Story-telling’s Bread and Butter: Telltale Games

Episodic games started a long time ago. The first one that started it was dated back at 1979, when Automated Simulations’ (later known as Epyx) Dunjonquest released “Temple of Apshai”, making it the ‘Father of Episodic games’. Yes, I know, most of you probably don’t recognize anything I just said (and hey, me too, since I still wasn’t born at that time), but I just wanted to make a quick history lesson on how the path of episodic games began. You probably already know that at that time, the game was still 16-bit, compared to our 2D/3D-rendered games with all the physics and other engines it has, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it is the first ever episodic game ever made. Anyway, enough about the history, let’s talk about Telltale.

As you may have already known, Telltale Games is a heavy supporter of Episodic games. Combined with their story-telling gameplay, it left an impression to a lot of people, and a good one, at that (in most cases). The earlier games that Telltale had didn’t really impress a lot of audience, but soon after the release of “The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series”, they quickly rose to popularity.

Telltale Games is best known for its story-telling-driven gameplay, and its notorious habit of killing a lot of characters in its titles, which really is a great combination for people who’s tired of the same old over-powered protagonist/s. They were able to improve the quality of episodic games via turning it into a story-based game, complete with choices to decide on, affecting the flow of the story, and ultimately ending the episodes in different ways, depending on how you decided on the choices offered. The way they used cell shading on their games gives a story-like effect on it, too, giving off a ‘straight from a book’ feel.

The gameplay, although throughout Telltale’s titles may feel almost the same, still has its own differences. The first Walking Dead was more focused on delivering its story, therefore making the action scenes a bit underwhelming, since they were more focused on delivering the story.


Nonetheless, they did an excellent job at doing so, receiving a ‘Game of the Year’ award, while also getting lots of praise from different reviewers. The gameplay then gradually improved by each title they released, showing different improvements for each new game released. From adding more options to choose during decision-making, to adding new stuff to use (like in ‘Tales from the Borderlands’ where you can use the money you’ve found to unlock more options, or buy stuff to, well, look good!), they’ve shown promising improvements then and throughout.

Their latest title “The Walking Dead: Michonne – A Telltale Games Series” have both improved in story-telling and gameplay. They added more quick-time events, making the game also focus on its action now (and almost making me miss pressing the quick-time event due to its immersive story), which is really an improvement in their titles.

Their titles share similarities to different franchises, like how they have a story-based gameplay and how ‘Life is Strange’ also has it (though they differ in story, duh). Games nowadays all have similar features close to each other, which is why the deciding factor on whether the game is worth it or not also includes its story (apart from its gameplay and graphics), making a Telltale title a worth-it pick.

Life Is Strange

Not really sure if their games has an advantage on a specific platform, since in the PC it’s easier to do quick-time events and all that, since there’s just a number of keys to press (and a whole lot of quick thinking to do on which buttons to press), but it’s easier to do on consoles, too, since the layout of the joystick gives easier access to the buttons to be pressed. I’d say it’s good on all the platform it supports, but ultimately the winner would be the PC (since the graphics are way too improved in this platform).

Telltale Games showed a promising start on their first Walking Dead, and still managed to continue on bringing it on with the first game’s DLC, 400 Days, until its following franchises (The Walking Dead Season 2, and The Walking Dead: Michonne). I’d say their style of gameplay would definitely survive, but for it to do so, the story must excell in order for it to live on. Nevertheless, getting a Telltale title would be worth it, and that’s just not coming from my personal opinion.