The Walking Dead EP20: There is no Plan B

  By Shamus   Jan 20, 2013   118 comments


Link (YouTube)

Towards the end of the episode we wonder about the fidelity of this downtown Savannah set. I did a search for the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and here’s what I turned up:

Here is the building that’s across the river and slightly to the right of Lee as seen in the game:

twd_bridge2.jpg

That’s the Westin. Here’s the real thing from Google Earth.

twd_bridge3.jpg

That means Lee is standing on East River St. in the “Historic Downtown” section. (Again, I’m basing this entirely on Google Earth.) When Lee pans to the left he sees the bridge, and there’s a building on the other side. (The East side of the river, as it turns out.)

twd_bridge4.jpg

I can’t identify the building, but it exists in the real world. (Far right.)

twd_bridge5.jpg

As they enter the waterfront, they pass a building on their right right which appears to be named “Tail Ho___”. (House?) It’s got a green awning with stripes on the sides. You can see the stripes just a few seconds later in the wide shot.

twd_bridge6.jpg

I suspect this is based on the Boar’s Head:

twd_bridge7.jpg

Which means the spot they used for reference was the intersection of East River St. and Lincoln St. Which means the gameplay takes place along this stretch:

Click for full panorama view.
Click for full panorama view.

This is the smart way to build things. They loosely based it on the real world, but they didn’t sweat the fine details or attempt to recreate the original. They went for capturing the broad look & feel, probably using reference photographs and a map. The Telltale version is obviously smaller (which is good, since hiking around the real thing would get old) but has the right paving materials, architecture, and little posts along the water.

As someone who has built real-world locations in the past, I can tell you that it is very tempting to attempt to make a copy of the original. This is frustrating, time consuming, and only a fraction of the people will notice or care. Aiming for broad strokes is the way to go. (Of course, that takes an artist, and I was never much of an artist.)

One final note is that if this zombie wall is the actual border of Crawford, then Crawford is BIG. Crawford Square is about a half mile from here in a direct line. That’s a lot of territory and a very large perimeter. It’s probable that while their territory begins here, the space they patrol and maintain is much smaller, perhaps just the blocks that make up Crawford Square itself.


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  1. X2-Eliah says:

    Interesting. I also think that the “don’t fully replicate, but create the look and feel with general familiarity and key elements” is the right way to go. Like or hate GTA4, but I think it did pull off the NYC vibe properly by following that exact method in their recreation – not a 1:1 copy, and not a completely different thing, but the replication of the look and feel of the place.

    Edit:
    Also, okay, I have to call out BS at that “mysterious person descends a wall”. That looks exactly like videogame physics, I don’t believe that a person would actually climb like that in such situations on a flat cement wall.

    (Also, at least as of this posting the article lacks the “click to read further” divider.)

    • Paul Spooner says:

      The word you’re looking for is “Stylized”, specifically applied to architecture and structure layout (and physics too while we’re at it).
      The uniform level of stylization is critical to conveying an immersive experience. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s super accurate, or totally inaccurate, as long as it’s a smooth level of stylization. One “real world” building with totally accurate appearance, signs, location, etc in the middle of the recognizably stylized waterfront would throw the whole thing off.
      The same thing goes for the physics. If even one of the plans relies on very accurate, realistic, and/or esoteric physics interactions, the whole setting will be held to that high standard, and things begin to look ridiculous. Star Trek ran into this problem once or twice, where it specified exactly how something worked instead of hanging back in stylized fiction-physics land.
      So, as it is, TWD lands squarely in “recognizably stylized” territory. The paintings, the buildings, (the story, the physics) they all could be recognized in real life from the stylized representation (and perhaps vice versa) but you’d never confuse a screenshot with a photograph.

    • Bryan says:

      You’re right — there is no way a person would climb like that in reality. The jump *up* to spin around and grab a couple points on the wall (…which were below their feet *before* they jumped) is probably the least-likely piece of it, followed by the single-hand (and no feet that I could see either!) hold in the next drop down. Having climbed rock walls before, you really can’t hang on with just hands. Two hands is not possible for more than a second or two, and one hand isn’t really possible at all. You just weigh too much.

      Trying to grab the wall on the way down when you fall is also a great way to either lose your skin, or break your hand or fingers, but after that happens, it’s *not* going to stop your descent when you start a full body length above. You have too much momentum by the time you’ve fallen that far, and the time is too short, meaning the required force (and the impact of it) is just too high. That’s why you use a rope and harness when climbing; ropes and harnesses can take impacts that fingers can’t when you screw up.

      (Dropping that far and landing on your feet is reasonable, since you take the impact by bending your knees, and feet are built to hold your entire body weight. Hands are not.)

      Assassin’s Creed had some of the same problems, for the record. Of course it doesn’t ruin immersion (at least not for me), but it is weird looking when I think about it. Also, yeah, stylized physics.

      So it’s not like it’s bad, I don’t think. It’s just odd. And don’t try it in real life. :-)

      • MrPyro says:

        I can’t watch the video as I am at work, but it is possible to do short moves while climbing using just hands, and even one-handed; there is a technique known as campusing (mainly used as a training technique rather than on actual climbs, but I’ve seen it done). It is only really usable by very experienced climbers though.

