did I miss a class in high school? Is this knowledge really that common?”

        When Stalin had Leon Trotsky assassinated, an ice pick was the murder weapon. So I guess it depends on whether you studied Animal Farm in high school or not.

      • Danath says:

        I wasn’t really angry, except it was something that you guys picked at the ENTIRE episode bringing it up as if it was a clever analysis, with accompanying laughs and giggles. It was there from your beginning, it was there at the middle, and it was there at the end. That’s the only reason I found it so annoying. It’s like people who walk out of historical movies because they butcher the history, I have friends who did that during movies like the Patriot, which was never supposed to be historically accurate, but still found it annoying. Will I hate everything written here forever? Is SW ruined forever? No, but I can still point out it was an annoying thing to hear.

        Some people below mentioned Trotsky, it was an ice axe, and it pierced his skull in a single hit. A good solid hit with a sharp long piece of metal can pierce bone, it’s just what happens. People accidentally fall on duller things than this and end up with gigantic metal rods sticking through their heads.

        Reading my own post, I never said angry, I said ANNOYED and then quantified it. I can’t write a thesis on every single thing that was good and bad in the episode here!

      • Jokerman says:

        Maybe Zombie skulls are softer….I dunno…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But these arent people,these are zombies.You can gut someone with a knife,and they will die,but a zombie wont stop for that.If you need to mush their brain completely,would a single stab do it?And why is lee trying to sever the head,instead of going for the split cranium instead?

      • Aldowyn says:

        I dunno why he went for the spine. For the feels, I imagine, because axe + head = smashed head (although that WOULD work if you managed to detach the spinal cord. The head would still be animate, though, which is just creepy)

      • Danath says:

        True, a single stab probably would be unreliable, an axe cleave to the side of the skull probably IS enough though, an axe is alot less slender than a knife.

        Honestly I just assumed he missed the cranium on the first swing, if it had just taken 2-3 swings to hit the head then my theory would have held, but it took more than that. So honestly I don’t know because I wondered that myself at the time. The IDEA he could hit the body first instead of the head is plausible though because it’s hard to aim an axe for a full swing, I guess the toughness of the body had little to do with that though. I probably had a reason to point it out but I can’t remember what it was.

    • SlowShootinPete says:

      I think they may have been complaining about it because in the show you see people driving *knives* through zombie skulls left and right. There’s even instances where they stab directly through the forehead, which is one of the thickest and toughest bones in the human body and would leave pretty much any knife with a broken tip after.

    • MrGuy says:

      I’m totally going to rag on both, for a different reason.

      First of all, awls and ice picks are different tools. They have different (though similar) shapes, for different purposes.

      Outside of being a weapon in a video game, when is the last time you’ve actually seen either an awl or an ice pick? Who do you know who owns either one? Really? These are common “weapons of opportunity?” You’re as likely to find a buggy whip in the back of a car as an awl (more likely these dark post-50-shades-of-gray days).

      An ice pick is a tool designed to chip small pieces off a large block of ice. Why would anyone need such a tool? Because in the days before freezers, when an ice box was literally a box with a big block o’ ice in there, you couldn’t make ice cubes. Your source o’ cold was the big industrial block of ice (which you’d replace every so often). It’s a useless tool for anyone who doesn’t literally own an ice box, and given ice delivery companies are all out of business that’s no one. If you have one, it’s an heirloom (your grandparents might have gotten an engraved one as a wedding present) that sits on a shelf. That’s the best case for ownership.

      There are a few kinds of awl, but the most common (originally) was a leatherworking tool designed to punch a hole in a piece of leather, like a belt hole. Who do you know who does their own leatherworking these days? Even most farmers don’t do this anymore (given most farm equipment is mechanical these days, needing to fix the mule harness is a bit of a lost art). Yes, there are a few people (mostly in very specialized trades or hobbiests) who use them, but not many. There are a few woodworking awls as well, used either for centering a hole or scribing a line, but again pretty specialized in this day and age where hand tools are seldom seen (and where there are alternatives that tend to get the job done more quickly or better). Maybe there’s one in your grandpa’s toolbox, but I’d be there isn’t one in yours if you grew up in the last 50 years.

