The Walking Dead EP8: The Best Defense is a Good Fence

  By Shamus   Dec 7, 2012   184 comments


Link (YouTube)

This entire walk to the farm is wonderfully tense, and all we’re doing is walking in the woods. I never felt this much tension in Mass Effect, not even when the whole universe was blowing up in the background. I realize it might be tough to get the emotional impact of this when the four of us were talking over it, but the framing of this entire scene creates a sense of unease.

Imagine how much less successful the walk in the woods would be if the whole “getting to know you” dialog took place at the motel, with everyone standing in place and talking. Doing things this way gives us a sense of distance and time passing. We’re taken out of our safe(ish) home and put on the road, where we know there’s danger. It gives us a change of scenery so we don’t get too fatigued with a lot of repeating motel shots. The action (walking) gives the characters something to do so we don’t get that feeling that everyone is rooted in place.

This is how a TV show would handle this scene. This is how a movie would handle it. I’ve been down on the videogames-as-movies mindset for years, but I’ve got to say: It works a lot better if you at least make use of what we’ve learned in the last 75 years of cinematography.

So the electric fence seems like it’s a horrible idea. You’ll run out of gas sooner or later, and that fence must burn through a lot of juice. (Keeping in mind this fence is set to fry people, not just scare livestock away. Big difference.) Eventually you’ll have to replace it with a non-electrical solution. Whatever that solution is going to be, it would be better to roll it out now and save the gas for lighting and refrigeration. Because life is going to be a lot harder once those are gone. Speaking of which, do any of you guys know how to make candles? Anyone? That might become important very soon.

According to the game, the fence works and keeps out both the walkers and bandits. I’m skeptical of both possibilities, but there it is.


A Hundred!202020204I bet you won't even read all 184 comments before leaving your own.


  1. Joneleth says:

    I thought the whole “fence keeps bandits out as well” bit was a blatant lie. Didn’t the farm folks have a deal with the bandits, until the bandits realized… uh, what the deal was?

    Totally agree on what a bad idea the fence is, though. You even see outlets and plugs on some of the posts. That’s some quality work right there.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      They’re using the fence wrong. As a defense measure, the purpose of a fence is to slow the enemy down so you can shoot them. Putting it up and then not monitoring it is dumb.

      Unless the do monitor it – that’s one of the St. John’s arrows in Mark.

    • Steve C says:

      There’s no possible way the fence would work vs a human that knew it was dangerous. You wouldn’t even need a thick blanket. Tossing a big log or 3 onto it would pull enough of it down. Or if the attacker really wanted to be a jerk he’d throw a bit of wire onto it so it shorts out. Something HAS to give on a dead short.

      • BeardedDork says:

        There was no point after the initial contact with Andy and Danny where any thing added up with them. From the walk to the farm onward I knew exactly what was going to happen. And never had the opportunity to call the game on it. This was the only point where I felt the idiot ball had been thrust upon Lee, and therefor me as well.

      • Amnestic says:

        Hell, it’s ineffective against walkers. A single one managed to knock it over. If you had a group of more than…say…three? Yeah, they’re gonna be breaking through with ease. Sure, the first three will probably die (again), but what do they care? They’re zombies.

      • Wedge says:

        For that matter a smart human can get a pair of dikes with insulated handles. Hell, the bandits were mostly people who worked at the local Wal-Mart type store, so they’re pretty much guaranteed to have access to that.

    • AbruptDemise says:

      The biggest problem with the fence keeping the bandits out is the gates. Lee and Mark can make it through them with no problem, which means they won’t give the bandits too much trouble either. Sure, they’d have to go looking around the perimeter for one, but if the St. Johns aren’t defending the fence, then the bandits will eventually get in anyway.

      They really are the worst raiders ever.

      • anaphysik says:

        Well, they did all used to work at the local Wal-Mart knock-off. That probably savagely robbed them of some much needed neurons :(

      • Thomas says:

        I found that gate so annoying! What happens when a zombie works into the gate bit rather than the fence? And any bandit can just wander in and accidentally leave the gate open. And then Lee leaves the gate open! (understandably though =D) I figured if my guess didn’t turn out right they were going to be bitten by a surprise zombie that just wondered through the wide open gap of nothing.

        I thought the fence was a bad idea, and that’s before I found out that it only kills zombies after it’s burnt their brain straight out. All in all my alternative measure would be a.. fence. Just a pretty strong one. and if you’re fancy, some ropes and maybe some bells that will tell you if anyone has actually knocked the fence over.

  2. Eremias says:

    I guess “emotional manipulation” sums up this game and my grievances with it.
    It is simply not genuine, in any sense of the word.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I had the same reaction to Spec Ops: The Line. The stupid emotional manipulation annoyed me far more than it moved me. But I accepted the manipulation here. I think it’s in part because I’m feeling what I think the character is feeling to. Lee has to kill his own brother with an axe -and we have enough feel for Lee, that we feel bad for him -and then we have to swing the axe too.

      I never felt this kind of synergy and sympethy in Spec Ops. I spent the whole time wanting to club the characters with a stick.

      • Chauzuvoy says:

        I do think it’s more effective here because they force the player to actually perform whatever action. It’s easy to say “we need to cut this guy’s leg off” and then watch a cutscene where your character chops the guy’s leg off. It’s hard to say “we need to cut this guy’s leg off” when you know you’re going to have to play through the chopping yourself.

        • Aldowyn says:

          That’s part of why I think this game is better off as a game instead of a movie. That and the making decisions yourself. The DOING is fundamental to properly understanding and empathizing with the characters, I feel, and I admit TWD has a MUCH stronger case for needing to be a video game than Mass Effect did…

      • Jakey says:

        But you basically described the premises of both games though. One makes you feel what the character is feeling, the other one is directly and purposely putting you at odds with your character.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Yes, which is why I think Spec Ops: The Line failed. They set out to do what they were trying to do – and it turns out it was a dumb idea. There isn’t much to be gotten from blatant railroading and manipulation if the player spends the whole time wanting to kill the developer for being a railroading and manipulative jerk.