        Dropping any significant distance and then catching a hold is a good way to end up with broken fingers. I’m playing Brotherhood at the moment and have just turned off my climbing brain while doing so.

      • Jeff says:

        I dunno, I’ve seen videos of “extreme climbers” with immense hand strength pull off all sorts of crazy maneuvers.

        If you look at Tee Major Fitness, a guy who runs the fitness regime for the US Army, a few of his exercises involve using one hand to lift his entire body – and then kick up his knees to his chest, because it’s actually a compound arm/abs exercise. Then he has the crucifix pushup where his arms are more or less entirely spread, and he pushes up about a foot by flexing his body.

  2. Andrew says:

    Here we see that Josh will find a way to break any game. 16:10 he has a Wrench instead of a Spike Remover when he goes to bonk the telescope to try and get it to work.

    • anaphysik says:

      In my playthrough, I remember (um, spoilers for the next Spoiler Warning episode) Molly taking away the spike remover from Lee, when I /really/ had the wrench. It only flashed by for a sec (& it was a pain in the ass to take screenshots in that section, so I can’t show any to prove), but I definitely saw the characteristic two handles of the spike remover.

    • Arvind says:

      The exact same bug happened in my playthrough a week ago. I guess the game isn’t very particular about remembering which of the 3 tools you chose.

    • MrGuy says:

      I think that’s actually a bug from the last episode of SW. When Lee went to prop the door to the train station open, he had a spike puller. When he pulled it back out to hit to zombie, it was a wrench.

      So it hasn’t magically changed back, which is…good, I guess?

  3. supflidowg says:

    I wonder if Kenny couldn’t find the boat would he build one from all of the barricade wood? THE WALKING DEAD EPISODE FIVE: Board to death.

    • James says:

      How dare you hide a pun in strike tags, that’s like putting a turd in a box and saying, there’s something special in this box, it might be nice :P

      OP: i always felt that Kenny plan was insane, granted his a fisherman, but your on the cost and finding fish in the open sea isn’t like finding them in a river, also the pacific (is it the pacific i dont know which cost Savannah is near) isnt a nice paddle ride its rough, lets assume Kenny abandons everyone but lee and chem, what are they gunna do, live at sea?, what about fuel, what about food, water, WHY IS EVERYONE GOING ON WITH THIS PLAN

      • Thomas says:

        He’s almost certainly a sea fisherman unless the US has some fairly huge lakes with large stocks of fish, because he had a boat. So he already makes a living off catching fish and if he caught less fish than 5 people could eat, I doubt he’d be making enough money. And you can set up distilleries to get water from the sea (although I don’t know if the equipment is widely available) and worst comes to worst you just visit land every now and then and fill up some containers.

        Didn’t think about the fuel problem though

        • Shamus says:

          The US does have some very large lakes. In fact, they have the largest freshwater lakes on Earth:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lakes

          Should be more than fine for fishing on the scale we’re talking about here. The trick would be reaching them. The Great Lakes are just over 1,100km away from where the group is now. (Assuming they head for Erie, PA, which would be the closest point.) That’s a long trip.

          • LunaticFringe says:

            *Ahem* Partially owned by Canada. Also fishing is fairly limited depending on what lake and where you are due to pollution (though it’s gotten better, Lake Michigan used to have weird chemical form all over it).

            • Thomas says:

              Oh wow. Total area of the Great Lakes: 244 000 km^2
              (Lake superior: 82 000km^2)

              Total area of Wales: 21 000 km^2

              I don’t think my mind can handle the idea of lakes that large

            • Peter H. Coffin says:

              And the fishing was better when the foam was there. Lake Michigan (and to a large extent, many of the other lakes) are phenomenally cleaner than they used to be, to the point that the water’s as clear as the Caribbean, but that’s due to mussels that are filtering the water to the point of near sterility. Which means there’s not a whole lot of food left for any other fish.

              Someone needs to teach salmon to eat Zebra Mussels.

              • LunaticFringe says:

                I lived around Lake Ontario most of my life, it’s still possible to fish there but there’s often seasons where the health authorities recommend catch and release due to the pollution from the St. Lawrence River and CMAs like Toronto and Kingston. Pregnant women are advised to never eat local seafood due to mercury content. I’m pretty sure some kinds of bass eat zebra mussels but their numbers are way too low to make a difference.

                Checking out the Great Lakes Fisheries section of Ministry of Natural Resources’ site, they claim to have annual catches of around 12,000 metric tonnes and have 500 commercial fishing operations on the Great Lakes (though I suspect most are along Superior and Huron).

                • Steve C says:

                  I live on Lake Ontario. There are commercial fisheries here still. In fact last spring one set up a hoop net system 150ft away from where I’m sitting right now.

        • Wraith says:

          Kenny’s from Florida. Remember? Crazy shit just comes out of his mouth sometimes.

