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It’s Not Just the Zombies That are Braindead:
The Walking Dead Video Game

2,556 words

Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an episodic video game series boasting an original, interactive story that takes place in the same universe as the show and comic. There are four seasons of five episodes each, emphasizing narrative over game play. The first season was met with positive reviews and industry awards, and sold several million copies (many more watched it on YouTube). I found it to be less onion-skinned than expected, and its writing frequently insulting. Nevertheless, the company snagged popular tie-ins with mega franchises like Batman and Game of Thrones on the strengths of this first season.

Despite its often gratuitous profanity, violence, and gore, the zombie genre as it exists today can be seen as nothing more than a politically correct replacement of the Western. The sparse living conditions and constant threat of bandits and zombies parodies the difficulty of life on the frontier. Being twice removed from history, its cast needn’t be predominantly white, and thereby needn’t remind modern audiences that Europeans sacrificed so much to settle the land they now occupy. The “racist” depictions of Indian savages are swapped for the undead to avoid offending modern attitudes toward protected classes. Thus, the zombie genre subverts the Western’s dramatic formula with modern liberal values, and Telltale’s The Walking Dead is no exception.

The first season focuses primarily on the relationship between Lee, a black college professor convicted of murdering a man he caught in bed with his wife, and Clementine, an eight-year-old light-skinned black girl whose parents are away on vacation. Lee taught history, so we can assume it was probably an Afrocentric course titled something like “Wakanda Forever.” For her part, Clementine looks more like a Latino or Asian girl than a black one. Their destinies intertwine the day of the zombie outbreak when the cop car transporting Lee to prison hits a “walker” and veers off to the side of the road. Lee frees himself from the wreckage and escapes some walkers into Clementine’s backyard, where she’s hiding in her treehouse from the zombified babysitter.

Virtually all of the villains and characters with abrasive or annoying personalities are white, while the virtuous or amicable characters are mostly non-white. Lee, Glenn (an Asian man), Omid (a Persian man), and Christa (a black woman) are all generally cool and collected. It’s the white characters who tend to be at one another’s throats. The game takes place in Georgia, which is around sixty percent white and thirty percent black, so this is one case where more diversity could make sense, but then there’d probably be some black villains – and we can’t have negative portrayals of black people, can we?

White people suck

Without getting caught up in plot details, let’s summarize most of the white cast. Lily and her father Larry are (Jewish?) control freaks who rub all the other characters the wrong way. Lily has assumed control of the group, thus emasculating all of the men, but is constantly complaining. Larry always has a sour look on his face and verbally attacks Lee, even referring to him as “boy.” Carley, an attractive white woman, takes a shining to Lee despite knowing he’s a murderer. She tells him his past doesn’t matter in the post-apocalypse and that his willingness to murder might even come in handy (thankfully, the game stops short of showing them kiss).

Kenny and Lee are fast friends, but after Ken’s wife Katjaa and his son perish, he develops a drinking problem and becomes an asshole. At one point, he does nothing while a white woman is chased and eaten by zombies, even though he was armed with a rifle and could have saved her life. Kenny Jr., a wide-eyed boy, and Ben, a sullen highschool student, are worthless characters who seem intentionally annoying. Neither does anything important other than dying for some empty melodrama, with most of their time spent acting like a retard or breaking promises, respectively. Katjaa is only notable for being one of the few blameless white characters. In contrast, we’ve got Glenn, an Asian fellow who wants to save a white woman he can hear crying inside a motel room surrounded by zombies.

In episode four, Lee runs into Molly, a risible female power fantasy who can take care of herself, thank you very much. Despite her wiry frame, she uses a pickaxe to climb the sides of buildings like she’s Spider-Man and effortlessly lifts Lee up onto rooftops like she’s the Hulk. Later, we learn that she was exchanging sex with a resident doctor for medication for her sister – who’s presumably dead, as we never meet her – so she’s not quite as empowered as she lets on. We also meet Vernon, an elderly (Jewish?) doctor who’s caring for an interracial group of old cancer patients in a fallout shelter. He and his distrustful assistant Brie, an overweight white woman, agree to help the group procure supplies to fix a boat. After Brie dies, Vernon becomes a turncoat and steals the group’s boat, on which they had pinned their hopes for survival.