          This is roughly the equivalent of selling sawdust as flour and then responding to the angry consumers with “we were trying to demonstrate how consumers will buy anything if it’s marketed right!”

          They may have a point, but I don’t care. There is neither catharsis nor empathy with the characters, only the meta-boiling rage at the idiot who wrote this stuff.

          In Walking Dead by contrast, the characters are well enough written and the plot doesn’t seem completely contrived, and so the manipulation feels like the working out of a good story, one that we go through the gut-wrenching-scenes in order to appreciate the ending. In the process, we feel the same things the characters feel, and when the story ends -even though it ends sadly -we still feel like it was worth it.

          Rather than wanting to strangle the developers with their own entrails.

          • meyerkev says:

            With Spec Ops: The Line, the moments that really worked for me were the moments where the game went “PROBLEM, PROBLEM, PROBLEM, SOLVE IT WITH BULLETS NOW”, and never showed you the carefully constructed third options (Hallucinations, 2 people hanging, crowd that killed Lugo), and the bits where you very naturally did something terrible because it was what you were supposed to do, and it made sense in the context of what you knew. (Pretty much the whole bit with the 33rd up until the White Phosphorus. To a lesser extent, the whole water sequence)

            The bits that failed were the moments where you were railroaded to do something terrible and then yelled at for it. (White Phosphorus)

            • Klay F. says:

              I really don’t think the developers were “yelling” at YOU for that incident. Sure it may have made some people feel shitty for a few minutes, but (at least for me) the majority of my ire was aimed at the protagonist, not the writer. The game never blames you personally. It blames the protagonist. In Spec Ops, the player and protagonist are entirely separate individuals, at least by the end of the game. Thats another thing that the game does exceptionally well: driving a wedge between the player and the protagonist as the game goes on.

            • AyeGill says:

              Yeah, agreed. Of course, as Klay F says part of that is due to the player/character split being very central, but I did sometimes get the feeling that I was supposed to feel bad for something which I had no say in

              And as you say, it really works when you look back, or the game looks back for you, and you realize you did have a choice, the game wasn’t forcing you to do anything, you did it on your own. But when that’s not the case, when you really are forced to act a certain way, it’s very much weaker for it.

          • newdarkcloud says:

            Keep in mind that the developers goal when making Spec Ops wasn’t to make it fun, it was to make you hate all of the various tropes of modern warfare games.

            Part of that is never questioning the plot, no matter how stupid and dumb it is.

          • zob says:

            Basically, you didn’t like the Spec Ops so it’s emotional manipulation and railroading is bad. You liked TWD so it’s emotional manipulation and railroading is OK.

            • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              That is kind of the point. The point under discussion is why I liked the railroading of this game and not of the other. Meyerkiv makes a good point -the parts of Spec Ops that work are the parts which feel natural, after which you wonder “gee, could I have done that better.” Those parts are remarkably few and far between. These are more numerous in TWD, and even though you can’t do them better, it doesn’t feel like the developers are jerking your chain. You wonder at the start of Spec Ops whether you could have talked to the 33rd and avoided some of these problems -but then you realize that, no, because if you could do something that intelligent, we wouldn’t have a game. Here, you wonder “how might things have been different if we cut that guy’s leg off -would we have saved everyone?” The reveal that -no, it doesn’t matter -feels like the author is trying to make a point about futility, rather than forcing you down his exquisitely detailed hall of falling anvils.

              Which was the point of the Shamus’s earlier thread about trusting the author.

              • zob says:

                Here is the thing, the reasons that you are listing are not coming from the game.
                feels like the author is trying to make a point about futility

                No it doesn’t. It’s just you, rationalizing railroading and false choices of the game. Whatever you do you end up with Ben and a wounded person.

                because if you could do something that intelligent, we wouldn’t have a game.

                Like asking the farmers to bring food in exchange of the fuel instead of going to the farm yourself.

                My point is simple. Our likes does not change shitiness of a game. You may choose to ignore faulty parts or rationalize them but they still do exist.

            • Amnestic says:

              That’s not an unusual reaction to things. Like something and you’re more willing to put up with its faults or downplay them. Dislike it, and even the most minor of nitpicks can cause immense frustration.

  3. Annikai says:

    It’s funny, I just finished the last few episodes in a marathon and then I check my youtube to see if something else is on to watch, then bam new episode.

    • Wes1180 says:

      I watched the episode before and I decided to play through The Walking Dead, at least to the end of this episode and by the type I caught up and finished episode 2 there was another Spoiler Warning up :)

  4. el_b says:

    seamus, that fence is clearly too high for them to just put a thick blanket over and vault. What do you expect them to do, wait till its off then cut it?

    • Wedge says:

      They’re also apparently unable to use the non-electrified gate that Lee and Mark use to escape at the end of this scene.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I noticed that too. If your fence has gates like that that anyone can use to walk in, then it’s not going to be very effective.

        There’s also the fact that the fence turned on when you got the last zombie off, so I grew to be more than a little suspicious by the end of this segment.

        • el_b says:

          Danny set me off straight away, he’s easily the creepiest looking guy in the game, him stroking his rifle later on didn’t exactly make me feel better about him.

          I actually quite liked mark, partially because He’s my type. Needs to learn to shut his mouth though.

          • newdarkcloud says:

            Him stroking his rifle came right after the scene that made me switch from “Let’s try to align with these creepy guys” to “These guys are trouble, let’s ready ourselves to fight back.”

            • el_b says:

              Your creepy as hell Danny, bite me.

              OH SHI…

              • Thomas says:

                I liked how cautious you could be when they were questioning you. Was definitely how I felt was natural to react in a situation. And as a rule of thumb nothing that seems idyllic in an apocalypse can ever be real, so I actually found his brother to be triggering more alarms than Danny did (well until later on when it’s pretty much out and out shown)

                • anaphysik says:

                  I liked how cautious you can be there too. What I didn’t like is how Lee will wantonly throw caution to the wind if you so much as LOOK at that broken swing…

        • Aldowyn says:

          They never explained why the fence turned on, as far as I’m aware. Anybody know?

          • krellen says:

            It’s deliberate. Andy’ll make some excuse about “thinking he heard you give the all clear”.