      • Shamus says:

        Savanna is on the east coast of the US, so this river lets out into the Atlantic. This whole region is, of course, Hurricane alley. So that’s fun. Of course, modern people who are used to global weather reports might not think of weather as a threat until everything else settles down and it dawns on them that they can no longer see the future. They won’t know a hurricane is coming until they see it, and by that point it will be much too late to reach shore and secure the boat. This is assuming they recognize the danger and don’t assume the dark clouds are just a thunderstorm. It’s also assuming that the storm lands during daylight when someone will see it coming. In a boat that size, surviving a hurricane is not likely.

        Then as you said: Fuel. Maybe the boat will have a sail, and I’m willing to believe that Ken knows how to operate a sail. Then again, that just makes everything that much harder.

        How are we going to eat these fish, Ken? We can’t land the boat. We can either eat them raw or build a fire on the boat. That’s a very small boat to be building fires on. I suppose we might grab an outdoor grill, but we still have the question of fuel and kindling.

        And yeah, what about water? (Although maybe if we stick to the river we can drink that. I guess we don’t NEED to put out to sea. I mean, zombies can see us on the river but they can’t reach us.)

        So I guess we would die of thirst, then starve, then drown.

        And yet, i can see someone coming up with this plan. In an emergency you go with what you know. What’s strange is that nobody else seems to have any ideas.

        In Lee’s position, I might be agreeable to using a boat (assuming one was available) to go up the coast. Given the way this universe imbues ninja-powers on zombies, I’d want a safe way to cover a lot of distance. We could probably pack enough food and water and fuel to move the group a good ways up the coast. Yes, weather would be a danger, but probably less dangerous than walking. But a boat is transport, not housing.

        • MrGuy says:

          Ask me about my Zombie Plan.

        • Katesickle says:

          Using a boat but staying near the coast actually sounds like a really good plan. You could easily get to dry land to get more food/supplies and for cooking, and then you can sleep with the boat anchored away from the shore so that you’re safe at night.

          Thinking long-term, I wonder if you could use this arrangement to maintain a small garden or something near the shore (though this might work better if you were staying with the river)? After all, you can’t just live off of the fish you catch, even if Kenny is an excellent fisherman. You’re going to need perishables like fruit, and the only way to do that long-term is to farm (or be lucky enough to find where it grows already). So you use the boat as your main base, with regular excursions onto land in order to get food. If you had people who knew what they were doing I think this might be a viable long-term strategy.

          • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I figured the plan (based on what Kenny said way back in Ep 1) was to get a boat in Savannah and then sail down the coast to Florida and get Kenny’s fishing boat -which would have been much better equipped for spending a lot of time at sea.

            Ultimately, I think this plan could have worked, but it’s a plan for waiting out the Zombie Appocalypse, not getting on with life.

            Which brings us to Crawford -which makes no sense to me -but we’ll get there later.

            • newdarkcloud says:

              Indeed. Crawford’s stupidity is something I very much want to discuss.

            • MrGuy says:

              By the way, if I were Kenny, and I wanted to sound like I had a plan that could actually work….

              I’d point out that walkers don’t look like they can swim. And that there are an awful lot of largely uninhabited islands off the coast of Florida. Some with fresh water. Kenny even knows a few. There might be a walker or two on the island to clear off, but once they’re gone, we could live there for a good long while in relative peace. With a boat, we could fish, we could occasionally run back to the mainland for supplies, maybe see if we could get a few chickens or some other livestock. Y’know, restart society and all. And it starts with a boat.

              That’s if we wanted Kenny’s plan to sound like a good idea…

        • decius says:

          How do you solve the food and drink problem without a boat?

          • Shamus says:

            “It depends”.

            Aside from Ep 2, we never get a good look at where their food and water come from. The water problem is either trivial (near a river or spring) or insurmountable (anywhere else.) They never talk about running low on water, so I guess we can assume that there’s still enough water left in water towers for indoor plumbing to work?

            Thinking about this more, I have to say that fishing seems like a more plausible long-term solution than farming. You can keep a garden for fruits & veggies, and round out the calorie needs with fish. That seems more attainable than trying to learn to farm. Maybe I’m underestimating the complexity of net fishing or overestimating to difficulty of farming, but that’s how I’d lean. Early civs tended to fare better on the cost. The ocean can handle your sanitation (I gather sewage doesn’t begin to become a problem until your population is into five digits?) and you can fish even when you can’t farm. (Like winter.)

            While Kenny’s plan might be doomed to fail because of the lack of boats, I’d say the concept of fishing is the most appealing to me.

            • Katesickle says:

              Thinking about the farming thing a bit, there are quite a few fruits and veggies that grow rather well in pots. You won’t get a very high yield from them, but I think you could generate enough to give a few people a balanced diet. So if you could get yourself some space for potted plants (so some kind of floating platform, since I doubt many boats would have the space) you could handle your dietary needs without needing to go onto land.

              I’m trying to research the floating village in Halong bay, but all I can seem to find is “lookit the pretty pictures!” and nothing about how those people actually handle getting food that isn’t fish. Ah, well.

            • Nidokoenig says:

              An idea I had for a better idea than going straight for a boat was to find an orchard(trees are fairly low maintenance and a commercial orchard would feed dozens of people comfortably), sticking some potatoes in the ground nearby(that’s pretty much all you need to do for at least some varieties), and feed anything that spoils or is otherwise inedible to pigs, goats, rats or whatever for protein. Forage for nuts and berries to eat and to feed to chickens, find more space to plant seeds from what you forage. This is post zombie apocalypse, so wasteful use of real estate isn’t a pressing concern.

