While re-watching the episode prior to writing this post, I found myself getting that gut-punch feeling again. Notwithstanding our talking over it and making jokes, this is a powerful sequence. It’s wonderfully written and acted.
For those asking what interactivity adds to a story: The scene where you shoot Duck is a pretty good example. You have to point a gun at a kid and make it happen. Compare this to games where your character kills someone in a cutscene and the player doesn’t have any input. It’s the difference between:
Lee shot Duck.
I shot Duck.
Despite my childish joking around in this scene during the episode, this was an emotionally grueling scene for me. (And I made Ken do it in my playthrough.) I did find myself wondering if the stereotypical gamer (the 24 year old single male) would have an easier time with this than me. I’m just a little older than Kenny, and my youngest is about the same age as Duck. I found Kenny’s freak-out in the train to be annoying but understandable. Something like this will overload anyone’s coping mechanisms.
Do It Again, Stupid
One of the highest-rated games of all time has some of the least interesting gameplay.
Trashing the Heap
What does it mean when a program crashes, and why does it happen?
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
PC Hardware is Toast
This is why shopping for graphics cards is so stupid and miserable.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.