damonpackwood

Diversity Contributed to Better Video Games in 2012: The Walking Dead

In video games on January 11, 2013 at 12:05 am

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The best African American protagonist to grace any video game ever is Lee Everrett in arguably the best game of 2012. I’ve been familiar with voice actor Dave Fennoy’s work for a few years now, and I didn’t really care for it. There is a tendency  to take a black male voice actor with a deep voice and direct him to speak like an over the top tough guy. It’s annoying. I mean, who talks like that?

What is so great about Fennoy’s character in The Walking Dead is he’s allowed to speak like a normal person. It helps that he is paired with Melissa Hutchison (the second best voice actor of 2012) who plays Clementine, the little girl that Lee stumbles into and becomes her guardian and surrogate father. This gives the actor a clear motivation for his performance. Everything he says is inevitably for the purpose of protecting Clementine. You can hear it clearly in his voice. When he is angry, nurturing or inquisitive his motivation for it is clear. Also, this has the unexpected effect of allowing the player to wonder who he really is or to decide based on their tendencies.

Dave Fennoy’s amazing voice work will (and should) hopefully propel him to the same level as Nolan North and Troy Baker. And, by the way, I love that we can discuss voice actors the same way we discuss movie stars.

I haven’t discussed the gameplay because I don’t think my short blurb would do it justice. The Walking Dead is a point-and-click adventure game so the first impression is that it’s gameplay is fairly simple. The user places the cursor over a thing, hits a button and something happens. However, if you take a closer look at you’ll see some gameplay decisions that contribute to the tension. (like shortening the time limit for simple decisions in episodes 4 and 5, creating the feeling that time is running out) And, oh my God, the tension in this game is teeth-grinding.

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The Walking Dead is a great game starring a little girl and a black man in the American south.It is riddled with a wonderful mix of other diverse characters who are young, old, homeless, racist, handicapped and so on. Now, if that doesn’t wake people up to the critical and commercial viability of diverse characters in video games I don’t know what will. This is a great game that has arguably ruined this years zombie games. Telltale Games have created a game changer, and if you don’t rush out to play this, you suck!

I’m kidding, but seriously, you gotta play The Walking Dead.

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