Mark, Brian, and Drew/Erica (Ericrew? Drerica?) all played The Last of Us and its recent sequel, and while yes, it was great, we did not agree that it was “fun,” nor how much “playing” was actually involved. How can cinematic video games balance narrative and gameplay?
This franchise by Neil Druckmann under Naughty Dog is ostensibly about a zombie apocalypse and an immune girl that might be its cure, but it’s really a drawn-out drama about loss, family, and the cycle of revenge… You know, in between running around looking for scraps to craft weapon upgrades and skulking around driving shivs through the necks of numerous monsters and people.
We compare The Last of Us to other zombie media like Walking Dead, address the shifting points of view in the game (playable flashbacks!), representation, fan and critical reaction, the effectiveness of the game’s message, and more.
This conversation should work both for listeners who’ve actually played the games and those who are just curious about what the fuss is about. There are some plot spoilers about the end of the first game and events near the beginning of the second game necessary to discuss the narrative.
- “The Not So Hidden Israeli Politics of ‘The Last of Us Part II‘” by Emanuel Maiberg
- “The Last of Us Part 2 Review – Post-Apocalyptic Game Is Groundbreaking and Powerful” by Keza MacDonald
- “The Last of Us Part 2 Review Round-Up: What Critics Have Said About the ‘Groundbreaking, Emotional Masterpiece’ PS4 Sequel” by Alex Finnis
- “The Last of Us Part II’s Queer Representation is Groundbreaking. Is It Enough?” by Louis Chilton
- “The Last of Us Part I & II: How Their Zombies are Based on Real-Life Undead” by Coleman Gailloreto
- “The Last of Us 2 Has Sold 4 Million Copies, Breaking Sony’s PS4 Record” by Andy Robinson
This episode includes bonus discussion that you can hear now by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This time Drew grills Brian and Mark about their video game habits. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.