The Walking Dead EP21: The Sewer Level

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 22, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 93 comments

Link (YouTube)

I find it really odd that I forgot basically everything bad about this sequence. Teleporting Molly? Forgot about that. Magical Ninja Clementine? Forgot about that. The absurd and pointless leg-sweep move that Molly performs against an unseen, heaver opponent while doubly covered at point-blank range? Forgot about that. The strange modulating zombie speed that surrounds the group instantly and then takes over a minute to walk the last ten paces? Forgot about that.

It’s odd because this is exactly the sort of thing that normally gets under my skin. I guess I was just really caught up in the moment?

Also, I love how everyone accuses you of being from Crawford, even people who lived in Crawford and left.

I will say this game does not hold up well to repeated viewings.


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93 thoughts on “The Walking Dead EP21: The Sewer Level

  1. Sean Riley says:

    I will say this game does not hold up well to repeated viewings.

    Hyuuup. And episode four probably holds up worse than most. (Easily my least favourite episode.)

    1. Guvnorium says:

      Agreed, although the one choice towards the end was excellent and worked with the themes, and the episodes ending is excellent. Mechanically, I thought this was the weakest of the episodes. The sewer section seemed weirdly arbitrary and just there to pad out the length. Surely there was a better way to introduce us to the new characters?

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        First rule of videogames. All must have a sewer level.

        Union rules, or something.

        1. Tom says:

          I’m trying to recall; have we seen any cubical wooden plank packing crates anywhere in this series?

          1. Lovecrafter says:

            I think there were some on the train from the last episode.

  2. Cannongerbil says:

    Wait, You can actually stop her from slugging you with the “monkey tool”? I always thought that was a scripted event, like the unkillable zombie at the beginning.

  3. Spencer Petersen says:

    Note: Brie’s appearance is based off of the winner of a pre-order contest from before episode 1 came out, and shes voiced by the same person as Katjaa. The 4 runners up are zombies in episode 5, so keep on the lookout for unique looking guys as you kill them.

    1. BeardedDork says:

      I also thought she looked like a young Cathy Bates.

    2. Indy says:

      Poor Brie. At least we know who’s responsible. Shitty doormakers.

  4. Katesickle says:

    So at the beginning when Rutskarn went “and I’m Ruts *HACK COUGH HACK*” my video froze. Rutskarn made Youtube sick.

    Also, this is off topic but The Witch Watch cured my fiance’s hiccups. Twice. You could totally market the book as medicine now :D

    1. Thomas says:

      On the subject of the Witch Watch, I was reading Terry Pratchett’s Dodger set in Victorian London and so I kept catching myself thinking ‘Hey this guy writes like Shamus’

  5. Jokerman says:

    Reminds me of your article in response to Hulk, the writer trust thing.

  6. Cupcaeks says:

    Molly’s crazy parkour moves seemed a bit off-tone for the series to me at first, but after learning more about her background, that kind of high-risk behavior suddenly made a whole lot more sense. In the end I think it fit her character very well, though I’m still not really sure what to make of her role in the game as a whole. I suppose she’s there to provide insight on Crawford, but I felt like the cancer survivors already did a pretty good job of that by themselves. I guess at worst she provides an inoffensive and somewhat interesting side show, and at best her story adds some more emotional weight to the episode.

  7. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I think my favorite moment of the episode is when Lee -having no idea how to do it -tries to mimmic Molly’s move from earlier in the episode and the wall moves. It just screams “you are not an action hero, you are a history teacher.”

  8. Dude says:

    So, what Film Critic Hulk said in the article you linked.

    When you’re with the writers, these things are not so obvious till the story’s over.

    When you’re against them, these things only pull you further away from their fiction.

  9. Spammy says:

    Aww nuts, I have to finally make time to play through Episode 5 before too long. No more procrastination.

    1. baseless research says:

      You procrastinate on your hobbies??!

      1. Daimbert says:

        I do, all the time. I have long lists of hobby things that I want to do that I don’t do, because at the time I feel more like reading something or watching a DVD. This is worse for hobbies that I either have to devote a significant amount of time to — and so I wait until I have a block of time available, which can take a while — or hobbies where it takes a few sessions to get to the end result and the end result is what’s fun, not necessarily the intermediate steps.

