The Drifter is a psychogeographer of videogames. He’s like Iain Sinclair on acid. He’s like Will Self on heroin. He’s like Super Mario on mushrooms. Except his drug is called ‘home computing’, and injecting it intravenously is his job.

Dear TellTale,

I just wanted to say that I love what you’re doing with adventure games.

Once upon a time, LucasArts was my life. Manny Calavera, Guybrush Threepwood, and Ben Throttle were my moral compass. I really don’t know who I’d be today if I hadn’t stolen a copy of Day of the Tentacle from that smaller, weaker boy.[1] His nose bled for hours afterward, but at least his sacrifice wasn’t in vain.

Adventure games taught me that no matter the size of your problem, you can always solve it with the tools at hand. All you need to save the world is a crowbar and a little pot of glue. And brains. I try to remember that when I’m curled up in a ball in my wardrobe on a Friday night. Or sitting alone in my cold apartment, plugging piece after piece of discounted Waitrose cheesecake into my mouth, working towards a sugar-fat epiphany that will salve the horror of mere being. I just wish I could remember it a little bit more often. Trouble is: there aren’t so many adventure games around these days. Or at least, there weren’t until you guys came along.

Walking Dead TellTale

Speaking of brains: The Walking Dead really put the hook in me. Great job, guys! I loved it so much I read all the comics and even watched the show.

You’ve encouraged me to consider my life choices much more carefully. Any tough decisions, I make sure my nine year old daughter takes them for me. She’s wise beyond her years. If we didn’t live in dreary old England, I’d probably buy her a gun.

I’m a libertarian now, because you have to be ruthless out there. Most people are just sheep, or worse than sheep – a pack of brainless monsters baying for my hard earned money. And the ones who still have their brains are even worse! What is the world coming to? Kids these days expect the taxpayer to bankroll everything. Generation Z have no respect for the institutions of a free market society. It’s not their fault though. I blame the parents. No, wait – the grandparents. No, wait – You can see where this is going. Let’s just say God’s mum has a lot to answer for.

Alright, that’s enough about how life-changing your games are. Time for a confession: I do have another agenda here besides sucking up. Truth is that while blogging about videogames pays the rent, what I really want to do is make adventure games.

It’s not like you couldn’t use any help. I know how it is: season one is no trouble, because those are the stories and ideas you’ve been carrying around for your entire life. Then suddenly wham! You’ve got ten minutes to write that difficult second season. That’s where I step in. I’m a storyteller, you’re a storyteller: we should hang out and make sexy little story babies.

To show you that I mean business, I’ve already gotten started. I don’t want anything in return for these ideas, except maybe a job and a free copy of your entire back catalogue that I can give to my girlfriend. I tried to explain to her that while raising a child might feel like an endless series of terrifying critical decisions, whatever we did wouldn’t really matter, because life is ultimately on-rails, and free will is just an illusion intended to discourage us from giving up all hope. And I just don’t think she got it. Maybe if she knew your games like I do, she’d face up to the facts.

Here we go. Just imagine we’re standing together in an elevator and it’s a little too cosy. You can’t wait to reach your floor, but for now, you’re stuck with me. And… action!

Sam Max TellTale

Sam & Max: Freelance Police:

One thing I like about your newest games is the level of realism. It’s high time we brought your older franchises in-line, starting with these shambolic detectives.

As it stands, Sam and Max just don’t seem like cops to me. Sure, Sam wears a tie and carries a gun. But when was the last time they preyed on black people? These guys would never, ever qualify as freelance police in the real United States. I can’t remember a single scene when Sam shot a black guy in the back because he was suspiciously lighting a cigarette. Or pulled over a driver because he didn’t believe that he could afford such a nice car, then discovered he was a bigshot Hollywood actor and let him go. Let’s get with the times, TellTale! At the very least I want Max to work high school security and tear some kid limb from limb with his big bunny teeth because he didn’t do his homework. Although maybe bunnies are herbivores? I’ll google it later. You take my point, though. Must Try Harder.

 

Jurassic Park:

I didn’t play season one. The reviews weren’t great. However, if you want to stay in tune with the rest of the franchise, here’s how you can do that.

