I am at peace.
I have played my part; I’ve done all I could do… for Clementine. Through death, betrayal, murder, hunger, cold. Through a living hell I have kept Clem safe. Even in death I did what a parent should do, I made sure Clem will remember, remember to survive, to do whatever it takes to live.
I was a parent.
I did not leave Clem unprepared to face life without me, or instilled cowardliness in her soul. I left her stronger, more able to survive in the world she is growing up in. By guiding Clementine to shoot me, I gave her the one thing she will never forget: she has got what it takes to survive. I could let go of her knowing she will value her own survival because it cost my life. My death was a parting gift; it will instruct her, keep her safe and guide her when she has to make tough decisions.
My death was a gain, for Clementine.
In the end, episode five wasn’t so much about how Telltale could succeed in playing out my accumulated player choices of the previous four episodes, or how well the studio could explain the antagonist’s kidnapping of Clementine. For me, episode five was about me and Clementine, about the end of our journey. Nothing else really mattered. Telltale could have done everything wrong with the final episode, as long as they allowed me to have a profound effect on Clementine’s continued journey, which they did.
Never in the history of video games has a character elicited such a heartfelt response from the global gaming community as Clementine has done. Telltale’s twitter feed was flooded with tweets from a variety of players, all with one thing in common: we would do anything for Clementine.
So for me, I need say nothing more about the specific details of episode five, it was a perfect ending to the most extraordinary journey I have ever had in a video game. I will rather talk about the effect the series has had on the broader gaming community.
The Walking Dead will resonate in our hearts and minds for a very long time. It made an imprint on our souls and showed us that a video game can be a catalyst for reflection, personal confrontation and above all else, for feeling.
In 2012 we’ve seen some of the best AAA titles in decades released, yet conversations about Clementine and the effect The Walking Dead series has had on players has dominated the social media landscape. The series redefined what 21st century gamers desperately crave for – not better physics, mind blowing graphics, bigger guns and more action.
We want a gaming experience to connect to us on a personal level, to challenge us and give us choices that force us to seek deep within ourselves for those parts we dare not show in real life. We want a mirror; we want a game to help reflect emotions we are too scared to show casually, and we want to share our experience with others, gamers and non-gamers alike.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of these tweets.
HolyHeadshot: "Almost couldn't bear to finish Walking Dead. Only thing I want to do now is hug my wife and kids. Amazing experience."
Matt Bauder: "I just want you guys to know that I cried about a video game for the first time because of The Walking Dead." #ForClementine
Will Smith: "I’ve played games for 25 years and The Walking Dead is the first game w/characters that I’m emotionally invested in. Bravo"
Peter Cox: "Just watched my gf finish her play through of the series finale of TWD game. Just as heart wrenching as mine." #ForClementine
Rick Salazar: "You know The Walking Dead the game is amazing when my MOM can get into it."
Steve Lin: "Finished Walking Dead Episode 5. Tears were shed. Had to go for a walk afterwards." #IAmTheWalkingDead #ForClementine
The Walking Dead reflects a resounding cry from the gaming community for an adult gaming experience to serve as a platform for exploring the art of feeling. It has set a new standard for storytelling and player immersion few games will be able to meet. If you have not played The Walking Dead you will be poorer for it, both as a gamer and as a human being. It is an experience transcending just entertainment.
Thank you Telltale Games, you have enriched countless lives, you have altered the gaming palette and you have given us an experience bridging our past time through to our personal life.
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