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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:19 am 
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I've been enjoying spring break.

Last of Us had been on my playlist ever since it came out and I finally had a chance to start playing it. Finished the main campaign in 4 days. Although I barely got 3 achievements in the entire play through.

I could discuss graphics and game play, but I really just want to discuss the story. Specifically the ending, man it is a sad one. I have just beaten the game and in the last chapter Joel really becomes a monster. I played that last stretch utilizing only smoke bombs as I didn't want to kill any of the fireflies. I shot the surgeon on his foot but he died anyways... which was weird cause that was not a lethal shot and he was in a fricking hospital.

But, it didn't matter how I was fighting cause in the end Joel was on full murder mode. He also lied to Ellie... Interesting stuff, lots to think about. I like linear games, I don't like alternate endings and all that cause then I would be playing the game a dozen times to explore all possible scenarios. However, I would have liked to at least see how things would have turned out if Joel had been honest with Ellie. Then again, she seemed to be wanting to quit. So I can understand why Joel lied.

I'll be playing Left Behind tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:10 am 
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Yeah the end of the story is quite controversial because it's not clear whether Joel is a good or a bad guy now.

Personally I still am a bit bitter about the fact that the HD version improved the graphics instead of the AI, after the AI was implemented in the last months before the original game shipped (there's a post-mortem talk about it on GDC). It broke the immersion (attachment to Ellie) quite a lot, since she's programmed to be invisible to the enemy.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:00 am 
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They chose the better option with how to handle Ellie.

I agree it's a bit dumb seeing her in plain sight and not getting caught, but I'd rather have that than have my stealth broken by an AI sidekick. They knew there was no way they could get that right, so I'm glad they just didn't bother.

As for the story I thought the ending was perfect.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:44 am 
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Specially Cork wrote:
They chose the better option with how to handle Ellie.

I agree it's a bit dumb seeing her in plain sight and not getting caught, but I'd rather have that than have my stealth broken by an AI sidekick. They knew there was no way they could get that right, so I'm glad they just didn't bother.

I agree for the original game, because they didn't account for it back then and had to take a backup plan. But they had no excuse for the HD version.. They should've put at least some effort into AI instead of graphics, instead they didn't change anything.

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As for the story I thought the ending was perfect.

I agree. It seems like some players don't like it because they feel attached to/identify with Joel and want him a good guy no matter what? The gaming press was horrible as usual here (but they just want to create controversy)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:14 am 
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Agree with BC, the AI thing was necessary and the ending was perfect.

The interesting thing for me is, Ellie knew what she was getting into and was willingly accepted her fate, that's why she's quite moody at the end- obvious in the scene where she's sitting down when you're trying to boost her up the wall. It's Joel/us who don't get it at that point.

She also knows Joel lied at the end. Again I think this is particularly interesting because of what it means for the dynamic of their relationship, Ellie started the game utterly reliant on Joel and not so emotionally developed. Now here, she knows how to handle herself, has grown up a lot and now needs Joel a lot less than he needs her. I think this is a great place to start from for a sequel.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:50 pm 
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Well said Soully.

What is really unsettling for me was the mass murdering thing... Like the surgeon, in hindsight I wish I had done some melee attack to knock him out.

Then killing Marlene as she is begging for her life.

It is also gut wrenching to see Ellie suffering from Survivor's guilt.
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I finished LEFT BEHIND.

I had read up on it and the whole gay spoiler was easy to infer since Wikipedia wrote LGBT community praised the game. I wish the internet did not make such a big deal out of it cause I wonder how I would have perceived it had I not been aware of it at all.

I asked my first girl out at 13 or 14 (sad I can't remember), so you are old enough to have a sexual identity. I was into girls before I entered my teenage but the thing with Ellie is she looks so damn young. She looks like a 10 year old rather than a 14 year old.