              That gives you enough stability to last for a couple years at worst. In that time you can make trips to nearby cities to look for boats, libraries to raid for books on agriculture and maps that might point to good farmland, farming supply stores to raid for seeds and tools, all kinds of stuff. And if that fails, the orchard will probably last enough years to learn how to get food coming out of the ground in subsistence quantities through trial and error, or just to learn how to sustain the orchard.

              As for fishing, you can probably find enough tires, wood and rope to make a raft to float out. Sure, you’re not going to be doing deep sea fishing for tuna, but there’ll be plenty of stuff dozens of metres out. Being by the ocean also means 180 degrees or less of space for zombies to come from, so even the boat isn’t necessary for it to be a good plan.

              • Steve C says:

                The problem is that apples can only really be harvested when they ripen Aug-Nov depending on type. And orchards don’t generally carry that wide of a variety so you’re looking at an even narrower harvest time. Timing the harvest and storing it are going to be a severe problem with any perennial fruit based zombie plan. You’re also limited by whatever people planted years ago as it takes a while for a tree to start bearing fruit. (I grew up surrounded by 4 commercial apple orchards.)

                Here are the orchards in Georgia. (Man I love the internet.)

            • RTBones says:

              It all really depends on what you intend to do. Assuming you could make (make seaworthy, that is) or find a boat seaworthy enough to move reasonably on the water, hugging the coast is not a bad option. There are plenty of little harbors and places to put in to check for supplies. Fuel is entirely dependent on what sort of motor the boat has. If its diesel – you have a locomotive not too far away that runs on diesel (diesel electric) – you just need something to hold it and a siphon. There is a wildlife refuge at the mouth of the Savannah River, so you could add small game to your diet.

              Speaking of rail, Savannah DOES have an Amtrak station. What that means is that the city is on a line of rail that runs north/south along the east coast that are at least close to population centers – good for supplies. If getting out of Savannah is your game, thats another option.

              Speaking of rail – not far from the Amtrak station is a large airport (Savanah/Hilton Head International). The rail line runs right past it. Even if flying is not the way you want to get out, there is bound to be a fuel depot of some sort there (and not just Jet A for the airplanes).

        • Steve C says:

          When Kenny said he was a fishing boat captain and his plan was to get a boat I assumed the kind of boat he was talking about was measured in tonnage not feet. Which I was all for. When he started searching for pleasure craft I immediately thought, Kenny, you fucking idiot.”

          Cruise boats, oil tankers, freight ships, and even some small Bubba-Gump shrimping boats have independent power supplies, independent generators, long range radios, crew quarters, desalination equipment, limited and easily defended entry points, metal hulls you can light campfires on, and copious amounts of fuel (if you aren’t actually going anywhere.) An anchored cruise ship or commercial ship with tender and fishing rods would be my zombie plan. In this plan the boat is housing not transport.

          Only problem with my plan is that I don’t eat fish so I’d need to find the St Johns first to learn a few new skills.

  4. The Unforgiven says:

    I have to say, I really got choked up on that section with the kid, from when you found him in the attic, to when you buried him. I’m a single 23 year old with no children, and I had to pause the video for a moment and look away before I was able to continue watching. I can’t imagine what someone with kids (Shamus, for example) was feeling during that sequence. I’d even say it affected me more than Duck did.

    • Tse says:

      I used a spike remover for the kid, so this was a less disturbing repeat for me. I was very disturbed when I played through it, though. And I kinda wished to see what stomping the zombie would look like…

    • X2-Eliah says:

      This was a bit of a surprise for me, because of all the half-talk and mentions of the kid in the attic, I sort of assumed that it would be a survivor of some sort that they found. Finding out that (logically) it was just a zombie was… unexpected.

      I do think the game overplayed the sadmanipulation on that scene, though – too obvious sadmusic and such. I’d have thought that stone-cold silence would have worked better. Then again, I am not so attached to kids in general (and ofc seeing this only second-hand, not having played it myself), so maybe that’s why, but nevertheless I think that the story with Duck was more impactful than this little vignette.

      • StashAugustine says:

        It was, but it was still a nice little short scene that added some more sympathetic character to Kenny.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        I think the impact from this one is supposed to come a lot less from “there’s a zombie who’s a kid oh nooooo” than from, “Hey, Ken and Lee! Remember Duck? Remember Ken’s son who got bit and died? Oh, is that still a sore spot? That one of you had to shoot him? Oh, neither of you could go through with it? Well here’s what he’d look like now!”

        I convinced Kenny to go through with shooting Duck, although in hindsight I’m not certain why, aside from some nebulous, possibly facile idea that it would be ‘better for him.’ But I took care of this one myself; just don’t have the heart to force it on Ken after all that happened.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          My only experience with the game being watching it on SW I have to say the scene with Duck seemed more powerful to me (despite the fact I wasn’t the greatest fan of the character), this felt a bit overplayed like X2-Eliach said, though I admit it may be the matter of non-game factors. That said I agree that it probably has a somewhat different effect if you leave without shooting Duck.

