Why are the dead more diverse than the living?

Or alternatively, why The Walking Dead video game is awesome.

So I’ll be quite honest: The Walking Dead game by Telltale was not just one of my favorite video games of 2012, but maybe one of my favorite videogames ever. Next to that is probably Persona, Silent Hill 3, and a few other indie games – you know, for all of that hipster cred. But regardless, I personally feel as though TWD did something for me that many other videogames haven’t done in quite some time – it gave me clear-cut, focused minority characters who weren’t stereotypical or secondary. It even let some of the white characters be bigots while also making them complex and multi-faceted. When playing it, I felt as though I was dealing with actual people. People who, even if they didn’t have to deal with surprise! zombie apocalypse probably still would’ve screwed themselves over in life some other way because that’s just how things go sometimes. It was amazing.

And while I get that plenty will wonder why do I care that some of them were minorities – well, look at a videogame. Any videogame. You probably feel as though you can put yourselves into the characters shoes right? Well, I don’t always feel that way. Even if the story has no definable ‘hero’ the protagonist is a white dude who drives the story line and saves/kills/punches/etc his way out of any situation. And to be honest, that gets boring for me sometimes. I’m clearly not the target audience, and on the rare occasion there’s a minority character, at some point we will be reminded that they are [insert race here]. Again, not really a problem, but also not original.

The Walking Dead game gave me something that I’d hadn’t seen in a while, and unashamedly had a variety of characters and races (though I do kind of wish there had been another East Asian character besides the one who was already part of the canon) in an unique and interesting way. I saw heroes, villains, and cowards of all races. It was an interesting sight to be quite honest. Plus all of the women (and girls, can’t forget Clementine) were awesome.

Overall, this game had elements that I hope to see in future games, and a complex story to boot. I hope that in other video game genres – fantasy, realism, sci fi, etc. that we get to see more characters who aren’t stereotyped or perfect, clearly idealized minority characters. Zombie fiction has always been about the failures of the living, and its both awesome (and sad in some ways) that a game about the dead has more complex characters than many other games I’ve seen.

And if you haven’t seen the game yet, feel free to watch this Let’s Play by Two Best Friends Play:


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