White people be crazy

Now for the villains. In episode two, we meet the adult St. John brothers and their mother, who seem to be normal, rural, white Southerners living at their pastoral dairy farm. While out dislodging zombies from their electric fence, Mark is injured by some bandits attacking the farm. Lee and one of the St. Johns go out looking for the bandits, and the latter murders an innocent white woman because she was about to reveal something about him. Meanwhile, the St. Johns were supposed to be treating Mark’s injury, but instead they chop off his legs and serve them for dinner. There’s even a print of Judith beheading Holofernes upstairs, suggesting they’ve always been cannibals. When their ploy is inevitably discovered, they take the group hostage, planning to kill all but one – who will be kept sedated as they’re slowly consumed – but our heroes escape.

White people resorting to cannibalism seems to be a common motif in zombie fiction as it flips the genre’s premise on its head. Actual cases of European cannibalism occurring during widespread famines, such as the Irish potato famine, are rare. One thing you probably won’t see in zombie fiction is black cannibalism, despite well-documented contemporary cases in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Congo, South Africa, South Sudan, and so on, because that would be deemed racist. In any event, the episode’s twist can be seen from a mile away.

In episode three, we learn that the camp’s medical supplies have been going missing, and Lee is put in charge of solving the mystery. Someone in the camp has been extorted by the bandits who attacked the St. Johns’ dairy farm. When Lee confiscates the latest drop, the bandits break in and take hostages. There’s at least one black man in their posse, but the rest appear to be white, including their leader, whose piercing blue eyes are seen under his balaclava. The standoff ends with all of the bandits shot and killed, but with the camp’s defenses overrun by zombies, our heroes must go on the road. At this point, Lily loses her shit and murders Carley (or Doug), even though they were innocent. We later learn it was worthless Ben who had been extorted.

Drug addiction in a post-apocalyptic world may be useful for realistic character motivation, but it’s rather disrespectful given the ongoing opioid epidemic in America that is on course to cost more American lives than the Second World War did. The predominantly white victims of the Jewish Sackler family’s multibillion dollar scheme are remarkably similar to those of China’s “lost century,” when the Jew David Sassoon began the opium trade there (which was subsequently blamed on the British). The game doesn’t spend any time humanizing the drug-addicted men in the bandit gang, because then we might feel sympathy for them.

Reaching Savannah in episode four, Lee and the remainder of the cast learn that a group of survivors called the Crawfords have fortified an area of town. The perimeter is lined with zombies impaled on sharpened poles in the manner of Vlad Țepeș, and we’re told they live according to “survival of the fittest.” The episode’s writer, Gary Whitta, gets in as many Nazi and anti-white references as he reasonably can: Crawford is said to weed out vulnerabilities by expelling or killing the young, the old, and the infirm, reasoning that they’d drag down “their little master race,” with one character highlighting how unchristian it is of them. Inside the compound, we find that everyone has become a walker, but they clearly deserved it, because they’ve hung a Confederate flag and signs saying “looters will be shot on sight.” Later, Lee finds video recordings of a white doctor pressuring a white woman into having an abortion (of Ob-Gyns willing to perform abortions, Jewish doctors are by far the likeliest) and Molly’s secret.

In the final episode, Clementine has been abducted by “the stranger,” a deranged white man who’s been grooming her over her two-way radio. He’s been eavesdropping on everything Lee (the player) has done and intends to punish him for it, because Lee’s group ransacked his seemingly abandoned car for supplies in episode two. The scenario acts as a gimmick to bring all of the player’s decisions up to that point back to the surface in what’s supposed to be a “wow” moment, but it’s too far-fetched and falls flat. The premise is made even more ridiculous because Clementine refused to steal from the man’s car, and the player, as Lee, may have joined her protest!