            • Even says:

              I still don’t get what the plan was if it really was deliberate. If they wanted to shock Lee and Mark then they’d know that dead people turn into non-edible zombies and that fence has definitely enough voltage to kill a man if it can cook a zombie’s brain in a matter of seconds. Later on, it seemed more to me anyway, that they intended to convert Lee’s group over to cannibalism and coerce them to help them, at least with what they say about how the “surprise” was supposed to be revealed AFTER the dinner. Seeing as how they hate the bandits and rather not work with them, I think they may have just seen Lee’s group as a potential chance to turn the tables. Eating them all was probably what they figured as plan B should their “recruitment” fail.

          • ehlijen says:

            I’m thinking it might have been an attempt to take out the strongest members of the group to leave the rest more vulnerable? But why they’d do that before they’ve even got the whole group at the farm and fully lulled I don’t get.

        • evileeyore says:

          “If your fence has gates like that that anyone can use to walk in, then it’s not going to be very effective.”

          It was obviously a Plot Gate. ;)

  5. Amnestic says:

    “Have you got someone with survival experience to lead your group?” I chose Thane because he knows his way around vents, then Garrus to lead the team.

    “Smack Mark in the head.” Bet you’re missing those Renegade interrupts right about now, right?

    “You never get used to the smell, do you?” [Five seconds later] “Christ, I can’t stop thinking about dinner.” That’s a rather unfortunate juxtaposition of two sentences. Also foreshadowing.

  6. Zukhramm says:

    I can’t agree with Obsidian failing. You can’t fail something you’re not trying. New Vegas is basically post-post-apocalyptic.

  7. newdarkcloud says:

    I had the same problem with the whole gas-fueled electric fence thing. My thoughts were “You needed to petition us for has and we aren’t that well off. This means that you’re likely screwed.” But I felt like I would go along with it for now in order to make some friends and get some food. I had decided that while they seemed a little fishy when we met, it was worth it to at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

    I also didn’t repair the fence. Like Josh, I meant to, but the plot decided to move ahead before I could.

  8. krellen says:

    So Andy always felt like a generally good guy to me throughout the Episode, but Danny creeped me the heck out.

    Though I’ll be honest, I pegged Danny as a paedophile, not a cannibal.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Danny becomes even more suspicious in the scene that is coming up. Once that happened, that was when everything came together.

      I was already suspicious before, but that was the straw the broke the camel’s back.

    • el_b says:

      Me too, especially after you meet Jolene in The woods. Andy and Brenda seem like pretty nice people, I wonder if they made Danny so creepy on purpose just to hint that there’s something seriously wrong.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I do think that they made Danny the way he was b/c you were supposed to see the big twist coming.

        • Aldowyn says:

          You were definitely supposed to get that SOMETHING was wrong. I thought it was just him at first too…

          • StashAugustine says:

            I do wish you could have tumbled to it in-game earlier than Lee does. I knew something was up from the point Jolene gets shot and Danny starts acting all creepy (aside: anyone else get a Anna Navarre/Juan Lebedev vibe from that conversation with Jolene?), and you can find a bunch of abandoned clothes right next to a gorram slaughterhouse with the specially modified beartraps from earlier. I knew exactly what was happening from that point on, but Lee’s just too polite to notice. It’s one of my few major problems with the game.

            • Isy says:

              There are definitely a few points after that when Lee is obviously showing suspicion – in fact, one of the conversation options with Danny gives you a “he noticed your suspicion.” He also gets pretty insistent that he wants to see Mark, if you talk to them about it… just not insistent enough.

              • Thomas says:

                I just feel like they reached a go grab your gun point a little earlier in the game than Lee recognises. Specifically, there is no way I would have left my family with the farmers come mealtime

    • kanodin says:

      I thought the same thing mainly because of Jolene’s scene instead of in spite of it. I thought the mom’s constant talk about preparing dinner was odd but I was expecting the climax to be about stopping just her son instead of what happens.

    • ACman says:

      It did feel very tropish having southern farmers being so enthusiastic about sharing food. but maybe that just because I’ve watched The Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn, House of A thousand Corpses, and having played Fallout 3’s point lookout DLC. (I kinda feel bad for American Rednecks that they get portrayed so often in fiction as cannibals and sodomites.

      And there was the missing farm hands that they claimed had moved on despite this apparently being the most idyllic and “safe” place ever encountered, the fact that the farm has only one cow (Where are they getting all the food from? You can’t live off dairy alone.), the fact that they wouldn’t let me in the house that they were so emphatic that we would be safe on the farm.

      I was never sure but these suspicions where probably sparked by the fact that this is fiction and thus needs conflict that the bandits didn’t seem characterized enough to provide and that this sort of thing is a reasonably common trope.

      Anyone else?

      • StashAugustine says:

        They have southern accents. They are therefore evil.

        • lurkey says:

          Speaking of accents – do people really talk like Ma Hillbilly or is it shoddy voice acting? Because she sounds like she’s doing a very unsubtle, exaggerated parody. :-/

          • Klay F. says:

            This is Georgia we are talking about, even other Southerners make fun of how Georgians talk. Just look up Pres. Jimmy Carter on youtube and you can compare. If it IS exaggerated, its only slightly.

            • Wedge says:

              And RURAL Georgia at that. People in rural areas tend to have much stronger accents than people in cities.

            • I live in northern GA, and most people don’t talk like that in my neck of the woods. You are far more likely to hear the accent in rural areas (generally middle and south GA) or from older people. Heck, I’ve lived here my entire life and have almost no Southern accent (it helps that I talk fast because my mouth is trying to keep up with my brain).

              Honestly, the last time I heard a strong Southern accent was during a road trip to FL. As my grandmother would say…”It’s all the fault of those Yankees, moving down here.” :)

              • Just adding that GA is a fairly large state (biggest east of the Mississippi and 24th overall), and has had a lot of immigration lately. So there’s room for a ton of accent-variation. Oh, and Jimmy Carter’s from a small town in middle GA, so it makes sense that he has a stronger accent.

