Features & News
The Vent: The Walking Brain-Dead
What is it with the current trend of naming everything the same? Back in the day it was all about off-shoots, different versions and new twists. If there was a game of a film, it would be acceptable for that game to have the same name, but other than that, it was unheard-of. Now the world has flipped on its head and it makes no sense to me.
Movie games have only recently bared any noticeable resemblance to the films they’re based on. The Terminator games on NES had almost different plots to the films, yet were named the same. The Batman Returns game I had on SNES was essentially Streets of Rage: Gotham City, but was simply called Batman Returns. When a level actually mirrored an event in the film it was a surprise and a hoot; reviews specifically praised those sections, so rare they were.
These days, with the tech we have now, it’s more than possible that the game you’re playing will have the look and feel of the movie. I know I’m being generous; most movie games are still fucking terrible. Both Iron Man games sucked so hard I thought they were going to pull in Jupiter, and the Thor game… there are no words. They pretty much stuck to the template, except they stuck ‘The Game’ after the title of the film, you know, just in case the doofus standing in a game shop looking at a box that says ‘Xbox 360′ across the top in massive letters doesn’t realise that it’s the game and not the film.
Captain America broke the mould by having its tie-in game named Captain America: Super Soldier, and was actually the best out of the games shat out by the industry to coincide with Marvel’s epic build up to the Avengers movie.
The Captain America game was the only one that actually approached the feeling you get from being Batman in the Arkham games. It robbed Rocksteady’s fighting system and upgraded it. After watching the movie, playing the game is pretty cool; bashing people with your shield, cracking bone and kicking people across courtyards. I enjoyed it. The fact that the only Avengers game that was any good wasn’t named the same as the film it was based on boggles the mind.
The biggest offender? The Walking Dead. Originally there was a series of black-and-white comics that set out to change the mood within the comic-book community regarding zombies. It was written by a guy called Robert Kirkman and it was called The Walking Dead. Then it was collated into a set of trade paperbacks, as many popular series are, and the books were also titled The Walking Dead. Makes sense.
Then AMC made a TV series of the comics, following pretty much the same story with a few changes. They called it, you guessed it, The Walking Dead. This was forgivable as comics and TV series are different mediums and at that point if you asked ‘Have you seen The Walking Dead’ everyone would know you meant the TV series because you don’t ‘see’ a comic book; you read it.
Here’s where it gets stupid. Telltale Games decided to make their next point-n-click opus an alternate story set in the Walking Dead universe. They got Kirkman involved and produced a pretty good episodic series, which is currently at its third instalment. They also called it The Walking Dead.
So we now have a comic series, a set of trade paperbacks, a TV series and an episodic video-game, all called The Walking Dead. Despite the fact the game has stuff-all to do with the plot of the comics/TV series, they still figured it would be okay to give it the same name. No sub-title, no number, no nothing.
People have began to call it ‘The Walking Dead Game’, which would of course doesn’t work as a title, as ‘The Walking Dead’ is the title of the series and for it to work it would have to be called ‘The The Walking Dead Game’ which is stupid. But wait… pretty soon we won’t even be able to use that community-made moniker to describe Telltale’s efforts.
A new Walking Dead game is on the way. It apparently concerns Darrel from the TV series and what he and his brother did before they bumped into Rick Grimes and co. It features zombies, obviously, but seems to be leaning more towards sneaking past and not shooting any of them than having fun ventilating their rotting noggins. Big deal. The name? The Walking Dead.
So, soon we’ll have a comic series, a trade paperback series, a TV series (in its third season), a point ‘n’ click game and an FPS game, all named The Walking fucking Dead! Asking someone if they are even aware of The Walking Dead will become an impossible minefield of awkward looks and explanations. “Not the TV series, the game. Not the first game, not the cartoony one, the other one with shooting and crossbows”. The world has gone mad.
The only solution I can come up with sucks. Call the point ‘n’ click game ‘The Walking Dead: Lee’s Story’ and call the new one ‘The Walking Dead: Darrel’s Story’ or something to that effect. They’ll be distinctly separate, but sound crap. The fact is there is no solution. Now all they need to do is bring out a Walking Dead board-game and call it… oh, they have? I’ll just go fetch my shotgun…