        Hobbies fit into “the things I do for fun when I have time”. The problem is that there are always so very many things to do for fun when you have the time.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          Reading can kinda be a hobby too, though. And if not, it dang well should be.

          1. Thomas says:

            I procrastinate from reading =D

          2. Daimbert says:

            It seems a bit strange to call something that permeates your entire life a hobby [grin].

      2. Call it the DVR Effect.

        You record this week’s episode of Awesome Show. Cool! I can watch Awesome Show tonight!

        You find you’ve got three or more episodes of Awesome Show that you haven’t watched, and suddenly, it’s almost like work to find the time to view them (and possibly enjoy them, but that’s optional).

        Steam and other services have done this as well. Thanks to sales, the humble bundles, gifts, etc., I’ve got games I’ve never even installed, and their very presence sometimes makes me not play old favorites because I see them in the library, un-run, and figure that I can’t just mess about with things I’m already familiar with if I can’t find time for new things.

        Then I usually play Minecraft for a while.

        1. Daimbert says:

          Yeah, basically once you start to feel that your hobby is an obligation, you’ll procrastinate on it. For my case, I have a long list of games to play so that deciding to go back and play an old game runs into “But shouldn’t you play one of those games you’ve yet to finish?”.

  10. newdarkcloud says:

    Yeah, Crawford to me seemed like a fucking stupid for a few reasons. As Rutskarn said, these guys are the epitome of the “hardcore survivalists” you find on the internet.
    First off, they don’t allow kids. This right here tells me that their was never going to last very long. Yeah, kids take resources to upkeep, but they are also essentially free labor and help maintain a steady population. Until the Industrial Revolution, kids spending all their time being educated was a rarity. They usually were on the farm helping their parents out. If you think kid’s are absolutely useless and a waste of time, you’re an idiot. I don’t think I need to explain how not having kids ruins any chance of a population. We’ll also see other ways it can bite you in the ass later.
    Second, they don’t allow sick or injured people at all. Again, this pointless “drain on resources” bullshit. You’re turning away people that may end up being a big help to you in the future. We are cooperative animals by nature, especially when we have a big, scary “other” like Walkers to unite us against a common threat. It seems wise to rely on this cooperation instead of spurning anyone who MIGHT be a resource drain.
    TL;DR, Crawford was doomed from the word go. The whole thing irritates the hell out of me.

    And the cancer patients. I had liked these guys. I thought Vernon and that group had a pretty interesting story. Then, (Ep4)they pull that stunt, steal the boat we’ll find later, and then leave a note saying they felt bad about it. Honestly, that seemed like a cheap shot from the writers. Though I will give the writers credit in that I probably should have seen this coming.

    And since we’re talking about Molly, I liked her. I didn’t even realize there was a large group that didn’t like her. Though I did, at first, feel like she was a little out-of-place, she grew on me, especially after hearing her backstory (which you may or may not be able to).

    But yeah, Ep 4 and many of its plot threads feel kinda dumb upon reflection.

    1. Also, another thing I hate–HATE–about zombie stories is how an entire society of people can be brought down by one zombie.

      1. Even says:

        This. Something’s really wrong either with your internal security or the people you live with it if they can’t contain a situation like that before the bodycount rises beyond single digits. Not all snowballs have to make an avalanche.

      2. Indy says:

        Not one zombie. The lady in the videos goes on a rampage in the school where all the higher-ups are. When the leader realises he’s got no power left, he hangs himself on the bell, trusting his walker self to attract even more zombies to Crawford.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          I missed that- is it explicitly mentioned or just implied?

          1. Indy says:

            I believe it’s implied. We’ll see the leader hanging from the school bell, which implies crisis. And the woman with the gun seems to be the only cause. If there’s something else, it’s completely beyond the scope of the story.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              Okay, I must’ve missed that the belltower zombie is the leader. I did guess how the infection started, not that it’s that difficult.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          This is the “unintended consequence” I was referring to.

        3. The fact they couldn’t even keep that contained is just sad.

          1. Indy says:

            No argument from me there.

    2. BeardedDork says:

      The no children thing is what annoys me most about Crawford. If you are going for the classic (incorrect interpretation) Darwinian “survival of the fittest”, which they clearly are, but you are not allowing children, you are missing the entire point.