                Given that over half the state’s population lives in and around Atlanta (5+ million of 9.6 million in an area equivalent to Massachusetts), the strong Southern accent is not one you’re likely to hear from the majority of the population. Mild to moderate accents, sure, but not the strong ones.

                (I am extremely fond of my state, and given the negative associations of the strong Southern accent, I felt the need to defend. I promise I’ll stop now.)

                • Klay F. says:

                  Hey I’m just sayin’. This episode DOES take place smack-dab in the middle of nowhere after all. I’ve spent enough time in Georgia (along with the rest of the south) to be familiar with the accent, so my knowledge doesn’t come entirely from the former Pres. If it makes you feel any better I’m from Texas and there is a fare bit of making fun of how EVERYONE talks where I’m from. Although (I’ve been told) I don’t have an accent myself.

                  And to be fair, every southern state I’ve spent time in (all of them) has its fair share of people making fun of the accents of people from other states. The Georgia accent however, is the only one that they ALL make fun of.

                  EDIT: Also disclaimer: I’ve only ever spent the minimum amount of time in Atlanta. The vast majority of my time in Georgia has been spent in the southern areas, in and around Valdosta.

              • krellen says:

                In the game’s defence, Macon IS pretty much right smack in the middle of Georgia, so it’s definitely “middle” Georgia, and the St. Paul Dairy surely qualifies as “rural”.

              • Peter H. Coffin says:

                Accents also change over (rather short) periods of time. Here’s an example using Texas, with a period of 40 years. http://www.npr.org/2012/12/05/166571118/it-aint-got-that-twang-deep-in-the-heart-of-texas?utm_source=NPR&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=20121205 There’s a couple of other stories since that one, including California, from the same source.

          • anaphysik says:

            Funny: I don’t think their accents are strong enough. My mum has relatives in rural Alabama and they’re way harder to understand than *anyone* in The Walking Dead. (Though, to be fair, I excuse that as ‘people playing this game NEED to be able to understand what is being said.’ Especially since many players won’t have ‘Cheat: English as native language’ enabled.)

      • krellen says:

        Actually, you CAN live off just dairy. Heck, you can live off just vegetables, as long as they’re the right mix of such (beans, corn and squash is a good trio to live off of.)

        • anaphysik says:

          However, you cannot live off just rabbit (except maybe Welsh rabbit).

        • ACman says:

          Okay, but dairy off just one cow?

          I’m just saying I did pick this as a “Cannibal Clan” (Check out TVTropes on this.) really quickly. Everything suggested it to the point that I thought that they were doing some sort of bait and switch initially.

          I almost expected that by the end of the episode that Lee would blurt out “Oh man, I thought you guys were cannibals!” and everybody would laugh at Lee and me for being so crazy.

          Also the bandit thing never really gets resolved. There’s only the crazy woman and then the bandits never get talked about again. Would have been nice to say, find out that the bandits had had more people captured by the farmers and that they were trying to wipe them out. Or something.

        • William Newman says:

          Actually, you need vitamin B12, and it is not going to be synthesized in a plant. Beans, corn, and squash are fine plant foods, and they cover most of the usual human nutritional issues rather well. At the end of the day, though, they are still plants.

          B12 *can* be synthesized by various microorganisms, and Googling I find various people claiming that microorganisms in and around your digestive system will do this for you and thus you don’t need B12 in your diet after all. However, the internal evidence in those claims suggests to me that they are based on wishful thinking and political agenda rather than on careful observation and measurement. So in a long-term starvation survival situation, I recommend your intellect get with the program of cheerfully eating any weevils and rats and grasshoppers you find instead of second-guessing your instincts by arguing they can’t be a significant source of calories.

          • krellen says:

            Or, you know, you could get it from the milk your dairy produces, staying on topic.

          • anaphysik says:

            Oddly, the instincts of most Westerners isn’t going to be ‘those can’t be a significant source of calories’ but ‘yuck! bugs (well actually coleopterans and orthopterans, not hemipterans) aren’t food!’ <_<

          • Thomas says:

            You’ve probably just saved me from severe health complications. Just goes to show there’s never a bad point to correct incomplete knowledge. I’m indebted and a little scared that I almost didn’t click on this page today

      • ccesarano says:

        I think the greater problem is Ol’ Bessie is bound to die at some point. No matter what their little paradise is counting down to zero, be it a cow or relying on gas, gas that is not being mass produced any longer and will gradually run out.

        What makes them seem so awesome is that it is as close to the comforts of home pre-apocalypse as you can get, and that’s an awfully tempting juxtaposition. I do believe they made you choose who to feed in order to accept the notion that, yes, these people are suspicious, but is it truly worth turning your back? Maybe some sort deal can be made, etc.

        Now, the real question is…

        So they have a cow for milk, and because they live on a farm it’s not too unusual they can grow vegetables and even grains, though I’m pretty sure most farms don’t have the tools necessary to refine it all down into flour and such. But suspending our disbelief, when everyone sits down for dinner later, why doesn’t anyone ask “where’d you get all this meat from?” There are no cows, chickens, pigs or anything of the sort on the farm, and as it has been three months since the apocalypse began it would be pretty hard to find pre-packaged meat that isn’t spoiled. I understand the characters are hungry, but at the very least Kenny, who was already suspicious, should have sat down and said “Wait, where’d you get this from?”

        • Shamus says:

          Yes, as sketchy as these people are, I can totally understand why a group of otherwise sane people with empty bellies would act the way this group has. They might be a little foolish or unduly optimistic, but hunger is a bastard of a taskmaster. There was tension as we sense the danger (knowing, of course, that an episode about meeting nice people who help you and nothing goes wrong isn’t gonna happen) but there was never enough sense of danger that a hungry person would drag children off into the wilderness in search of something better.

        • lurkey says:

          Well, they’ve got guns and crossbows and there’s forest around, so “we hunted some” is pretty plausible answer. Even the bandits can be explained, since Danny knows where they are nested and so doesn’t go hunting that direction.

        • ehlijen says:

          I don’t think you need that much in the way of tools to make flour from grain. Fancy machines just make it quicker, but a simple mortar and pettle will do it, or a clean, smooth rock and a bowl.