          • Thomas says:

            I found this scene a lot harder than Duck even. I chose the spike remover because I wanted to save bullets and that was one of the worst choices I’ve made.

            For me it was powerful and awful enough the I began to deliberately detach myself from the game as a coping mechanism. When he was digging and he kept stopping it was agonising enough that I forced myself to start making jokes/criticisms about how bad Lee was at shovelling. It probably affects my eventual total breakaway by chapter 5

          • The Rocketeer says:

            I do agree that the scene with Duck was and should be the more powerful of the two. But while the later scene does play off of the first, it’s not as though their in competition with one another.

            That sounds a bit obvious, yeah, but we’ve all seen media where each and every scene is trying to out-cry the ones before it, and it’s never worth betting that it will work.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        As someone who played the game personally, to me this scene wasn’t as impactful as the scene with Duck, but it was still quite a gut-punch nonetheless.

        I didn’t cry in the same way I did for Duck, but I definitely felt a pit in my stomach as it was happening.

      • The Unforgiven says:

        Just as a note: I have not played the game. I watched one complete playthrough of it by someone else who didn’t talk over everything (cough cough), and this is the second time I’m watching it be played.

        The reason I thought this was more gut-retching than Duck is because (from the start of the apocalypse to now) he was always with his parents, who loved him. He was usually with a group of people who cared about his health and well-being. He had adequate amounts of food and water at all (or close to all) times. When he finally died/turned it was fairly quick. He was sick, yes, but judging by how long they were driving as well as future events, he couldn’t have been sick for more than a day, and when he died it was a quick, clean, and painless death (or if it was painful, it was over so quickly as to not make a difference).

        This anonymous kid however, didn’t have any of that. He was abandoned by his parents and loved ones, either by accident or on purpose. He was forced to hide up in his attic, and was either unable or too scared to go out for food and water. Judging by the lack of food in the house and how skinny he was, he almost certainly died of starvation. A death that would have taken /weeks/ to happen.

        Yes, we knew Duck on a more personal level, but I’d argue that’s why his death is less impactful than this one was. We know duck was loved and taken care of; his death quick and painless. This kid was abandoned and scared; his death long and painful.

        Obviously someone who has kids of their own might feel differently about this, but for me, I felt this kids death much more acutly than I did Duck’s death.

      • Mogatrat says:

        Another place where my mistaken musicless playthrough worked out for me, I suppose!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      To me,this scene was sort of relieving.It showed me what fate Ive saved duck from.So the music was kind of appropriate.

    • Geromy says:

      I really didn’t like this scene. It just seemed really unnecessary. We had to make a difficult choice with Duck in the third episode, and now there’s another child who has to be put down!
      The entire sequence, even as I was playing it, just felt like a cheap attempt to get an emotional response from the player. And then in the burial scene, it felt like a flimsy excuse to get Lee outside again. I just sighed and did what the game wanted me to.
      Now, if Duck had to be killed in the first or second episode, I might feel differently. But this happening the very next episode just feels forced.

    • czhah says:

      I wasn’t a big fan of this scene either. While it certainly affected me and made me uncomfortable enough to look away from the screen, I also felt it was less poignant and more “emotionally manipulative” than the Duck scene, so much so that it temporarily yanked me out of the game and broke my immersion.

    • krellen says:

      This was the first moment in the game that made me cry.

      I was very upset that Lee had no dialogue choices at all, though. I really wanted him to kneel by the grave and say “Now you take good care of him, Walter” before the burial.

    • Kian says:

      I actually wasn’t too affected by shooting Duck. See, every scene with Duck, especially the way Katjaa was holding him, I expected him to turn suddenly and start biting people.

      I get why everyone was sad, and in a way I was too, but whenever I was with Duck since he got bitten I couldn’t help thinking how likely he was to turn at any moment. I had Clementine to worry about, so that worry displaced any empathy. Shooting him actually felt like a relief. A weight lifted off my shoulders.

      This scene was more powerful for me, because the zombie was so weak that the risk wasn’t there. He was a kid so starved that even his zombie was powerless. Just imagining how much he suffered up here, waiting for his family to come look for him. The way Clementine might have died in her tree house if a zombie didn’t get her first.

      Having to brain him with the spike remover was more powerful for me than shooting duck, and I really got why I needed to bury him.

      • Steve C says:

        I’m finding the diversity in everyone’s reactions to be very interesting. I had very little emotional attachment to this scene. I thought I was getting rid the bad smell in the house we might be spending a lot of time in, plus doing a favor for Kenny. I was mostly grossed out by Lee picking him up in his arms after. Instead of using a bedsheet as a bag or something.

        OH plus it reminded me of Grave of the Fireflies.

  5. Erik says:

    One thing i noticed though, when looking at the buildings, is that a lot of buildings have not just the first floor, but the second and third floor windows boarded up.

    You can even inspect one of the buildings in episode 4 and Lee will say “Man, it must’ve taken a long time to board up all those windows”.

    When thinking about a zombie apocalypse, it can really only be succesful if things get out of hand so fast that nobody is able to do much about it. So would people really have the time to board up second floor windows? And even so, why would you? Can zombies fly now?