    3. Alex says:

      “First off, they don't allow kids. This right here tells me that their was never going to last very long. Yeah, kids take resources to upkeep, but they are also essentially free labor and help maintain a steady population.”

      Insufficient population growth is not a problem you need to be addressing in the first three months of the apocalypse. They don’t allow kids now, while zombie numbers are at their highest and their position is at its most precarious, but that does not mean they’re going to keep that rule once Crawford is stable.

      1. ehlijen says:

        So that when they do allow kids, they’ll need to wait extra long for the toddlers to grow to a useful age before they can help?

        I understand (but don’t condone) a ban on pregnancies during high crisis time (that takes an otherwise healthy adult out of the defence lines), but actually exiling children is just stupid.

        The waiting to later thing is just a waste of time if the choice is have a child that can do simple tasks not requiring muscle power now or starting to wait 5 for years later.

        Crawford was dumb. The kind of dumb that thinks the ancient spartan child murdering way as depicted in 300 was a good way to run a society.

        1. Shamus says:

          Plus, there MUST be small menial tasks that need to be performed. Sewing things, collecting things, cleaning things. Laundry, dishes, cooking, gathering of burnable furniture, repairing fortifications, repairing clothing. If you’re using one of your gun-wielding badass adults to this stuff then you’re wasting potential. Better to have non-combat jobs done by children and teens, who will eat less.

          I can understand a moratorium on new births for a couple of years, but by banning kids outright they are sabotaging their future.

          If you wait until the “worst” of the zombies are gone, then you’re not going to START breeding until a couple of years from now. That means you won’t have replacement workers for another ten years and you won’t have replacement fighters for 16+. In 16 years your adults are going to be getting old and busted. People Molly’s age (mid 20’s) will be over 40. Your YOUNGEST fighters will be 40, and the people who are 40 now will be in their late 50’s.

          Keep in mind that in an agrarian or hunter-gather society without access to modern medicine, 45 is pretty close to life expectancy. This isn’t even taking account the numbers you’ll lose to zombies, dysentery, random injury, cancer, bandits, etc. In the next 16 years, people WILL die, and without replacements you will not have the numbers to sustain yourself.

          This doesn’t take into account that you don’t want EVERYONE having babies at once. Stagger them out a bit, so the older can care for the younger. If you keep kids around now, they will be just the right age to care for infants when the time comes.

          Tribal societies didn’t unload their “weaklings” when things got tough. Numbers are everything. The Crawford people are idiots.

          1. Shamus says:

            AND ANOTHER THING!

            If you’re a hardcore survivalist then you shouldn’t be aligning yourself with a group run by someone this stupid, and with THIS MUCH absolute power. History is NOT kind to these sorts of things. Those societies survived, sure, but the amount of wasted life was pretty horrific.

            Anyone stupid enough to form a society with these mechanics is going to eventually find themselves used as slave labor or a concubine by the clowns in charge.

              1. Shamus says:

                No, you’ve had enough. Go home and sleep it off.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  I will say thank you for saying what I was thinking. It’s just so many things wrong with “No kids allowed” besides the obviously stupid evil that implies.

            1. BeardedDork says:

              I’ll go ahead and add another thing. If your “society” doesn’t allow anybody who can’t fully pull their own weight than you really shouldn’t have a society in the first place. Gathering entirely self sufficient people into a largish band and staying put will just rapidly exhaust all the resources in the area. These people are not only doomed to failure because they refuse to make any reinforcements, but because they insist on over-utilizing the local area as well.

              Foraging peoples who gather in bands like this are always at least semi-nomadic.

            2. Awetugiw says:

              I wouldn’t worry about the slave labor thing here (although being forced to become a concubine might happen). Crawford is too stupid to make slave labor worthwhile.

              Keeping slaves only works if they can pull their weight. But since they decided to build their society in the middle of a city in stead of some place they could grow food it is impossible for anyone to pull their weight.

              The only thing that makes sense from a `hardcore survivalist’ point of view if you only have limited supplies (as is the case if you are scavenging from a city) is to kill almost everyone who is not you.