          But as shamus said in an earlier post, you’d need about 9 people to make enough food for themselves and one fence maintance engineer/fuel scavenger.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            plus almost all grains (even field corn) are amenable to “put in a pot with some water and boil for a while” to make porridge. It doesn’t have to be very clean water since there’s a non-trivial amount of boiling happening. The challenge, though, is that grain harvesting is seasonal, and grain storage for eating over the course of the year is no longer stored on the farm itself.

  9. Isy says:

    Well that was the perfect place to end the episode. Shamus’ laughter mimicking the end of the “Next Time: On the Walking Dead” preview only made it better.

  10. Z says:

    Hey Josh! I love this SW season, the game is great, and you guys playing it is great, but I have to ask: did you ever finish conquering Japan or what?

    I really wanted to see the culmination of your brilliant Shogun 2 campaign!

    • el_b says:

      I’m loving this play through as well, it’s so much more positive than the last one, I can’t imagine why.

      The only problem I have with this game is that you can’t give lee a Reginald cuftbert muttonstasche

    • Wedge says:

      I do kindof hate to be that guy and bug Josh about when/if he’s planning on finishing the Shogun 2 LP, but…Josh, when are you planning on finishing the Shogun 2 LP?

  11. Eremias says:

    For all my bitching about the game though, it has to be said that it sets up its themes nicely.
    Spoilers for the end of the game:
    It introduces cannibals in opposition to the group and ends the chapter with the group effectively killing the Stranger’s family. The only difference I can see between the two is where the human blood ends up at: on your teeth, or on your hands. Also, Jolene sets up/ reinforces “Parents go crazy, when stuff happens to their kids”, so it’s not unprecedented when the Stranger comes knocking.

  12. BeardedDork says:

    There was no point after the initial contact with Andy and Danny where any thing added up with them. From the walk to the farm onward I knew exactly what was going to happen and I never had the opportunity to call the game on it. This was the only point where I felt the idiot ball had been thrust upon Lee, and therefor me as well and there was nothing to be done with it.

  13. Jokerman says:

    They got candles in the closet of there house.

  14. anaphysik says:

    RE: the arrow-to-the-neck at the end? As DeliciousCinnamon would say, “DESERVED.”

    Also, Josh’s crouch-walking skillz and subsequent death are RIPE credits material; please put that in, Josh ^_^

  15. Hitchmeister says:

    This was an Iron Man play through, right? What’s the next game?

  16. Paul Spooner says:

    If they have all that food, why don’t they just board up the windows, dig a tunnel between the house and the barn, and wait it out? It’s not like the zombies have proven apt at using tools to hack through the walls. Plus that grain silo is really sturdy if it’s anything like silos I’ve seen. Ten gauge rolled steel… no zombie is going to claw through that, or climb it either.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ive watched too many movies that had a similar theme to this,so the instant I saw the house I thought cannibals.However,this is why I love this game and its story.It doesnt hinge on the Twist to carry it forward,and even though I guessed it from the very beginning,I still enjoyed it very much.Not because it surprised me,but because it was well delivered.

    By the way,is there going to be a Mumbles cameo in the next episode?Come on guys,you have to do it.

    • Aldowyn says:

      Yeah. The twists get easier and easier to see coming as the game goes on, except for a couple. (episode 5 MAJOR spoilers) Lee getting bitten was pretty much inevitable, especially thematically, if you think about it, but there’s no way to predict WHEN. And the stranger is set up nicely – the clues are there but most people aren’t going to automatically assume ‘hey the guy on the walkie talkie probably owned that car we stole from!”

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Though this is a crappy fence,and it fails in keeping the zombies and bandits out,and replacing that generator with a windmill and some solar cells would be a more permanent solution,it does work exceptionally well in its real purpose of luring the victims here to get eaten.Think about it,would you go with someone to their farm if they offered you food,and asked for nothing in return?This way,you dont expect them to scheme against you because hey,they need your help as much as you need theirs.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you dont fix the swing though,does someone else do it?It was a very nice moment with you pushing clementine on the swing.Really touching.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Rutskarn got outpunned?Does this mean Shame is the new quadruple entendre punning champion?

  21. Hydralysk says:

    One of the nice little touches I saw upon playing it a second time was that the walker Lee speculates the St John’s were using as target practice is pinned by an arrow with white fletchings. Cue the fence turning on and Mark gets hit by a white fletched arrow, just as red fletched ones start pouring in from the bandits.

  22. Danath says:

    Regarding the fence and the bandits I think they don’t just invade because they’re at least somewhat aware that the St. Johns are actually lunatics who eat people, and thus invading their territory with an open house in a surprisingly well lit area is just asking to be shot and eaten by the crazies. The bandits aren’t SUPER numerous, at least this was the assumption I made.

    It does add quite a bit to the feeling of safety as well, also remember something doesn’t jive with their so called protection, what with that blocked off hallway inside the house.

    • anaphysik says:

      Yeah, but there’s only THREE of them. And one of them is old. I’d have to guess that the bandits are relying on the farmers taking care of the crops in a way that the (completely untrained) bandits would have no hope of attempting.

      • StashAugustine says:

        I was under the impression the bandits were letting them live in return for food until they found out what the food was- note the large amounts of empty food boxes.

        • Even says:

          The “We had a deal!” screams would suggest at least that they had something going on. I just figured they were angry because they hadn’t gotten any food from them for a while.

          • anaphysik says:

            Also talking with Jolene I got the feeling that she tried to split with the bandits precisely because she didn’t want to be dealing with the St. Johns like the rest of them were. And that it was only *after* that that the other bandits took her daughter away.

    • el_b says:

      I’d imagine that the blocked off hallway led to more nasty surprises for visitors rather than being a zombie incursion. After all, if the place is surrounded by electric fences and they are armed, Why would they need to block part of the house off?

  23. Mailbox says:

    Hey Walking Dead just won Spike TV VGA Game of the Year award.

    Half-Life 2 won game of the Decade award.

    Your thoughts? Anyone.

  24. JonNeito says:

    I didn’t fixed the swing on purpose. Is in front of a freaking electrified fence…

    “Yep you just fried Clementine… game over buddy.”