This is what I want to see: the mothers and sons, fathers and daughters of every man, woman and child maimed and massacred in Jurassic World begin litigation proceedings. It’s pretty clear that Bryce Dallas Howard shouldn’t have been allowed to run a fairground full of teacup rides, let alone an island resort occupied by giant lizards from before the dawn of time. (Or giant birds. Whatever.) I want millions paid out in compensation. I want justice for #dinomeat. She’s lucky not to get some serious jail time.

Monkey Island TellTale

Tales of Monkey Island:

Deep in the Caribbean… Guybrush Threepwood returns to the governor’s mansion from a night on the tiles. He stinks of grog and destitution. Between you and me, ever since he lost his hand, he’s been going at it a little too hard.

Elaine would be worried, but right now, she’s got bigger problems. She asks her husband to sit down. She found a cyst. It’s cancer. Not some magical pirate curse, not a charming postmodern comedy disease: cancer. Do you think that can be wiped away with an enchanted sea sponge? Because let me tell you, it can’t. That voodoo stuff is just a placebo. If this was as easy as mixing some spit and a rubber chicken in a juju bag, you don’t figure that we’d have it licked by now? The treatment Elaine needs isn’t going to be invented for another four hundred years, and even then the number of interventions is limited. Guybrush can sail an ocean of his own tears looking for answers if he likes. It won’t make a difference. She’s still going to die.

 

The Wolf Among Us:

The Wolf Among Us shattered our illusions about our favourite fairytales. Mr Toad was a cockney layabout; Georgie Porgy a pimp wearing a crimson necktie. The last fairytale left in Fabletown? Keynesian economics. I don’t see why making the rich poorer should make the poor richer. King Cole left because he knew tax-and-spend wasn’t working. He knew he’d have to make cuts. It’s time the citizens of Fabletown learned to work as hard as the Chinese.

That pig living in your apartment can get a job, for a start. What was his name, Bryan? Probably expects Bigbie and other hardworking fables to pay for his fat sow and kids, too. But in an age of austerity there are going to have to be sacrifices. And all I’m saying is: if I had him round for brunch, he wouldn’t be sitting at the table. He’d be in the frying pan.

 Tales from the Borderlands TellTale

Tales from the Borderlands:

Turning Borderlands into an adventure game was a fantastic idea. So why stop there? So many FPSs are crying out for the same treatment. Tales from the Halo. Tales from the Half Life. Tales from the Doom. Let’s make ‘em and mash ‘em together, Avengers-style. What do you suppose all those big, silent protagonists talk about when they get together for a cold brewski? Must be a fun bunch to hang out with. Here they are propping up the bar, staring into the middle distance, remembering how it felt to kill and kill again. They’ve seen things we can’t conceive and they can’t forget. You think the barkeep makes them leave their plasma rifles by the door? I bet Gordon Freeman has so much fun with his gravity gun at parties, especially the big one that lets you lift up whole people! If I had one of those, things would be very different around here, let me tell you.

 

Game of Thrones:

This is how season two starts:

You turn up in Flea Bottom one bitingly cold afternoon in winter, wrapped up in a fancy cloak made from gold brocade. Find some scabby pipsqueak kid on the run from his master, hold him tight by the shoulders, and say this: “Everything will be okay. Life is hard for you in the olden times, I know. But it’s going to get better. Any day now some bright spark will invent the zero – who knows, it could even be you! Soon after, we’re going to get calculus, the experimental method, the laws of physics, and evidence-based medicine. The Renaissance, the industrial revolution, and liberal democracy. Universal suffrage, can you imagine that? The theory of evolution! All of it is coming, bearing down on us all like an express train. I know that you don’t know what an express train is, but trust me, if you did, you’d agree that it’s a great metaphor. Just remember: all of this – slavery, war, famine, torture – all of it will be worth it, I promise. For Science.” Just pray that George RR Martin doesn’t die before he gets that far.

***

That’s all for now, until I see a pay cheque. Looking forward to hearing from you, TellTale. Keep up the good work.

With all my love,

The Drifter

Xx

P.S. Can we use Bobby Darin’s Clementine as the theme song for season three of The Walking Dead? Come on, please? It’ll be sweet.

 

[1] Of course, if we lived in the Day of the Tentacle universe, we could go back in time and find out. Not that I would want to, mind. I’m barely keeping it together as it is. The last thing I need is 2016 Me embarking on a programme of intensive self-improvement, messing around with cause and effect. That’s about as much fun as untangling kite strings, except one of those strings is your parents having sex. Not something I like to think about. Well, maybe sometimes. But only to check that I’m really alive.