              You’ll need a few people that can keep watch over each other while they sleep, but slaves are not very useful for that as they are a bit too likely to kill you while you sleep.

              So don’t worry, you will almost certainly be killed, but not enslaved.

            3. Isy says:

              I don’t think the majority of Crawford’s population were the “hardcore survivalists.” It’s stated that they recruit from buildings they search – so you’re drawn in by people offering food, security, and shelter, and once you’re in it’s “follow our rules or we kill you/throw you out.” Most these people are just scared and vulnerable folks who didn’t have the moral fiber to stand up when it would probably cost them their lives. Easy to condemn, but maybe not so much when you consider what Lee’s group has done to itself. And you’ll notice everyone outside Crawford has been personally wronged by Crawford. These people didn’t exactly get thrown out because of their principles.

              I felt like the point was that the Crawford higher ups weren’t planning for the future. That they’d basically given up on that and were ruthlessly trying to make things as best as possible for themselves, and only themselves. Sure things will be hard later when they’re old, but that’s years away. Who cares? It’s short sighted and tyrannical, but most dictators are.

              The reason I say this is because it’s one of the major themes of the game is giving up vs. fighting on, between holding to yourself and maintaining dignity in the face of death, or between ruthlessly doing what you have to in order to survive or save others. Almost every choice you make in the game is based around those themes and how they combine. Do you let a girl give up and kill herself, and die with some dignity? What if it comes at a personal cost to you (the girl in the street)? Do you feel the same way about it when it’s one of your own, and you didn’t feel it was necessary (Katja)? Will you fight to save Larry when there’s very little hope for him, or will you decide it’s hopeless up and kill him? How about the man with his leg trapped?

              Crawford, I feel, was the culmination of those themes. They were doing what they “had to”, but they’d given up.

    4. Deadyawn says:

      Eh, I think that, given that anyone that who was more likely to die was a significant threat (because of the whole zombie thing) kicking out the sick and the elderly makes sense. It’s not very nice but I wouldn’t call it a tactical error on their part.

    5. Khizan says:

      “No children” would be a problem if they stuck with it forever. It is a problem in the future. In the first few months children are not critical, and the youngest ones are definitely a waste of resources. This is especially true when walkers are at a peak and people are scraping by to barely survive. Remember trying to feed people at the motel? This isn’t a time for kids. I can totally understand a group not wanting to take on the liability of feeding and caring for them now.

      As for the sick, well. We’re having a lot of troubles NOW trying to support all the people who live only through the intervention of modern medicine, because it takes HUGE amounts of resources to keep those people alive. In the case of a significant amount of them, you’re going to end up with an unproductive person who requires an unusual amount of resources, because you can’t exactly expect a diabetic to control blood sugar via diet when you get down to things like “half an apple per day”. And the same goes for other people who require drugs to function normally, because those drugs have just become exceedingly rare.

      Sucks, but that’s how it goes. I can totally see where Crawford is coming from.

    6. Daemian Lucifer says:

      My only problem with the place is the no children rule.The rest kind of make sense.But the no children policy is just bullshit so that we know these guys are EEEEEEEEVUUUULL!

      1. Rodyle says:

        I think this rule is mostly to keep hard-core survivalist Lees from going “hang on a minute… Why don’t I dump the slightly racist redneck, the wounded guy and his wife and the incompetent teenager and go surviving with these guys together with Clem?”

        Since one of the main things about Lee is that he won’t leave her alone, he can’t do that, and thus the plot continues.

    7. X2-Eliah says:

      I don’t really see the issue with the no-children rule, though.
      First off, this is not three+ years after the zombiepocalypse, this is pretty much right past the peak. This is not a time to establish baby-factories and toddler assembly lines, this is the time to hunker down a bit, get some actual food production and prolonged safety going, and to cull the zombie numbers in the surrounding areas. Then, after that all has been done, and there’s a proper supply of food and safety, then everyone can make like rabbits all they want.. But right now, when there’s a walker behind every barricaded door and under every grate, no, kids are *not* a good idea. They are very vulnerable, very liable micro-zombies in potentia, especially with their usual lack of awareness and self-sufficiency. Heck, just consider Duck.