  25. Aldowyn says:

    I’m agreeing with Rutskarn’s reasoning for calling it a ‘twist’. “Reversal of expectations’ is a good definition, I think.

    I’d argue that, while that walk is pretty tense, not ALL games are going for that. It’s more a horror thing, or at least scary parts of an action game. The dead reaper was pretty tense in ME2 I think.

  26. ehlijen says:

    I was actually so wrapped up in genre savvy expectation of the betrayal by the farm people that all that pretend build up of idyllic peace didn’t work for me. The second the game woulnd’t let me into the barn at the start, I knew what I’d eventually find in there.

    When it came time to look around as per Kenny’s suggestion, I so wanted there to be a resolution that would have vindicated Lily; that these people were not cannibal hillbillies for a change; that my expectation just from having seen this plot before would be overturned. No such luck :(

    It was well executed formlula though, my dislike for the game mechanics notwithstanding.

    • Danath says:

      I think this also depend show immersed in your character you are for things like this.

      While playing the game if you sit outside it and look at it you go “I know this will happen because of this trope and my prior experiences.” But if you’re really immersed you just go “This is what I would expect or believe as Lee if I were in such a situation,” and you gloss over alot of the things that would draw you out of it, such as “it’s only episode 2!” or other such things.

      • ehlijen says:

        Absolutely. I wanted to be immersed. I tried to play it as though I didn’t know what was coming. All while trying to find other suspicions I could have to distract myself from my trope knowledge. What if the barn’s where they’re keeping the dad/husband’s walker out of senitmentality. What if they’re just ashamed of dealing with the bandits? What if it’s all red herrings and these are actually nice, if a bit wierd, people? It just wasn’t working for me. Especially when:

        I couldn’t figure out how not to make the story progress without turning off the anti-zombie fence. Why would I risk that with clementine on the farm? Whatever secret Kenny thinks they have, can’t be not worse with a walker invasion joining in on the fun. Did I miss it, or was there no option to do as Lily asks and leave well enough alone?

        • Wolle says:

          That puzzle didn’t feel right to me, either. I had to force my brain into meta-gaming mode to go through with it.

          • Thomas says:

            In full agreement and if you’re sure enough to be doing something that destructive and dangerous, than grabbing a gun and demanding to be allowed explanations seems to be a better alternative

            • Abnaxis says:

              This.

              I wanted to do this so hard in my play-through.

              There are 3 problems with the ‘solution’ to checking out the room:

              1) You are sabotaging your defenses–an act you KNOW to be dangerous–in order to confirm a few suspicions
              2) It is absurdly obvious you sabotaged the generator. At that point, why bother with the distraction?
              3) You are discovered anyway, and don’t get the option to insist on inspecting the room closely. Again, cat’s out of the bag, you shouldn’t be turning your back on it.

              The ‘secret room’ was a huge, huge fail for me. My whole brain just screamed out against the whole sequence.

  27. rayen says:

    not watching so can’t comment on much but, yes i do know to make candles.and can make them without electricity.
    (however i’m don’t know how to make wax…)

  28. rayen says:

    not watching so can’t comment on the episode much but, yes i do know to make candles.and can make them without electricity.
    (however i’m don’t know how to make wax…)

  29. Phantos says:

    Alright, now that I’ve finally beaten that sorry excuse for a last episode, I can watch Spoiler Warning again without worry of…

    Er… Spoilers.

    But yeah, I’ve missed these videos. They will be a suitable time-drain, right next to Game Grumps.

  30. Prof_Goldfish says:

    Ok I’m late to this whole conversation but I am just amazed how much this game makes you care about the deaths of individuals and how they might die (spoiler warning). Unlike any other zombie game where the deaths are a dime a dozen.

  31. Exasperation says:

    I think the important lesson here is this: Zombie Apocalypse + Fence Repair + Tractor = Bad News. When will people learn?

  32. Steve C says:

    This may have been mentioned before but who gets what food makes a difference if they accept it or not. Kenny’s wife refuses everything but everyone else will accept the apple. Lilly, Doug and Carley all refuse the cheese and crackers but you can feed them.

    However there was no way I was going to give Lilly/Larry the apple because it’s half an apple. Where’s the other half? Apples cut in half don’t last to the next day with no refrigeration. Obviously Lilly/Larry kept the other half for themselves and at least one of them ate today.

  33. Anonim says:

    “(…) and that fence must burn through a lot of juice. (Keeping in mind this fence is set to fry people, not just scare livestock away. Big difference.)”

    Actually this is not how electric fences work (or electricity in general). In an electrical circuit, you only consume power (and energy) if you have an electrical current flowing through the circuit. And you can only have an electrical circuit if that circuit is closed (*). At the terminals of a power socket in your home you always have 230 V (120 V in North America), however, the energy consumption is zero if nothing is plugged in. When you plug an appliance into the socket, you are effectively completing a circuit between the terminals. This allows an electrical current to flow between the terminals, and it is only then that energy is consumed.

    An electric fence functions in the same way as the power socket. There is a high voltage between an exposed wire and the ground. Since the wire never touches the ground, there is never a path to form a current, and therefore, there is no energy consumption. When anyone touches both the wire and the ground at the same time, what they are actually doing is using their body to close the circuit, creating a path for the current. Only in that situation will there be any energy consumption. As soon as the path between the wire and the ground is interrupted, the energy consumption is reduced to zero again.

    Having the capacity to fry people increases the fence’s energy requirements (**), but only when it there is actually a current flowing. Most of the time the fence should be an open circuit, and its energy use should be zero, regardless of the higher voltage. It is like an American and an European power socket: one has 230 V, the other has 120 V, however, when unplugged they use the exact same amount of energy: zero.

    * Actually, you can also have a current flowing through an open circuit. This is done by radiating that energy as electromagnetic waves, and is what allows wireless communications. For the purposes of electrical fences, this radiated energy is a loss, however, it is not very significant in a properly maintained fence.

