Okay, so we suspect something might be amiss at this farm. This suspicion is so strong that we’re willing to behave very suspiciously ourselves, to the point of committing acts that could provoke our hosts to violence. Then we sabotage the fence, which is keeping us safe from walkers. So we’re pissing off our hosts and lowering our defenses against zombies, right as night approaches. If the danger is so strong that we’re willing to risk all of this, then… why are we still here?
Because we’re hungry. Because Larry is a stupid dumb idiot and a horrible judge of character who wants to stay. Because Mark is here and we can’t ditch him.
This game does a really good job of riding that line between “this is a very risky thing to do” and “this is an obviously stupid course of action”. If you don’t go far enough as a writer, the story feels flat and boring. If you go too far then the audience rejects the whole thing as absurd. Right between those points is where you get dramatic tension.
I thought that cutting the power to the generator was a dumb thing to do, but it was plausibly dumb. I could believe that a group of people might behave this way if pushed into this situation. I did sort of resent having to do it myself, though.
In a TV show, you can have the main characters do things while the audience looks at them and says, “This won’t end well.” It’s much harder to do in a game, because the audience is being asked to perpetrate the act that they perceive to be foolish. I don’t claim that The Walking Dead never made any mistakes with this balancing act, but it’s still some really impressive work.
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