      I get that it is morally preferred to call everything that excludes kids as ‘evil’ and ‘bad’, but logically, I’d say that is *does* make sense as a “first postpocalypse year” rule. With hundreds of roaming zombies that are attracted to every noise, and extremely lacking food and medicine, and low general hygene levels, the absolute last thing you need is a half-starved, constantly wailing toddler that’s less than a year old and cannot even crawl, let alone comprehend what’s dangerous to stick into their mouth. And that toddler *will* attract all the zeds within range of ear-piercing babycrying, which carries a damn long way.

      No kids like Clementine, well, that’s harder to argue against, but who says that Crawfordians ever had those around? Maybe the surviving ones were a childless lot to begin with, and to prevent any newborns at the worst time imaginable, they put up the ‘no kids’ rule, meaning ‘we can not end up with childbirths and babies’.

  11. anaphysik says:

    Wow, the fact that there was no pun there really stuck in Rutskarn’s craw.

    1. Indy says:

      I really think he could’ve come up with a way ford in that situation.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        It’s even worse because he had his pick of all the possible puns he could have used.

  12. krellen says:

    So, I’m a big guy – I’ve weighed between 260 and 300 pounds throughout my adult life (having no scale, I don’t know where in that range I am now). I have been successfully swept by a trained wrestler despite having firmly rooted myself in anticipation to stop him.

    While there may be many problems with Molly’s intro sequence, her knocking Kenny on his ass isn’t one of them. An athletic woman could easily knock a grown man on his ass, especially if he is taken unawares (because who expects to be foot swept?)

    Additional note: of course everyone accuses you of being from Crawford. You are (apparently) all able-bodied and are in Savannah. Crawford did regular sweeps for survivors (that’s those tags), and it is implied that they killed the non-suitable that they found. Thus if you are alive and in Savannah (and not already a refugee), you are most likely a new Crawford recruit.

    1. Chamomile says:

      While I do not doubt the ability of a physically fit woman to sweep a heavier man off of his feet, I do doubt that the move Molly actually used would be capable of doing so without breaking a kneecap or something. I don’t really know how that move works (which makes me wonder if it exists outside of movies at all, but I’m not exactly a master of eleven styles, so I dunno for sure), but it looks like it’d only really be effective as a strike. Kenny didn’t stagger and trip, he just went down, which meant she’d have to have hit the hollow of both his knees? Or else broken something.

      Really, the smart move in Molly’s position is just to crouch and then dive backwards. He’s unlikely to hit you with the gun if you’re crashing into his legs, and the weight difference isn’t nearly big enough to stop him from tumbling over if you throw your entire weight into his legs. Most importantly, a tackle is easy to get right. Flashy sweeps are fine and dandy in a demo where you can rehearse or if you’re like a seventh dan master, but for a real person in the real world, go with something that you can rely on working every single time, not something that looks badass. Failing the tackle, just kick straight back, aim for the groin, and then get up and orient yourself before he can recover.

      1. Steve C says:

        It’s Kenny. He’s fucking useless. He likes to get into fights and loses them all, typically from one punch. Clementine could beat him up. The only reason why he hasn’t died yet is because there would be too many “OMG you killed Kenny!” jokes.

        1. Steve C says:

          I just freeze framed this Ep at 8:23 and Kenny drops you on purpose.

      2. supflidowg says:

        A tackle may sound good but, you put yourself into a weak position and are tangled up with your opponent, while a sweep kick and is actually very effective and can ground any opponent no matter the weight but, doing it blind (without looking) can vary the effectiveness since the optimum impact point for the sweep is to the heel with the lowest part of your leg above the ankle (a heavy opponent and striking with the foot can break your ankle.) Also Kenny was walking, and the act of walking severely disrupts your balance making it even easier to send him tumbling.

        1. Octapode says:

          A sweep like that needs the timing to be exactly right to have a decent effect. If he didn’t have enough weight on it, then he would just kind of stumble and might fall depending on how well he hops around, if he has got his foot down then she would be kicking him in the leg, which could work, but given how much smaller she is probably wouldn’t, or if you it timed perfectly he goes down like a sack of potatoes. This is pretty hard to get right even when paying attention to someone, but blind like this? No chance.