    ** The voltage required to kill a person is not that high anyway. Electric chairs use about 2 000 V (FYI, power transmission lines operate at voltages that go up to 400 000 V). And 600 V are sufficient to create burns that disrupt the insulating properties of the skin (the only organ that actually protects you from all that deadly current). Skin resistance to electricity ranges from 100 000 ohms (when it is thick and very dry) to 1 000 ohms (when wet). If the skin is burned it can have a resistance as low as 500 ohms. The internal organs have pitiful resistances of 100-200 ohms.

    P.S. There is a lot more to say on the subjects of electric fences and electric lethality, however, this post is already much longer than it should be.

    • anaphysik says:

      Please don’t stop there, this is really interesting ^_^

    • Wedge says:

      But gas generators work by turning an alternator via an internal combustion engine. Where does that energy go, if there’s no completed circuit? In order for the fence to be “on”, the generator has to be running, and so always burning fuel.

    • Exasperation says:

      On the other hand, it is how generators work – unless they have a robust electricity storage system (unlikely in this situation), they need to have the generator running (and burning gas) at any time the fence is on. Whether the fence is burning energy or not at any given moment doesn’t affect the amount of energy that the generator needs to be burning to give the fence the ability to put that energy to use at a moment’s notice. Lack of storage capacity is actually one of the issues facing our current electrical grid when we consider adding more solar + wind (that is, intermittent sources) to it.

      • Anonim says:

        The generator itself is a storage of energy.

        All generators have a moving piece called rotor, and a non-moving called stator (*). A generator is actually a converter of mechanical energy (movement of the rotor) into electrical energy (voltage in the stator). The movement of the rotor is created by some kind of reaction (burning fuel in a diesel generator).

        In our case, since no electrical energy is coming out of the generator (actually there is a little trickle, due to losses in the electrical circuit), all the energy consumed by the generator should increase the speed of the rotor. The thing is, the rotor is designed to work at a single speed (usually 60 Hz in America, 50 Hz in Europe (**)). Since the speed of the rotor remains constant and there is no electrical energy leaving the generator, where does the energy go? It can only go to noise and increased temperature. However, real world generators do not become increasingly noisier and hotter if they are powering less than their maximum output (which is the most frequent situation). The answer is simple: the generator itself adjusts its output (and its fuel usage) to the amount of energy required.

        A generator is a machine designed to keep the speed of the rotor constant (***). If the electrical grid demands more energy, the rotor will provide it instantly. As the rotor looses energy it starts slowing down. Since the generator has to keep the rotor’s speed constant, it will increase the reaction powering the rotor, i.e. burning more fuel in a diesel generator. If on the other hand, the electrical power demanded diminishes, the rotor will speed up a little bit (because it is receiving more energy than it is loosing to the electrical circuit). As the generator wants to keep the rotor’s speed constant, it will reduce the reaction powering the rotor, i.e. it will burn less fuel.

        At the minimum, if there is zero electrical energy leaving the generator, the only fuel consumed by the generator is the bare minimum required to maintain the reaction powering the movement of the rotor, i.e. a pilot light in a diesel generator, and enough energy to compensate the rotor’s friction (if left completely alone, the friction will eventually slow down the rotor, so it needs to be compensated). There is also a small loss in the electrical circuits of the generator. In a properly designed generator, all these losses are minimal.

        * the names can change a bit according to the kind of generator.

        ** this number depends on many things, none of them relevant for the discussion.

        *** this is a gross oversimplification, but it will do for the argument I’m presenting.

    • ehlijen says:

      Isn’t there a problem though, when a walker hits the fence, closes the circuit and then doesn’t fall off the fence (as seems to be a regular occurance here)? The circuit would be permanently closed and thus create a permanent power drain, wouldn’t it?

      Electric cattle fences work because the cattle is compelled to move away from the fence once it feels pain. A fence strong enough to kill would have no such guarantee that the circuit would be cleared again when the job is done. Walkers would have no pain reflex, and thus wouldn’t be compelled to shy away from the fence (otherwise there wouldn’t be a need to make it strong enough to fry their brains in the first place) and on top of that, if electricity affects their nerves at all still, you might still run into the problem where hands closed around such a wire wouldn’t be able to let go anymore due to the current overriding the nerve impulses.

      How long would the fuel tank last if three walkers were stuck on the fence for the whole night while everyone sleeps? And if you add circuit breakers to prevent fuel being wasted thusly, you run the risk of other walkers getting through in the same section.

      • Anonim says:

        Let’s do some math, shall we?

        A current of 1 A is enough to burn a person. Since the fence is designed to burn zombies, that lack a skin and are full of highly conductive electrolytes, lets us assume its resistance is 1 000 ohms (it should be 10 times lower than this, as this is resistance of a wet, but intact, skin). To generate 1 A in a 1000 ohms resistance one needs 1 A * 1000 ohms = 1000 V. Every time a zombie is electrocuted the power required is 1 A * 1000 V = 1000 W (1 kW). A litre of gasoline has something like 36 MJ of energy. A 1 kW device, spends 1 kJ each second. In an hour it will spend 1 * 60 * 60 = 3600 kJ (or 3.6 MJ). So each litre of gasoline will last for 36/3.6 = 10 hours. A single litre of gasoline will last for 10 hours of continuous shock. An electric fence is not built to be continually shocking creatures. That is a waste of energy, but with each litre lasting more than 10 hours, you have plenty of time to remove any (now dead-dead) corpses, which will lower your energy consumption back to zero.

        A fun exercise: how far (and for how long) can you run with a single litre of gasoline in a car tank? If the car is very efficient and spends something like 4 litres per 100 km (~60 miles per gallon), 1 litre will let the car travel 25 km (~15 miles). Not a whole lot of energy. At an average speed of 50 km/h (~30 mph), the car will burn that gas in 30 minutes. Compare to our fence, where that litre lasts 10 hours of continuous shocking (and it should not even be shocking that long).

        There is another slight nuance to the problem: electric fences are not always on. In the past (early XX century) they were, but people quickly discovered that it is much more efficient (and leads to a lot less problems) if the fences are pulsed. This means that the fence is turned on and off at regular intervals (something like: in each second it is turned on for 10 milliseconds and turned off the rest of the time). This does not really affect the energy calculations above, but increases the time it will take for the gas to run out, as the circuit is not always on. So each litre should last significantly more than the 10 hours. (If the fence is on only 10 milliseconds of each second, it should last 100 times more, or 10*100 = 1000 hours).