    • Bear says:

      AS for why you would board up second and third story windows, I have to point out, that during a zombie apocalypse you would have more to worry about than zombies. There would surely be human raiders to deal with as well… or I could just have a low opinion of how people would react to such a calamity.

      • StashAugustine says:

        It’s okay, the game does too.

      • Erik says:

        Even if you’re right, where are people getting the boards from? It’s not like hardware stores have an infinite supply of plywood boards :)

        • Nidokoenig says:

          Rip up the floorboards in neighbouring houses or rooms you’re not using. You could try to be clever and rip up two out every three boards on the lower floors so that zombies that get in fall through the holes and make a big noise, but that probably has issues with structural integrity and your group being able to run in to safety fast enough.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            Also, you’re not really using quite as much furniture as you did, do you? And let’s face it, you never really liked that bed. For that matter one well supplied IKEA would probably provide enough materials to board up half the town (though whether or not some of the materials would survive a zombie onslaught is a separate matter).

          • MrGuy says:

            Unless you have a SERIOUSLY only house (like early 1700’s), ripping up floorboards is NOT THE SAME as putting an actual hole in the floor.

            You’ll have a subfloor below the finish floor (plywood in modern installations, a different layer of less-nice-looking boards in older). And even when the subfloor is made of boards, by design they’ll almost certainly be running a different direction than the finish floor, so you’d have to rip the finish floor out of a wide area to get access to create a hole.

            And that’s without thinking about the underlying joists and such…

            • Nidokoenig says:

              Well, my house was built in the 70s, and I remember from when we moved in and it was still being fixed up that it’s one layer of floorboards, a pretty sparse frame you can walk on while looking around and putting the floorboards in, then the ceiling for the floor below, which you can and will put your foot right through if you step on it, as demonstrated by a relative I won’t name. Then again, I’m British, and this house is about as narrow as the one in the video that Josh is complaining is weirdly narrow, so apparently we build them differently here.

              • Thomas says:

                You could definitely use the frame fine to walk on though if you needed boards, when I was born my parents didn’t even have any floorboards down on the top layers and they still lugged me across it. I’m always a bit shocked with deep houses because I’ve always lived in one that was one room deep (and not a very big room either) and forget its not the norm (so this house looked huge to me =D)

              • Kavonde says:

                Well, if you look at a map of the U.S., you’ll notice that as you go west, the states get bigger and more sprawling. Same applies to the cities and, largely, the architecture. Savannah, being an old (for us) city on the East Coast, would naturally have houses that seem narrow to a guy from Nevada.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          First rule of any apocalypse:Loose boards will spontaneously appear everywhere to be used to board up windows and doors.

        • Steve C says:

          It’s Savannah GA on the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes are an annual issue and also why you’d be boarding up the 2nd floor. Having spare wood specifically for boarding up windows is common regardless of the zombies. It’s kept in storage for next time. It is also common real world practice to make it people resistant due to the possibility of evacuation and looting during a hurricane.

          That’s not to say Savannah gets hit by a lot of hurricanes. Just that the annual scare of bad weather is enough for many people to have supplies for things other than the zombie apocalypse. And even if you don’t, 2x10s and plywood are extremely common building supplies. I’m pretty sure I could find enough spare in my own garage and basement to board up my windows if I had to. (Even though I’ve never considered doing that.)

          • Erik says:

            True enough, i guess that solves the problem of where they’re getting the wood. But still, if you know a hurricane is coming, you can go outside and board up the windows before the storm hits.

            I doubt anyone saw the zombie apocalypse coming, and during a zombie apocalypse, outside (on a ladder) is the LAST place i’d want to be.

      • Nytzschy says:

        I wouldn’t trust anyone, and I certainly wouldn’t trust windows. That might just be the DayZ in me talking, however.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      I found the flaw in your theory! It starts with “when thinking about the zombie apocalypse.”

    • Nidokoenig says:

      If zombies started appearing tomorrow, I’d assume they could fly and become invisible until well after it was proven otherwise. Remember, this is a new, previously unheard of, supernatural threat to these people. The most important thing to remember in this situation is that what you don’t know, will kill you.
      Until they met Ben and his group, they didn’t know that it was everyone who died who turned, they thought it was just those that got bitten, and that almost killed them. Anyone still alive at this point has learned not to underestimate zombies, and there’s gonna be some downtime where you can’t go outside and boarding up windows is as good a pass-time as any in a zombie apocalypse, noise aside.

  6. HiEv says:

    To answer Rutskarn’s question, that first painting in the episode was a portion of Caravaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes“.

  7. anaphysik says:

    @11:52 Josh: Lee is saying that if Omid looks to be turning, he can’t count on Christa to kill Omid/walker-Omid.

    Of course, Lee also can’t count on /Ben/, so…

  8. anaphysik says:

    I would like to note that that kid *doesn’t* look like Duck to me. I give it a pass, though, as Kenny’s the one to say it & he has good reason to not be thinking straight.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Yeah. He didn’t look the exact same as Duck, but he has a passing enough similarity that a grieving Kenny could still mistake the two.