          I think it would look better if she span around, pushed his gun away from herself and then stepped in and threw him down (either by tackling him or some sort of throw, personally I would go for a repulse monkey throw because that is what I know how to do, but whatever works). The overall result would be the same, but it would look less silly.

  13. I-Spy says:

    Chuck reminds me of the consequences Star Trek had to go through when they wrote their season cliffhangers. They only wrote half of the two-parter when they finished shooting, so they had to tie up loose ends from the first part months after they wrote said episode.

    I don’t know if they changed writers between episodes, or any of the “behind the scenes” stuff, but I think Chuck was a character someone put in, only to have someone else have no clue what to do with him. So, they gave him a moment of sacrifice and promptly dropped him off the edge of the plot, with the small sewer scene simply cementing his fate.

  14. Considering Molly’s backstory, it kinda makes sense why she’s so fit and capable too.

  15. LunaticFringe says:

    Oh no, Rutskarn has been infected! To protect the rest of the Spoiler Warning crew, your choices are as follows:

    1. Tell Shamus to shoot Rutskarn. You’ll have to convince him however since Rutskarn looks like a little John Carmack.
    2. Allow Josh to reverse-pickpocket explosives into Rutskarn’s pants- For the lolz.
    3. Let Chris take him out whichever way he pleases as revenge for the constant punning.
    4. Ship Rutskarn over to Digital Mumbles to be eaten. Cause recycling.

  16. KremlinLaptop says:

    I really loved how all the characters reacted to the stench of the dead dog but nothing is made of the MASSIVE WALL OF ROTTING HUMAN CORPSES.

    Doesn’t that wall go all around the outer most perimeter of Crawford? The stench in all of Savannah would be unbearable. That pile of flesh is going to act like a big compost heap. The bodies at the bottom of the pile would be getting processed the fastest into noxious slush by bacteria, the decomposition itself would generate a lot of heat that would be rising form those piles as the meat spoils further, and everywhere flies could lay their eggs there would millions upon millions of maggots doing their part. Also since this is the Southern US I’m guessing the temperatures would also do their part.

    That’s not even getting to the fact what an immense disease vector that wall would be. That noxious slush? Would probably be getting everywhere. Rainwater would get it into the drainage systems, washing down along the streets, into the river, etc. At the best of times you’d just constantly have the runs, but people would be dying of a lot more than just the zombie-infection. Freshwater sources in a city without a working water system are pretty rare so I’m also left wondering how the citizens of Crawford were getting their water?

    Because it sure as hell isn’t that river. Not with that big crazy wall of rotting humans seeping decaying-human-juice into it.

    (This is seriously the only thing that REALLY bugged me about TWD. That god damn nonsense wall. Why the hell would these supposed hardcore survivalists build themselves into a deathtrap?)

    1. Deadyawn says:

      Stop it would you, you’re making me hungry.

    2. Katesickle says:

      Much like walkers, smell particles and bacteria travel at the speed of plot.

  17. Ira says:

    You know, I have to agree with the idea that something like TWD minus puzzles – and reduced to only meaningful character choices – would not be a game. That would be interactive fiction. There’s nothing wrong with interaction fiction and it should probably get more respect, so I’d welcome some high-profile additions to it. We need more IF!

    Of course, I would also argue that TWD is only on the borderline of being a game as it is. It’s currently in that grey area in between games and IF, and from watching this season I’ve gotten the impression that it really wants to be IF anyway.

    1. Tom says:

      I think that’s getting into a real grey area; above a certain level of branching and chaotic, emergent repercussions, the conversation system and character development could themselves probably qualify as puzzle material and thus earn the “game” label. But like you said, IF is a perfectly respectable genre anyway, including its strictly “non-game” entries.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      A game is a series of rule people can interact with.
      A video game is a game in the form of a program.

      A game with just the interactive fiction aspects of TWD is a game nonetheless.

      1. Ira says:

        Does that mean that IF is a game medium? Or visual novels? I’m inclined to think that a game is in some sense a test or a challenge.

        1. krellen says:

          I consider Dear Esther to be a video game, and it has no challenge. In fact, I find the idea of “challenge” being part of the definition of a game to be abhorrent. I rarely play games to be challenged.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          Yes, they are also games and fit the definition. I stand by that. There is no definition that is wide enough to include games like Tetris and Gears of War, yet narrow enough to exclude games like Interactive Fiction.