Another thing, tell me if I am wrong here, I have been around gay people, even in Pakistan. I had a gay kid in class and we are friends. I've had gay colleagues and class mates. There was a lesbian, I used to be really tight with, she was a phenomenal personal to work with and an even better person to just hang out with. I loved hearing her, ahem, adventures. She was also really good at reading body language as she flirted with other girls. Like she was a player anyway I digress. The point was that Ellie being gay or bi-curious was unpleasant.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:54 am 
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I guess you just have to question where that feeling comes from, if you're uncomfortable with the idea of her displaying any sort of sexual identity because of her age/how old she looks, then that's down to you, even though I'd say it was done really tastefully, but fair enough if you'd have been equally uncomfortable had it been a boy her age.

If you're more uncomfortable with it because it's a girl, that's probably a bit less okay and worth challenging yourself on, as obviously there's something you find inherently wrong (even a bit) with same-sex relationships.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:35 pm 
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Well said, again.
Astute analysis.

I don't know how I would respond to a boy. Safe to assume it would be uncomfortable, but certainly less uncomfortable that a girl. Discussing this any further would turn this thread into a discussion on sexual identity and how one would feel about LGBT people in their family. I supposed that is the intention of Naughty Dog as well. This is why they took someone as lovable as Ellie and made her gay, it would make many gamer filled with hate against that minority.

My problem is not hate, it's sadness. I have seen these people struggle. I have seen my gay friend being assaulted with balls, in the basketball court I even participated in it, until I realized we weren't playing a game and we were actually beating this poor kid up... It wasn't just cause he was flamboyant, he had many reasons for people to hate him but I wouldn't want that for him. The worst part was this wasn't a one time thing, he got into these situations over and over. But hey, it's Pakistan right. It is an uneducated conservative place right?

Nope, a couple of years ago I was working at Macy's we had a couple of gay guys there. There was this other dude, super tall and the girls would describe him as a super model. He worked in a different department and was a manager so no reason to interact with him. One day, he came to my department and introduced himself since he had just started working. He also told me to get my eyebrows waxed in his department. Now I have had a full blown massive uni-brow since I was 13 or 14 so I have been threading since I was 14 or 15. I just assumed he was here to drive up his sales but to my surprise when I went to his department it was all complimentary. He was just being nice, since we are co-workers.

15 months ago he blew his brains out. It was cause he was gay, everyone really liked him at work and I don't recall the full story or his relationship with his family members. But I remember his sexual identity was a driving factor in him pulling the trigger. The death was not easy as he didn't die. He spent a week on a ventilator allowing many at work to visit him before he left. It looked like America was a more accepting country on the surface but the struggle was still just as pervasive.

Now these two anecdotes are just the tip. As a former mental health practitioner I have a ton more stories. I have worked with people who go further than just basic LGBT. I had a bisexual client with suppressed/oppressed pedophile desires. According to him he hadn't acted so you can't call him a pedophile, though he did satisfy several criterion in DSM however he was married with two kids, but he really struggled to resist per-pubescent/early pubescent kids/teens but then again he struggled almost unsuccessfully to remain faithful with his wife.

I hope this explains the core causes of my discomfort.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:14 pm 
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I haven't played it in about a year so my memories are a little hazy on it, so take what I'm saying with a pinch of salt but from the way the rest of the game was written, what I took from the game was that I wouldn't necessarily say it was black and white that she was gay/bi.

She's a really young girl still massively figuring out who she is, it's an intense friendship with a girl she really looks up to and thought was probably dead, it's a messed up world she lives in, they're doing something wrong/dangerous. It comes off as a heat of the moment/spontaneous thing to me.

The characters in the game are all fairly complex, even the side characters, so it just doesn't feel very "TLOU" to say she had a kiss as a kid so she's 100% gay and that's it. I kind of feel like the overarching feeling the writers intended us to take away from the DLC was even though they're in a scary zombie apocalypse, being a teenager is still the same. You're awkward, confused, sensitive, everything feels super intense etc etc. In a way it's all just texture to add a bit of richness to her backstory and make her more relatable as a person.