Over the course of the first season, several white men pull Lee aside to suggest he is incapable of taking proper care of Clementine, and either offer to take her off his hands, sternly warn him that he’d better take good care of her, or give him some unwanted advice. Lee rebuffs them every time, because it would be uncharacteristic for a single black man like him to abandon a child or need parental advice, right? The season culminates with the stranger’s attempt to adopt Clementine, but Lee attacks him and then Clementine shoots him, suggesting that black men make better guardians than white ones. This is ironic, given that studies report that between forty and sixty percent of African-American girls are sexually assaulted before age eighteen, and many are likely the victim of their mothers’ boyfriends.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days

400 Days bridges the gap between seasons one and two, with five mini-episodes ranging between ten and twenty minutes in length. Each one introduces a new character, and they often contain anti-white underpinnings. At the end, a black woman named Tavia approaches a camp where most of the new characters ended up to encourage them to join her group, some of whom reappear in season two.

Russell’s a black high school graduate who bravely withdrew from a group that had been killing other survivors for their stuff. He crosses paths with Nate, an assholish white guy who asks him if there’s any other “bros wearing hoodies” that he should know about (a reference to the racially divisive Trayvon Martin case). Pulling up to a gas station, someone begins firing upon them, and Nate convinces Russell to storm it with him. They hold an old white man at gunpoint, who calls Russell a “spook” and accuses Nate of injuring his wife in an earlier raid. Russell decides that Nate is a bad card and leaves, only to hear Nate executing them in cold blood. Should we feel bad? The old man did use a racial epithet.

Bonnie is a white woman recovering from a drug addiction, and she’s in a budding romance with an older white man named Leland. He’s married, but hypocritically scolds his wife Dee for blaspheming God. When the group gets chased over a stolen backpack and is separated, Bonnie confuses Dee for one of their pursuers and brains her. Dee reveals she is resentful of Bonnie’s relationship with her husband, but dies from her injury, and then Bonnie and Leland make their escape.

Vince is an Asian guy convicted of murder who’s on a bus headed for prison, mirroring Lee’s predicament as one of the few flawed minorities. He’s chained at the ankle to a white guy who stole millions in a pyramid scheme, as well as a white (Hispanic?) guy who’s a statutory rapist. When a black criminal strangles another on the opposite aisle, the bumbling white guard blows the aggressor’s head off with a shotgun. The strangled prisoner turns into a zombie and kills the cop, forcing the others to escape. Vince has to blow off the foot of one of the two white prisoners to unravel the chain, in what is supposed to be some sort of moral quandary – but we just met these guys. For once, we’ve got three negative portrayals of non-whites, but they’re balanced out by three flawed white men in the same scene.

Off to a bad start

Much of season one’s anti-white propaganda is likely the work of co-writer and co-director Jacob Rodkin (whose name suggests Russian-Jewish heritage). He left the company before the second season, but his involvement explains why Kenny’s wife is Russian (she’s supposedly Belgian, but whatever), and the numerous references to the number six, which is a magical number to Jews: Lee was a college prof for six years; Larry has sixty cents in his pocket, which comes in handy; Lee is caught unawares that Clementine’s ninth birthday took place six days earlier; Russell thinks he has sixty miles left to walk; and Nate asks Russell if he’d rate the girl in his former group a strong six.

Our decisions make little impact on the plot, which is the death knell of interactive fiction. At the end of the first episode, we must choose between saving Carley or a white guy named Doug, but as mentioned, whoever we save is inevitably killed by Lily in episode three. The player’s pick could’ve been the victim of the cannibals in the second episode (thereby giving the earlier decision a shocking payoff), but that would require twice as much work. Instead, the writers introduce a new character in that episode who gets eaten, and there’s no way to save him. This sets a standard that follows in later seasons, where any character who can die as a result of your decisions will die sooner or later, presumably to save production time and money.