          1. Thomas says:

            An interactive creative work =D

            That’s a cheating definition because interactive and creative are loaded terms, but interactivity covers all things where you have an input and something outputs as a result, and the creative work (as in ‘made primarily as a form of creative expression’ excludes stuff like Microsoft Word. Covers both Dear Esther and Tetris

            On the other hand, despite cheating, I like the definition because it’s something most people would be able to understand and point at even if the actual rules are loose

            1. Thomas says:

              *Hmmm I’m not sure if I’d define interactive as ‘requires input and gives output based on that’ or ‘allows input and gives output based on that’

              And you could tidy up ‘creative work’ to ‘work without a _primary_ practical usage’ maybe but I think I prefer the former. The weakness is games like hide and seek or tag, but someone somewhere (possibly multiple people) had to invent those games which would make them a creative work where we’ve forgotten the creator

            2. newdarkcloud says:

              Exactly. The definition of a “game” has to be suitably wide. There’s just no other way to accommodate the sheer volume and variety of material that is under that label.

              1. Ira says:

                I suppose I see ‘interactive creative work’ or anything like that as being simultaneously so broad as to be meaningless and too restrictive. I firstly don’t think games need to be creative. All games of soccer are games, even though there’s nothing creative about playing soccer. I also see it as too broad; by that definition, a production of Peter Pan is a game, since audience interaction is required at one point. Off the top of my head, my feeling is that a game is a rules-based system designed to challenge or test some skill in an entertaining way. This is broad enough to include everything from Cluedo to Poker to soccer to Tetris to Modern Warfare 2, but narrow enough to exclude interactive art.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  To be clear, my definition of a “interactive rule set” still is the one I’m going off of.

                  The problem with that definition is that it doesn’t really capture all the reasons people play games well. People play video games for more reasons that just to test their skill, like in Krellen’s case for example.

                2. Thomas says:

                  EDITED: Had my typical thing going on here but changed my mind. The only thing I’m going to keep is that the ‘challenge, skill’ bit is a bit silly. As said above, challenge is only one of 8ish reasons we play games and for many people isn’t one of the reasons that they find at all interesting. So when the fun of Saints Row is in the exploring and expression it’s not a good definition to pin it down to the skill stuff.

                  The rest though, I think we both basically mean the same thing when you look at it.

                  If we allow both Minecraft and the Sims to be games. So no objective is what I’m getting at here. Then the system of rules is entirely in the created world. Press ‘x’, ‘y’ happens. Dig here, block comes out. Kiss this sim, conversations work like this etc.

                  So what we’re saying is we have defined output for defined input. Which is my definition of interaction. ‘System of rules’ definitely includes stuff like The Path and Dear Esther because they’ve got strict rules about how their game world operates. Go here and y will happen. You can’t do x but you can do z. You can run but you can’t jump.

                  And in the same way ‘entertainment’ isn’t something I like because games can be engaging or thought provoking or interesting without being entertaining. Crime and Punishment isn’t a very entertaining book. But then this is also what I mean by a creative work, it’s been designed to create emotion (happy,sad whatever) in people as it’s primary function.

                  A football game is most definitely a creative work. The designers have agonised over button mappings, designed systems of moves, how the players interact, what level of control you have over each piece, how time works, what players look like, what the menu looks like. They’ve taken a real life game and then reinterpreted into a fictional 3-d videogame representation which is impressive and creative.

                  (Apart from anything else think about this, football lasts 90 minutes, FiFa matches normally last 20 minutes, yet FIFA has been designed so that the score line will be a normal football score (between the right people and the right setting) instead of 0-0 90% of the time like it would be if a real football match was 20 minutes. They have fundamentally changed the nature of the game in a creative manner)

                  Also I think inclusive is better than exclusive. I would rather a meaningless definition than a tight one because the question ‘is it a game?’ is boring and pointless. We should question ‘Is it fun? is it effective? Is it meaningful? Does this gameplay system work? etc. ‘Is it a game? leads down to the path of modern art where you have people squabbling over an ultimately semantic definition and never asking ‘is this useful?’

