I am not going to pretend I’m a gamer girl, because I’m definitely not (and because I consistently come last whenever I play MarioKart at my friend’s house), but surprisingly, I do know what The Last Of Us is, and I am truly obsessed with it. Funnily enough, it’s kind of because I’ve actually played it… in my own way.
About ten years ago, I was deeply in love with a YouTuber, who shall remain nameless, and in my obsession, I decided to watch over 20 hours of him playing his favourite video game at the time… which was, of course, The Last Of Us.
I was surprised, to say the least. Even though I may be a boy’s girl (or to others – a misogynistic and my least favourite noun – a “pick-me girl”), video games have never appealed to me. Why would I want to stay inside and cramp up my little fingers while watching graphic depictions of murder and grand theft auto? When I could be, I don’t know, making a daisy chain or collecting shells at the beach? The deep love of video games has just never made sense to me, until I watched 20 consecutive hours of this game in particular.
We laughed, we cried, we fell in love with the characters – it was reminiscent of reading one of my favourite books, and underneath it all, I realised that this in fact is the power of a good story. With reading, your imagination is doing all the work, you become the character and you live vicariously inside this fictional world someone else has created – that you are making real behind your eyes. With video games, you are also the character, and it just takes less mental stimulation, but more of an active participation by playing the game.
The Last Of Us is heralded by some as one of the best video games ever made, and it’s because it’s a good story. So much of a good story, that they’ve decided to make a TV show out of it, starring the world’s favourite cool-slutty-daddy Pedro Pascal as Joel, one of the main characters of the game, who is tasked with transporting Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) across a dystopian landscape.
The premise of the game is that civilisation as we know it has long ago expired due to a fungal infection that has infected a large percentage of the population and transformed them into cannibalistic zombies, with only one bite causing a person to inherit the disease – or fungal parasite. Joel is a gruff single dad who lost his daughter in the very beginning of the game, when the disease had only just started affecting the population and martial law had taken effect to try and contain the outbreak. What results is the perfect character for Pascal Pedro to play – not unlike the Mandalorian – a gruff, no-nonsense hero that has a soft heart and a desire for kinship and family, like the one he had lost.
Enter Ellie, a volatile young girl who has been bitten by one of the infected (or clickers) and somehow has not turned into a zombie. She is the only hope for this desperate civilisation of humans left, but it’s up to Joel and Ellie to trust each other and protect each other in their journey.
With expectations naturally extremely high due to the cult fanbase of the original game, it almost sets the TV show up for failure as something that can never compete. The first episode was released last week as an hour-long episode, and so far has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%. Needless to say, the episode was a huge success, comforting the gamer fanbase with a suitable representation of the game, while also capturing a whole new audience.
Although scary to watch on your own at night when your next-door neighbours motion light keeps flicking on and off, I loved it and am currently talking everybody’s ear off to all that will listen about the game – while also repeatedly watching Pedro Pascal’s Vanity Fair interview where he looks straight into the camera and says, “I’m your daddy.” Don’t judge me.
The second episode is available tomorrow (i.e. every Monday) for those who watch it on Sky, or every Sunday night at 6pm for those who are lucky enough to have an HBOMax subscription. Roll on!