Putting aside the anti-white crap, season one is marred by obnoxious writing. Carley used to be a reporter for the local television station, so you’d assume she’s of average intelligence, right? Well, given the state of the media, maybe not. She’s shown to be proficient with a nine millimeter pistol, yet she’s stumped by a “broken” radio that just needs some batteries! When Lee points this out, she asks him to find some, as she “wouldn’t know where to start” (they can be found on a nearby shelf at eye level). It’s just a small detail contrived to give the player something extra to do, but it exemplifies the writers’ willingness to insult our intelligence, which they do habitually. Given all of the above, it’s a mystery how this first season was so well received by fans and critics.

8 Comments

  1. rujv
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  2. Gnome Chompsky
    Posted May 24, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like the whole game is on rails (and mainly what used to be called ‘cut scenes, as in boring digitised video or CG), like a line, so the only thing is to play along with the plot.

    Boring.

    D2 on the Dreamcast was a little similar, perhaps the model (zombie
    shooting, shelters, etc), was an inspiration.

    It was an interesting game to finish, partly on rails, but free-roaming elsewhere. Praised for that at the time.

    Far from perfect, but one of the many odd classics on the Dreamcast.

    I recommend it to the writer of this artictle.

    From the description, it sounds like the only deviation from the script is for the player character to die.

    I like the wayi you are describing it as episodes of a TV drama (also how it`s presented, it seems). Not the first of its type, but nobody who likes anything much wants to be around this kind of nonsense..

    Or those around whom one should never relax.

    D2 was worth playing through, although in part of it, shooting the space-vegetable infested people gets a little dull, and it gets constricted, the range of play becomes narrower (i.e., more on rails).

    • Hugo Adrian
      Posted May 24, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      It sounds like the whole game is on rails (and mainly what used to be called ‘cut scenes, as in boring digitised video or CG), like a line, so the only thing is to play along with the plot.

      Boring.

      Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of them either but they do provide excellent fodder for reviews since they’re more story-heavy than many other types of games, and the Quantic Dream games are just funny to me. I plan to review the full series of Walking Dead games, as I’m pretty sure the company will sort out its bankruptcy and they’ll be back on all the digital storefronts (for the time being it seems only the console versions are available). But I have some analyses lined up too which I think you’ll like.

      D2 on the Dreamcast was a little similar, perhaps the model (zombie
      shooting, shelters, etc), was an inspiration.

      It was an interesting game to finish, partly on rails, but free-roaming elsewhere. Praised for that at the time.

      Far from perfect, but one of the many odd classics on the Dreamcast.

      I’ve been meaning to get around to playing D2 and some of Kenji Eno’s other games, in fact I watched a video of the original D not too long ago out of curiosity. I have a Dreamcast that would need to be dusted off, but not the game. I just haven’t had the time. I’ll definitely check it out someday. Eno was one of the more interesting game designers from Japan, and that’s saying a lot, it’s a shame he died so young.

      regarding cannibalism in africa, within the last year I saw a youtube vid of some african guy cooking up some food in a large pot, said food including a human head and arms….no kidding

      I think I know which case you’re referring to, it got spread around on 4chan. As they say, political correctness is a war on noticing.

      New favorite article title.

      Thanks!

      • Gnome Chompsky
        Posted May 29, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Thanks to you, too, Hugo.

        I never tried D, wasn’t on the Dreamcast, but my impression from reading is that it is more of an interactive novel than a game.

        The Japanese title means The Dining Table of D, as you likely know.

        I read about the ‘New Golden Age of TV’, but am in a TV-free period (not my first, didn’t like most of it, even as a small child).

        When on holidays, though, I watch a lot.

        Bizarre fantasy and fifth-rate SF. Police procedurals with the formula: genius Jewish forensics specialist or analyst surrounded by competent white, black, and east Asian women.

        On the street, one finds the older white cop with a, usually black sidekick, inevitably more perceptive.

        This may reach its apotheosis in the USA version of Sherlock Holmes, where Watson is not a doctor, but a uniformed cop, and black, and tends to have the useful insights.