                  If we have a definition of game that includes all interactive medium then we can move past the question and ask better ones. Because ultimately even if something isn’t a game, so what? That has no affect on whats before you. Call it a game and judge the thing on what it is instead of what its named

                  1. Ira says:

                    I’ll have another look at this later, but I’d like to make clear first: by ‘football game’, I meant an actual football game, in the real world. Not a video game.

                    (Well, actually I said soccer, but whatever.)

                    Generally, I view video games as being on the same continuum as sports, board games, and so on: basically, video games are games.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And you decided to cut in that room anyway.

  19. Vegedus says:

    Video games shouldn’t have to hold up on over repeated viewings, as is the case with every other medium. The first priority of any artistic medium is the experience. Sacrificing that to make sure everything makes sense the third time you watch it, at the point where you’re distanced enough that you can nitpick and apply fridge logic to everything, is a pretty bad trade-off.

    1. Tom says:

      They shouldn’t have to, but some of the really masterful ones, the labours of love, make an effort to stand multiple playthroughs anyway.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I liked molly.And her skills make perfect sense.Who other would be capable to survive the apocalypse on their own,other than someone fit and skilled in all crazy kind of shit?Im surprised that you dont find more survivors like her actually.

    1. krellen says:

      Part of the skillset that creates Mollies involves “avoiding large groups of people”, that’s why you haven’t encountered any others.

      1. BeardedDork says:

        That really is the best technique for somebody like her, she should stick with it.

        1. Isy says:

          Really, Chuck, Molly, and Omid and Christa were doing perfectly fine until we blundered into them.

          1. Steve C says:

            Chuck died because he didn’t have a plan. He wanted to prove his point that you’re dead without a plan.

    2. Ithilanor says:

      Note: I haven’t played the game, I’ve just watched it on here.

      Molly, to me, seems rather…forced. Regardless of whether or not her skills and character make sense when we hear more later, at first she doesn’t quite fit the mood and setting. Chris mentions that the writers were trying to use her to lighten up this episode and I think they went a bit far – this snarky, parkour-using, insanely skilled chick doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the characters.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ah,the sewer level.Whenever that comes up,I get reminded of the last ninja 2.Man,that game was tough.And really evil.

  22. What annoyed me about the sewer level was a really badly-written part where you can’t go back the way you came, because a single zombie is standing there now.

    He doesn’t know you’re there. You have an ice-pick. But if you go back, Lee just stupidly gets eaten and puts up no resistance whatsoever. And the solution is to have Lee walk TOWARD the screen, which IIRC has never been required or encouraged up to that point.

    And when you go around, the walker is suddenly oblivious to you and not a threat.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Truth be told, I died there in the exact same way that you described. Yeah, it’s crap.

  23. Isy says:

    I think the reason Molly seems so out of place is that everyone we’ve met so far has been essentially useless. Of our group, the most helpful skills we’ve had were a vet, who is desperately using her basic knowledge of first aid because she’s not really a doctor, and an ex-military technician whose main contribution is teaching people how to shoot. Beyond that we have a history professor (useless), a fisherman without a boat (useless), an IT guy (useless), a reporter (useless, beyond being a crack shot), a cranky old guy (actively detrimental), a hobo (uhh), and three kids (yes, Ben counts as a kid, I’ve been through highschool and at the end of it you do not know how to do anything).

    The physics on Molly aren’t really going to work in real life, but this game is already very stylized. Beyond that, she’s what, a rock climber? An athlete who got some training in fighting? Not really so unbelievable.

  24. Thomas says:

    The bit with Molly at the start where you’re approaching her at the stall, I walked forward until she disappeared but all the sides of the stand were still visible, went away and had my dinner came back, walked another couple of steps forward and suddenly she’d snuck around and was behind me =D

    Also I was annoyed at her ninja-zombie training so I kept reloading until I won the fight. I like it that the games personal enough to make me want to do pointless things like that. In a meta sense

  25. RTBones says:

    My take on Molly was that she was that pre-apocalypse, she had had some mountaineering/rock climbing training. She’s just adapted her skill set to survive. Its not completely off the wall (no pun intended) as this French Spiderman impersonator shows.

  26. Talby says:

    Clementine has the inexplicable ability to teleport behind Lee just as he’s about to do something morally questionable.

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