      • I’ve got two awls in my toolbox (one is a proper Bradawl, one is just an awl).

        I use them for things like putting extra holes in belts, and marking holes where I plan to drill when doing DIY – so stuff that doesn’t come up enormously often, but often enough when I’ve bothered to get my toolbox out.

        I’m 32; I’m not the only man I know who has one amongst his tools.

        (I’d imagine that a lot of people use screwdrivers to achieve similar results, so I do appreciate it when you’re saying they’re a bit more unusual than you’re standard toolset – but they aren’t quite obsolete just yet!)

      • anaphysik says:

        Also, although I suspect they’re becoming increasingly uncommon, ‘shop’-type classes are still a part of middle school & some high school curricula. Those places would definitely have jumbles of old tools lying around.

        (Also, I wonder if it being an ice pick is supposed to be an intentional detail because Glenn was hiding out in an ice box.)

        But yeah, screwdrivers would be a more appropriately common tool.

  15. Raygereio says:

    I get that baseballcap-dude going all “rad” and “awesome” is basically the developer telling the player “Good job!”.
    But within the context of the game it’s kinda disturbing just how excited the guy is over chopping up zombies.

  16. I think a key difference between Mass Effect ‘non-choices’ and TWD ‘non-choices’ is scale.

    Because in all these games your choices do have an impact – they change the way other characters react to you, they change the way your character behaves – they change why your character does what he does.

    That’s pretty momentous in a small scale role-playing game like The Walking Dead – we’re mostly concerned with Lee and Clementine and how their characters evolve (and a little less about how they interact with others).

    We don’t – or shouldn’t – really expect Lee to dramatically influence other characters or change the world around him in any significant way.

    Contrast this with Mass Effect, however, and it’s quite different – Shepard is a character who very much is responsible for the actions of others – and eventually the survival (or not) of entire species.

    So we expect Shepard’s decisions to have game – and world – changing ramifications in a way that Lee’s decisions do not.

    That’s why a choice resulting in a character liking you or not can be satisfying in TWD, and incredibly disappointing if that’s all it achieves in Mass Effect 3

    • Aldowyn says:

      This makes perfect sense, actually. Thank you for explaining something in a way I obviously couldn’t.

      Personal note: I can see why people would be disappointed in ME because of that. That is not where ME fails for me, personally. (Overall it still succeeds, mostly.)

  17. silver Harloe says:

    6. The plague is a natural mutation of some extant disease in response to antibiotics (or is some ancient, but natural, disease that caused the extinction of some other species and only remained in frozen samples in permafrost and which were uncovered recently because of melting of said permafrost)

  18. I’m a little surprised that so few people chose to give her the gun. It felt like the right thing to do.

    Could some of the non-shooters come here an explain the logic they used. I am genuinely interested.

    • Flock Of Panthers says:

      Hypothetical reasons not to give her a gun
      1. She’s emotionally unstable*
      2. It looks like she is turning into a zombie
      3. It’s our only gun

      My actual reason for refusing to let her shoot herself:
      1. The zombies will hear the gunshot, and kill us all. I’m really sorry lady, but we risked everything to save you, and I can’t let you damn us all by taking the noisy way out. I got me a kid to look after.

      Now, if there’d been an “Do you have a pillow?” option, things may have been different.

      • krellen says:

        The whole point of the puzzle sequence prior was to get rid of all the nearby zombies – you realise that, yes?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          So now that the area is somewhat clear,we need to bring in new ones to replace them?Gunshots are loud.Really loud.

          • Klay F. says:

            These are videogame guns remember? Videogame guns can be fired in enclosed spaces with with no resultant hearing damage, and absolutely cannot be heard more than 100 meters away.

        • Flock Of Panthers says:

          ‘Nearby’ meaning ‘strictly the ones close enough for us to see them’, then yes.

          Gunshots are usually loud enough to be heard from more than a couple dozen metres away.