        Funny, but it seems to be a kind of formula.

        It is a little old and degenerate as hell, and irritatingly arch, but the only one I really liked was Desperate Housewives.

        I am aware that you are not writing about the TV show (which I’ve never seen, and has the strange conceit of being a world without zombie fiction, mainly, I would guess, as a means to avoid possible civil lawsuits, since Jews would be very likely to try to profit by such in the reverse situation, i.e. Romero having copied the Jewish creators of The Walking Dead, but about a spun-off game.

        I look forward to more.

        Seriously, though, what does happen in the interactive movie(s) Walking Dead if the player strays from the plot? Is it even possible?

        Just a point of curiosity, I have enough interesting unfinished games to last me to, at least, dotage, as D2, some I want to play again (for D2, mainly because I never found the first shotgun the first time around, but also to admire the scenery again).

        • Hugo Adrian
          Posted May 29, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          I am aware that you are not writing about the TV show (which I’ve never seen, and has the strange conceit of being a world without zombie fiction, mainly, I would guess, as a means to avoid possible civil lawsuits, since Jews would be very likely to try to profit by such in the reverse situation, i.e. Romero having copied the Jewish creators of The Walking Dead, but about a spun-off game.

          Yeah, that’s a weird quirk of the series, but I think it’s a generic enough term that there’s no risk of a lawsuit. I think they did that because there’s so much zombie stuff out there now, and they wanted to have something unique that fans could latch onto besides “zombie”. Japanese anime does the same thing with “mecha”, almost every show tries to come up with a different name for their giant robots to add some flavor.

          Seriously, though, what does happen in the interactive movie(s) Walking Dead if the player strays from the plot? Is it even possible?

          You really can’t stray from what you’re supposed to do. If you make the wrong decision or fail a prompt in the action sequences you will usually die, and in the calm sections where you cannot die the characters will start repeating their conversations until you realize you need to go do X to progress. It’s like the usual point and click adventure games where you might need to find and use an item. However, the puzzles are nowhere near as complex or unclear as the old adventure games, and for the most part they’re presented only one at a time, so it is usually pretty obvious what you need to do.

          • Gnome Chompsky
            Posted May 30, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Thank you very much for the reply, roughly as I expected, but informative.

            However, from my reading and viewing, I wouldn’t compare the distance between the Walking, Living, and just plain Dead, with that between, say, Gundam, Macross, and Evangelion. They are all very different from each other. The latter has several copies, but they aren’t much good.

            That hack English director Boyle did an interesting variation on Romero’s zombie mythos in 28 Days Later, and its sequel, but really, the only interesting points were the ability of the zombies to move quickly, and the origin story (animal liberationalists trying to release lab animals). Otherwise, standard Romero-line zombie-fare.

            The multiple endings on the rental DVD, from memory, were all pretty bad, all centred on a sub-Saharan African woman who had survived.

            I don’t know if an English-language version was ever released, but 2004’s Cutie Honey, from the comic by Nagai Gou (who had multiple films released in 2004, 05). Annou as Evangelion, it is just fun, also touching in parts, well worth watching if you have not.

            The movie he made between is atrocious, I forget the title right now, but it is basically lolicon, and foreshadowed in the Evanelgion TV series.

            Many others were complaining about it (title was Pop something, but I forget the exact title.

            Although, I cannot say that the depictions are not realistic, they were and are.

            One may still see high-school girls obviously going to an assignation, they are often obvious, wearing heavy make-up and irregular uniforms.

            That is why he made the Cutie Honey movie so well, his immediately prior effort was atrocious.
            However, 2004’s Cutie Honey is the best superhero movIe I have seen in this or the last decade.

  3. Posted May 24, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    regarding cannibalism in africa, within the last year I saw a youtube vid of some african guy cooking up some food in a large pot, said food including a human head and arms….no kidding

  4. Owlspotted
    Posted May 23, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    New favorite article title.

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