      • MrGuy says:

        He doesn’t even have to look similar. Kenny watched his friend shoot his kid before his kid could turn into a walker. That was yesterday. Kenny sees a kid, he sees Duck.

        I don’t care if it was an African-american girl with long pigtails and a prothetic arm, Kenny’s looking at her and seeing Duck.

  9. Wulfgar says:

    i know what burying scene needs… a quick time event!

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Not a quick time event (no timing involved). Lost Odyssey did the same thing with the funeral for Kaim’s daughter -who’s name has eluded me. I like the idea of getting the player invovled in these types of rituals, but I’ve yet to actually enjoy or feel any particular emotion when doing it. Though this one came close.

  10. Primogenitor says:

    In the “locations based on real-life” vein, the first time I went to Washington DC was just after I had been playing way too much Fallout – using the Metro and walking around the Mall was a very weird sensation. It was similar enough to be familiar, but different enough to be fraeky – uncanny valley from the other side I guess.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Oh, having worked in DC as a college student, the map of Fallout 3 drove me nuts. DC is not laid out this way.

      Then I just said “alternate history” and tried to imagine how they completely relaid the streets between 1950 and when the bombs fell.

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    To give the zombie apocalypse some credit, I can’t think of very many scenarios where one WOULD get a moment’s peace burying an emaciated kid in an open fenced backyard in the middle of the city. But yes, it does drive home the point that the world isn’t going to wait on the somber moment. It’s a nice touch that the writers allow the world to interrupt their scenes like this.

  12. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I’d be surprised if it wasn’t covered earlier but I can’t remember seeing it so I’ll address the whole boat plan thing.

    For starters, Kenny probably pushes for that plan largely for psychological reasons. He’s probably spent a good chunk of his life on that boat, his house failed as his castle and he mentally falls on the boat as his other house. This happened during the “OMG the world is ending” shock and later on it was just easier to follow through with it convincing yourself it’s a good idea than admit you have no idea what you’re doing. Especially since he looks like the type who feels the need to be the man of the house, always knowing what to do and protecting and providing for his family. This is also probably why any attempt to question the plan meets with such open hostility. Should the other characters have discussed the issue more? Probably. Though to be frank I don’t consider myself the most strong willed individual and I’d probably grasp at this plan as well having none of my own.

    Now putting that aside this is not such a horrible plan except for one glaring flaw. Firstly, Kenny is a professional fisherman so he knows it’s possible to survive for quite a while at sea and fishing is an option and while I know having fish as the basis of your diet isn’t the best solution in the long run it helps. Secondly, I don’t think walkers swim, maybe they float but that still makes getting to a boat that’s even a few dozen meters away almost impossible. Thirdly, there are a lot of bigger and smaller towns along the rivers and coastlines, in theory you should be able to travel on water, survey locations a bit from the safety of the boat and then dock for some looting and/or resupplying until you find some sort of larger, better organized community that seems to be doing better with the whole “rebuild civilization” thing (which I assume would be the plan rather than starting an independent nation of Boatania with less than ten people).

    Like I said, there is just one flaw with this plan. It’s a decent plan and probably half the city thought “get to the boats” in the first place, so the chances of them finding one that’s in working condition (much less Kenny’s boat) are pretty nonexistent and it should be obvious. I admit this is the major point where the game doesn’t really hold that well. That said, if I had no idea for a military base (though it is generally implied the military has fallen) or some other sort of reliable shelter with potential for permanency I’d probably still consider getting to the nearest major waterway a decent idea.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      That’s the thing. It’s obvious to anyone that Kenny’s doing this mostly to sooth his conscious and ego. It’s also obvious that the chances of finding a boat are slim.

      You can call him out on the second part of this, but not the first. I feel that the player really should be given that choice.

      • Torsten says:

        The thing with Kenny’s plan is that compared to other plans the group had, it was the smartest one. The options were to stay at the inn until the supplies ran out, or stay at the dairy farm until the supplies ran out.

      • MrGuy says:

        I think it could be something more than just trying to soothe his conscience (especially since he’s had this plan longer than he’s had guilt to deal with).

        I actually think this is something I encounter professionally that I call defensive competence. What I mean here is someone being overwhelmed with a large amount of changes, and feeling lost and incompetent. So they retreat reflexively to the one thing they’re good at that could possibly help and do that. They get to feel like they’re helping without really having to deal with the big scary thing.

        I see this a lot professionally (I’m a software consultant). You try to teach people a new way to do things, and they’re used to the old way, and they have trouble adjusting. So they retreat to something that’s not changing and they know how to do well (let’s say it’s writing up meeting minutes) and try to do just that, or be the team’s expert on that. Even if it’s not the most valuable thing, it’s a way to feel like they’re contributing. (One of the hardest things I have to do is wean people from defensive competence).