        “How long would the fuel tank last if three walkers were stuck on the fence for the whole night while everyone sleeps? And if you add circuit breakers to prevent fuel being wasted thusly, you run the risk of other walkers getting through in the same section.”

        Multiple walkers in the same space of the fence can lead to some problems, as the fence might be unable to put enough current to fry them. Remember that current divides itself amongst the available closed paths, so, if 3 walkers hit the fence, the current passing through each one will be 1/3 of the normal current if it were a single walker. This is mitigated by the fence’s controller (an electronic circuit) that can increase the current as needed, but at the cost of more energy. Nonetheless, there are limits to what the controller can do, and it is always possible to overwhelm the fence (there are no perfect solutions). That is why you do not have only one fence, you always have several lines of fences. The ones that pass the first one will be caught by the other fences.

        Alongside these several lines of fences (which cost almost zero energy to power, as the idea is for walkers to get stuck on the outer fence, not the inner ones), you also need to monitor the fences. If you respond quickly to zombies getting stuck in the fence you can diminish greatly the energy usage. Another great thing about electric fences is that they double up as alarms. You can very easily know when (and roughly where) a walker is stuck to the fence and draining power. Since normally the fence does not draw power from the generator, every time it starts to draw power, you know that something got stuck in the fence. It is very easy to rig an alarm to this, and warn people every time someone got stuck in the fence.

        tl,dr – A properly maintained electric fence would probably be a great way to stop zombies.

        • ehlijen says:

          Fair enough. I retract all my concerns about the zombieproofness of electric fences.

        • Abnaxis says:

          A couple of problems with your math:

          First, in using your 36MJ figure, you are failing to account for the thermal losses of the generators. While I would agree that you are going to have very little power loss due to electrical resistance (you would probably lose the most power at the transformer, where wikipedia tells me 95% efficiency is typical), the thermodynamic efficiency of the engine is also critical. According to wiki, you can expect the engine to be 25%, maaaaybe 35% efficient at best, dropping those 10 hours down to 2.5-3.5 hours of continuous operation per liter (most likely more towards the bottom end of the scale).

          More critically, you are making an incorrect assumption–you assume there is 1,000V on the line, when the game explicitly says the line voltage is 4,000V. Since power consumption goes up with the square of voltage, that means energy consumption is sixteen times what you calculated above.

          When you take these two factors into account, that ten hour per liter figure drops to a dismal 10-15 minutes per liter. My car has ~40 L in the tank–if I was using it to power those fences, a full tank would run completely dry in about 8 hours.

          As an aside, note that since the voltage output of generators is generally fixed, in practice the current would multiplied by the number of walkers on the line, not split between them. Multiple walkers on the same line would, in fact, increase the load on the engine and hence the fuel consumption. This would happen up to a certain point, at which either (likely) a safety breaker on the generator trips, rendering it unusable until the line is cleared or (less likely) the engine stalls, causing irreparable damage to the engine in the process.

          tl;dr–Zombie-stopping electrical fence is actually pretty terrible unless you either clear it quickly or design it different than presented in the game

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Also, in my experience (and this makes me sound like a complete redneck in comparison to the wall of interesting electrical engineering stuff) don’t brush your arm across an electric fence while sweating. It’s not pleasant on even a low voltage.

  34. RCN says:

    The electric fence could even be conceivable if they were self-suficient in terms of energy. A gas-powered generator… not so much. Even less because, unlike movies would lead you to believe, gasoline is not nonperishable. In a couple of years it breaks down into less reactive compounds, so this really isn’t a long-term survival plan (of course, first considering zombies magically survive indefinitely).

    One thing I’ve been wondering about is how the game is like if you decide to be silent in every single exchange. Probably, everyone will think you’re creepy.

  35. Soylent Dave says:

    Something I’ve been meaning to point out for a while –

    Shamus & co. keep making a point about the fact that zombies are called ‘walkers’ in the game seemingly due to some slavish adherence to the source material, within which the word ‘zombie’ is verboten.

    That’s not the case – at least with the comics. The characters refer to them as zombies repeatedly; they subcategorise the zombies into walkers, roamers and so on (based on their behaviour), and different characters have different names for them (e.g. ‘biters’), but they freely use ‘zombie’ as well.

    There’s a line from Rick part-way through Chapter 3 in which he says “talking about zombies took a bit of getting used to, but you get over it”

    The TV series might be different (it is in a lot of ways), but in the general TWD world the idea of zombies clearly already exists (that’s probably also why characters know straight away to try for the head when they first encounter zombies – and maybe why they expect it to be an infectious disease).

    And the game is definitely a lot more closely related to the comic than to the TV series.

  36. maninahat says:

    I disliked how this episode turned out. The constantly smiling, utterly safe, postcard perfect farming family were so OTT that they were clearly meant to be hard to trust. The Cannibalism was way too obvious, and I was suspecting it a mile off.

    What I thought the game was doing was building up this tension, so that it would eventually put you in a situation where you could openly confront the St. Johns, based off of the hunches and creepy vibes you were getting. Maybe it would escalate to the point where you could kill them, only to then realise that – HOLY SHIT! – they were totally decent all along, and you murdered innocent people through your own paranoia. When it turned out that the most obvious assumption one could make of the St. Johns turned out to be the correct one, I rolled my eyes. In a game that already did a good job of undercutting my expectations in the previous twist (with people coming back from the dead, regardless of being bitten), I thought the writers were going to do better than that.

  37. NotACat says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying this season, so I hope I don’t sound too needy asking for a whole bunch of stuff…

    This post isn’t tagged properly, so doesn’t appear in either of the “Spoiler Warning” or “Walking Dead” categories.

    Any chance of updating the master page at some point also? Speaking of which, what did happen to dear Mumbles?

    Oh, and is there any chance of setting up a YouTube playlist like you have for earlier seasons?

    Do I sound enough like Duck yet?

    HTH HAND ;-)

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