“The Wolf Among Us” developed by Tell Tale Games is based on Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series. The game consists of five series and as I was about to begin the first series the first thing that popped up after I pressed the ‘play’ button was: “This story is tailored by how you
play.” As I read that, I though to myself, “dang I guess it all depends on me, no pressure” (obviously in a sarcastic tone). When the game began it was like a movie or a story the game was telling me. As I was watching it, I noticed the colors were dark, but still I liked the details provided in the clothing and in the buildings. Also, as I was watching the scene, the characters began to use profanity and a thought of me not wanting my younger sibling to play this game came to mind.
When the movie scene ended, the toad began talk to Bigby Wolf, or me playing as the character. I, Bigby Wolf, had options on what to respond to the toad. I thought that was odd because I had never played a game that involved language, usually it’s just action, unless it was a language arts came I played in seconds grade. Therefore, choosing what I had to say, I believe does qualify “The Wolf Among Us” as a game. According to Game Studies Scholar Jesper Juul, there are three main ideas that define a game.
1) The system set up by the rules of the game
2) The relationship between the game and the player of the game
3) The relationship between the playing of the game and there rest of the world. If a game has all three attributions then it is considered a game (Juul 28).
The reason I believe “The Wolf Among Us” is a game is because as I played it I definitely saw myself following the rules of the game. The rules consisted of me (the player) choosing the answers I wanted to respond to. If I didn’t follow the rules Bigby Wolf would just be standing there in awkwardness staring at the toad. After Bigby, or me, talked to the toad, Bigby went upstairs to break up an argument between a built guy and a woman. I, then, start physically fighting against the man. The fight consisted of the app telling me where to swipe and what areas to press. Specifically, it would tell me to either swipe left or right when I had to either duck or dodge a punch from my opponent. Other times it gave me options of where to tap so I could throw my opponent like on the couch or at the shelf.
Secondly, according to the Juul, a game is an “investment of player effort to lead to an attachments of the outcome” (34). In other words, in a game there is a relationship between the game and the player. The relationship I have with “The Wolf Among Us” is me playing as Bigby Wolf and making an effort to keep the game going by following the rules. Therefore, I am putting my part in the game by allowing myself to not let the game be over.
Lastly, Juul states that what defines a game is the “relationship between playing the game and the rest of the world” (28). Consequently, the player agrees to be happy if he or she wins the game, unhappy if he or she loses. When I was playing The Wolf Among Us, simply winning the fight and having control over the opponent felt pretty cool. Having control over someone felt good, and when my opponent would beat me I would get upset and replay again searching for that drive to keep on beating him. In the end, I had fun playing the game for my first time.
Juul, Jesper. “Video Games and the Classic Game Model.” Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005. 23-54.