        Kenny can’t deal with the apocalypse. But he knows how to sail a boat. And sailing a boat might help. And since it’s something he knows how to do and that might help, he retreats to that safety as a way to feel like he’s a contributor to the team, even if it’s not really the most rational or important thing to focus on.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          This “defensive competence” thing is pretty much spot on what I had in mind with the psychological part, and again, I still think using a boat is a good idea in itself. The problem is more finding a boat that hasn’t been taken or damaged.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      Apparently Kenny’s boat idea wasn’t too bad. It seems enough other people had the idea that they took all of the boats before Kenny could get there. I don’t actually know the full extent of his plan. Living (semi-)permanently on a boat seems unlikely. But assuming walkers don’t swim, getting to an off-shore island with someplace to live and some source of vegetation for food and Kenny’s fishing could be viable. Especially if the population was low enough that you could clear all the walkers off of it and be reasonably sure no more will be approaching. Might have to deal with a few weeks of stay ninjas popping up.

  13. newdarkcloud says:

    Shamus, I have to ask, what did you do to Kenny!? I sided with Lilly, refused to take the food, and called out his dumb plan here and he STILL had my back in Episode 5 without question, even when I replayed it (Ep4)keeping Ben alive. Did you teabag is wife or something!?

    Also, I shot the kid for him here too and Kenny didn’t seem to mind. He reacted very much the same as the way Josh had him act.

    • Isy says:

      That’s because Kenny’s a contrary jerk. He told he he’d come with me in Episode 5, saying I’d always been there for his family, and then changed his mind literally two seconds later.

  14. Grescheks says:

    Man, Shamus. You went through a lot of trouble trying to figure out where they are in Savannah based on images, when they pan right by the street sign that says Lincoln and East Bay street at ~12:20. Oh well, you came by the right answer anyway, so all’s well.

    • Shamus says:

      Oh man. Totally missed that. Ah well. It was a fun little bit of exploring.

      • ACman says:

        I’ve never been to America let alone Savana, Georgia but it really hit all the right notes for me.

        My knowledge of Savana stems from the film ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’. It’s those tree-lined avenues and the feeling of twilight-cool despite unbearable ambient heat. That and the delicious accents.

  15. Pax says:

    As a resident of the Savannah area, I’m happy to say that it looks like this rendition of zombie-filled Savannah is much closer than Left 4 Dead 2’s version.

  16. LunaticFringe says:

    So has anyone here actually done the boot option for the kid? Is it as horrible as it seems?

    In regards to real world locations being replicated in video games, I thought S.T.A.L.K.E.R. did an excellent job with Chernobyl. Sure, locations like Prypiat are moved around to fit the game world, but they still manage to show a lot of the iconic elements despite their limitations (the ferris wheel, the abandoned Soviet bases, the scrap yard filled with radioactive vehicles and junk).

  17. Bryan says:

    Wait, Kenny’s “a fishing captain, not a miracle worker”?

    “…Dammit Jim”? Well, Lee, I suppose.

    Oh dear.

  18. X2-Eliah says:

    Regarding the fishing plans on te boating scenario.. Does the Zombie-itis apply to fish as well? Because zombified fish would probably be a lot less wary of baits and hooks, and gobble them up as soon as one was close, whereas real fish might excercise caution.. and be chewed by the zombie fish.

    And I am not sure that it is safe to eat a zombified fish.

  19. TraderRager says:

    It’s kinda funny that L4D2 starts in a zombie infest hotel in Savanna, Georgia – While this game ENDS the same way.

  20. The little zombie kid wasn’t has hard for me as Duck was. I cried when I shot duck. Still, this was a powerful “Oh my gosh…” moment.

    What was harder was burying him with his dog…. I played this episode shortly after my own dog passed away, and going through that whole thing was very emotional for me.

    Also, concerning the signs on all the doors, I was kind of surprised Lee never saw anything like that before. After Hurricane Katrina several years ago, New Orleans was riddled with those. I forgot what all the numbers mean, but one of them represented the number of bodies found in the building after the storm. It’s cataloging.

  21. John the Savage says:

    Rutskarn, I appreciate the Homestuck reference that you were trying to make. I assume it was about the mausoleum Rose’s mom built for her dead cat, Jaspers, as seen here?

  22. Simon Buchan says:

    Soo… was I the only one who thought it was really weird to bury the kid in the dog’s grave? Like… *right* beside it? Especially after that whole scene selling how gross and decayed and horrible this dog is? Huh.

    • John the Savage says:

      I’m sure the kid isn’t much better. What bothered me is that they didn’t rebury the dog right away; especially when you’ve got everybody complaining about the smell.

  23. Indy says:

    So we come back to this intersection later when the situation has changed and it occurs to me that you really could have brought Clementine and checked out the Marsh House. It would have taken five minutes to check the building. And if you brought the shovel and the train weapon, you wouldn’t even need to use your gun. I know it’s silly to complain about this in retrospect but it’s RIGHT THERE.

    Oh, and Josh, for looking at the metrics, there are a few on the Walking Dead wiki and a few in the ‘Playing Dead’ youtube videos by Telltale.
    Episode 3’s stats from the wiki are here.
    Episode 3’s Playing Dead discussion is here.

  24. Kian says:

    You know, I just noticed. The kid in the attic starved to death. But there was dog food in the kitchen. Lee even says “I’m not that hungry.”

    You’d think someone that hadn’t eaten anything in a week would choose to eat that to starving. So did he stay up there and refuse to come down? Dehydration though is something they never bring up.

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