Happy Fourth of July, the holiday where we celebrate our great country's independence (that's America, for any of my international readers), because without it, we wouldn't have become the land of opportunity, where dreams come true.
A lot of people complain about this holiday, mainly because of all the drinking, fireworks being obtained and used by the general public, and the overall tomfoolery that is associated with it. Sure, over-indulgence of the freedoms we have as a country can always sour the things we should be celebrating, but that goes without saying for many things in our lives. The thing is, by complaining and sweating the small stuff, it essentially implies that our freedoms are taken for granted. Sometimes you just need to sit back and realize just how lucky we are to be able to live the lives we do, the way we choose.
By playing The Walking Dead: 400 Days, the (essentially but not quite) stand-alone DLC "chapter" in the original game's episodic story, it made me think that when push comes to shove, and when everything is ripped away from your world as you know it, then and only then is it easy to realize just how trivial it was in the first place to worry about the little things in life. It's only when you lose everything that you can truly appreciate anything ... or something like that.
Like I said, this game is essentially a stand-alone next chapter in the story, only because it is required you at least have chapter one of the The Walking Dead episodic game. It doesn't directly involved any characters or story lines that took place through the five chapters of TWD, though there are a few subtle nods at the game. In this one chapter, you play the role of five different people, experiencing their stories, all individually. TellTale games, the developer of this game franchise, has said that this is meant to be a stop-gap between the end of season 1 and the upcoming season 2, but it is unclear if these stories or characters will actually have anything to do with season 2 as it stands now. There seems to be some indication that it's possible, but we will just have to wait and see.
It almost feels like a prequel to season 2, rather than any sort of continuation to season 1, but I'm sure all unanswered questions will be solved in due time.
400 Days plays just like season 1, and it is littered with tough choices and heartbreaking moments. Sure, the character development is brief and rushed, but I still feel like they did a good enough job making you attach yourself to characters and the moral and ethical choices you have to make for them - and even the ones you have no control over.
Overall, it is grim. By the end of the chapter, you have reached 400 days since the outbreak begun. Society as it once was has completely crumbled to dust, and only shreds of humanity remain. Everything we enjoy now, both as privileges and rights, are mere memories. In this bleak and meager world that they have created and showcase in 400 Days, there are no little things to complain. Nothing is taken for granted and there are no freedoms left.
Think about that next time you want to complain about your neighbors firing off fireworks one night of the year. It could also be worse. Much, much worse.
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