The Walking Dead Video Game offers us pictures of Jesus? My friend and fellow geek Steven Sukkau is a major gamer, and he says yes indeed. Read his article and find out why your picture of Jesus may just need some tweaking—thanks to the Walking Dead Video Game series. Go figure.
The Walking Dead Video Game : Beyond the Gore
When I purchased the now award-winning The Walking Dead video game series, I didn’t think I would be in tears by the fifth and final episode. The game had it’s emotional moments to be sure—watching friends get eaten, choosing who lives and who dies, even handing out the last of our food supplies (a package of crackers to a little boy while his father went hungry), certainly tugged on the heart strings.
But what finally brought on the water works, were my new revelation of Jesus and a clearer definition of a savior (*Spoiler alerts).
The Walking Dead Video Game story reaches its climax when a “Stranger” kidnaps Clementine, the adopted little girl I’ve been warding from danger since the beginning.
As the protagonist, Lee, I am unarmed and at my wits end. I can only try and reason with her kidnapper who keeps a steady bead on me with his pistol. The Stranger is holding all the aces, yet feels the need to explain his motives.
The two men present an interesting contrast: The Stranger was a loving father (Lee had no kids), a gentle, doting husband, (Lee shot and killed his cheating wife’s lover) and the Stranger always made sure to protect and shelter his family.
Both endeavor to “save” Clementine but the Stranger aims to shelter her from all harm by locking her in a closet. Looking back, I begin to doubt my decisions as Clem’s savior. I taught this sweet little girl to use a gun for heaven’s sake, I felt compelled to bring her along on dangerous missions among the undead, even asking her to put her life on the line by crawling through windows to open locked doors.
As the stranger taunts, “this is not a kidnapping, this is a rescue.”
But in the end, a savior is not someone who shelters you from all harm, locked in a closet. A true savior respects free will. I certainly gave orders to Clementine and she often disobeyed. I never resorted to tying her up, locking her in closets etc. But a true savior doesn’t keep us sheltered; they prepare us for the fight.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
That never made sense to me. Until now.
Earlier in the game, I would cover Clem’s eyes when the zombies took someone. Now I realize sheltering her was not helping her. If I truly loved her I would make sure she knew the gravity of the situation. She needed to be prepared for when the time came and I was no longer around.
The Stranger’s brand of discipleship is ultimately patronizing, turning those being saved into dependents, and ultimately taking away their free will, leaving us locked in a closet. If free will is indeed a gift, then we need to have a part in the story, nobody wants to remain a helpless damsel sitting on her hands waiting to be rescued. We want to kick some dragon butt too, but we need to be prepared.
We need saviors to do what we cannot. Clementine would be long dead if not for Lee, but my true purpose was mentorship, teaching Clem to think like a survivor, to aim for the head and keep her hair short, away from clawing hands.
And then, when the time comes for the ultimate sacrifice, it’s not both your doom, but only the end of her training. You are still leaving her like a lamb among wolves, but she is ready, she is shrewd as a snake, and she has proven it with more than one headshot and clobbered zombie.
Earlier in the game, I would try comforting her by lying; telling her everything was going to be ok. I remember the dialogue options near my end were “I’m sorry”, “It’s going to be ok,” or “Keep your hair short”.
“Remember sweet pea, keep your hair short,” I whisper.
I was preparing her.
As Lee lies dying, about to turn, I remember how tempted I was to ask Clementine to leave me, to spare her the trauma of killing a loved one. But I realized that’s how her kidnapper would’ve thought. He wanted to keep his family safe and unspoiled by the horrors of life, and ultimately they met their end because he had not prepared them.
I was different; I knew now what I had to do. “Close your eyes and pull the trigger,” I said. It was our final lesson, my final gift to her. “I’ll miss you,” I added before the end.
It was hard to accept this cruel parting at first. I cried unabashedly, having finished the game alone at home. But now I like to believe I helped train one of the most capable survivors out there, one that will no doubt save and mentor countless others.