          In the first ten minutes of the game you see that they will follow the distant echoes of gunfire, even ignoring you in the process.

          The game also established that it doesn’t care about the logistics of how a loud, dumb and slow moving zombie can sneak up on people (case in point, the wide empty and daylit field they walked through before surprising Sean and Duck)
          For all I knew, there were zombies in the other rooms of the motel, too considerate to react to us until a dramatically appropriate moment, and by the time the camera panned over we’d see a dozen of them shambling through the one entrance to the complex.

          Hence I felt the gun was a bad idea.

      • Klay F. says:

        Maybe it was just me being genre savvy without realizing it, but I pretty much knew that that lady was sincere. It also led me to know that The St. John’s couldn’t be trusted the moment I laid eyes on them.

        I don’t mean that as a brag or anything. Actually it’s made me realize that I consume WAY too much genre fiction.

        • Aldowyn says:

          *shrug* It never occurred to me she was going to do anything but shoot herself. Or that the noise would be dangerous. Obviously it didn’t to any of the characters, either.

          Basically I knew the crux of the choice as presented due to the presentation :D

          • Klay F. says:

            I think that might be why I didn’t consider the (real life) ramifications of such an act. NONE of the characters even brought up the possibility that other zombies might hear the shot. It wasn’t even in the reasoning of the character who were against giving her the gun. Instead they were against it for completely different reasons. Had that been a consequence of the choice some other character, ANY character really, would have at least pointed out the possibility. Since that consequence wasn’t presented in any way, shape, or form, my subconscious filtered it out before it ever reached my conscious mind.

    • I didn’t view anybody as unsavable, combined with the fact I have a veterinarian and a pharmacy right over there, we can probably get this whole thing taken care of.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I’m not gonna hand our only gun to a crazy lady who might turn into a zombie at any minute.

      • Van Tuber says:

        This is why I chose against it. I was all for killing her, but I wanted Carly to do it (or myself if need be). I was mildly annoyed that the option didn’t come up.

  19. KremlinLaptop says:

    Guns and SUPPRESSORS– oh crikey, we’ve entered into the deep waters of gun-nut pedantry now, haven’t we?

    I can’t really comment based on firm fact whether or not a pillow would work to suppress a gun shot (also with super-sonic ammunition you will always get that lovely crack as the bullet breaks the sound barrier and no suppressor will do duck-all against that). In theory, though? It should work. All a suppressor is is a place for the gasses leaving the barrel of a gun to gradually expand and if you could create enough of a seal between the barrel of the gun and the pillow — with enough material beyond the barrel — so that the gasses don’t just escape through the sides? Yeah, it should work in theory. Your best bet would probably be to use the pillow in such a way as to get the most material compressed against the target (gun against one short edge and the target on the other) and then press firmly to get a good seal.

    Chances are it still wouldn’t be THAT silent.

    However, empty-bottles, oil filters etc are easily an accessible ways to make suppressors for guns:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ADdUgkW6A The oil filter.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlv3rAay-cs The soda bottle.

    And depending on ghetto-craftmanship the results range from darned silent to “Wait, was there a difference?” levels of effectiveness.

  20. Lalaland says:

    Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK we already have the answer.
    (I couldn’t resist baiting the conspiracy types)

  21. If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about possible zombie origins, tell them about the textbook entitled “All Flesh Must Be Eaten.”

    Seriously, even if you don’t want to play the RPG, it’s got several origins GMs can choose from to start their zombie apocalypses, from aliens to scientists to Lovecraft, assuming you don’t have a homebrew you’ve wanted to unleash.

  22. Flock Of Panthers says:

    So, this has been bugging me.

    When we break down the boards to get her out of her room at the motel, the door is boarded up from the outside

    Does it seem like there is a reason for this (obviously someone boarded her in, but I didn’t get that impression from her), or is it just a little mistake because the devs needed to let us break it down?

  23. Hieronymus says:

    Was using the axe on her an option?

    “Can I axe you a question?” *THWACK*

  24. Dante says:

    Of course using a cat as a silencer works, didn’t you play Postal 2?

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