Personally I like that it was a gay kiss though, I like that games are diversifying and I get to experience games from the viewpoint of a widening section of life. After a lifetime of gaming I'm tired beyond belief of playing as impossibly muscular, emotionally stunted, 30 something year old, white men with guns. I say this as an incredibly muscular emotionally stunted 30 something white man. For every game that does well with a non-standard playable character or a challenging theme, the more likely publishers are to take even more risks with games in future. Movies have dozens of genres and subgenres, it feels a little like games are beginning to make the same expansion to me.

I'd also say that there's enough games out there that are made from the point of view of someone like me, if I was a girl Ellie's age, wrestling with things Ellie is, maybe the game would have a particular resonance for me. I like that someone could take something like that from it, I don't resent that every game isn't written from my perspective, in fact I'd prefer if it wasn't. I'm me already.

Rambling, but it's only because this could possibly be my favourite game ever and I want more games to learn from what they did with it.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:35 pm 
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Back to the core game, Ellie is not really an innovative character. You remember Sherry right? Resident Evil 2. She was like Ellie too. More recently, I remember Clementine from The Walking Dead. I played that game 3 years ago so it is kinda old.

Videogames have diversity. If we go further back, my first RPG was Phantasy Star 4, I played it in 2002 but it came out in 1994. The character dynamics are still unique for me to this day. Chaz was a 17 year old boy, who was adopted by an elder but still young hunter. Alys. Now that wasn't the typical Duke Nukem type game either. You can say that this was a niche game but Resident Evil 2 is one of the most popular games of all time. Sherry was a playable character.

I think without the gay element the only thing Ellie has done is curse like she grew up without parents. Like, man. I've never heard a little girl so much in any medium. I thought at some point in the game Joel could say, "now that I've allowed you to kill people, how about you stop swearing."

I am also rambling here cause I really enjoyed Last of Us. Certainly the best PS3 game and the first Naughty Dog game I have genuinely enjoyed since Crash. I missed out on the Jax games as I was a Dreamcast loyalist and the Uncharted trilogy, I really didn't find it memorable. In fact, I didn't really like the games. (I would link to my thread on it but it's not showing up in search).

I really like how you perceive all the elements in Last of Us. I have tried to discuss the game with my friends, but no one has been as animated about it as you, so it is great talking it with someone who cares for the themes.

Even in the heightened situation as you describe it a hug would be more personal and affectionate from a platonic standpoint. I don't think there is a way to perceive it anything as gay. I think the writers wove that in to create awareness on sexual identity or just maybe something to make headlines. I don't know. I am way too late to this party anyways.

From the course of the Left Behind story we learn that Ellie is not close with the two other kids that Riley inquires about. When she Kisses and then apologizes it is a clear indication she is cognizant of her actions. It is a deliberate move and not something stemming from confused impulses. Three weeks later she steels a porn magazine from Bill and jokes about the pictures with Joel further indicating how mature she really is.

Going on, towards anecdotes my own identity was confirmed 3 years before I approached a girl.

This is also an interesting anecdote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR_f1IOIYRw
You only need to watch from 1:20 to like 2:20...

I really thought these two would kiss but straight girls anecdotally don't express emotions that way. Well there's all that.

Let's see what you add to this or ramble on with this.
I will ask you my next question tomorrow.

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I don't know what y'all talking about graphic differences. I have seen a better upgrade from an Xbox port of a PS2 game.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:26 am 
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Two 14-year-old girls shared a kiss. Really not a big deal at all.

They did way more than this over a decade ago with Thirteen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_(2003_film)

I don't think NaughtyDog did it for shock value, or for the headlines, or to send a message. It's just something two teenagers might do.

I have no idea why it would make someone uncomfortable in this day and age.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:07 am 
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Specially Cork wrote:
Two 14-year-old girls shared a kiss.


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