It’s rare for me that anything moves and affects me, touches and upsets my core, like The Last of Us Part Two has. It’s more than just being ‘wowed’ by something, a new technical achievement or a “new fandangled thing-a-ma-bob”. No it’s a feeling, an insight learned and absorbed, a life altering experience or event that grabs a hold of me, freezes me, shuts out the entirety of the rest of the world in that moment and from that point, becomes an obsession and just about the only thing I think about.
The last time I felt like this was almost 2 years ago with my mom’s passing. I was right there by her side and was the one who let the doctors know it was time to stop CPR. Her cancer had returned and spread and there was nothing I or anyone could do. That absolute feeling of powerlessness has completely altered me and my life and the way I see the world, other people in it and my very being.
I was once the man of steel, cold as ice and could contain my emotions and feelings better than anyone I knew. I can’t do it anymore. Tears are brought to my eyes and the inner calm is turned right upside down whenever an incident or experience happens now. I still don’t panic in situations so I’m still good at crisis management and controlling emergency situations but from the inside, it’s a mess now.
It’s an inner panic that takes all my strength and concentration to control and constrain. It’s so hard to put into words and describe but I imagine that many of you experience this in your own way.
I’m not equating the death of my mother to the experience that is The Last of Us Part Two but simply that now, certain things affect me so much greater and to such a new degree that I cannot ignore or swallow them
For some of you it may be more relatable to compare my reaction to TLOU2 with other like media and art that has affected you in your life. For me there are but a few examples that have stuck with me and have altered my life and perspective on the world.
Two of the books/authors that have done so are; John Steinbeck’s entire bibliography and Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything. Now these may not be to your taste but for me they have been and continue to be profound.
From a more new media standpoint, three movies come to mind always; 12 Angry Men from 1957 starring Henry Fonda, 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption and the Color Purple with Whoopi Goldberg from 1985. Not only are these considered by most to be great films from a technical point of view, they have had a profound effect on the psyche of the culture. This may not be true for you but that is OK. For me, they’re important and a part of my life and helped shape my outlook on the world from the artistic realm
Art, music, film, literature, poetry and doodles in your notebook are so immensely important to the human experience and if given their proper share of time and mind space, help create better and healthier people. Expression through whatever form of art that you connect with is vitally important to your own self worth and well being.
I’ve wondered aloud in my own head if this is just a result of age and experience. I don’t know, is the answer but I suspect it has a great deal to do with it. I’ve experienced and seen a lot, both good and bad, and it has shaped and warped my outlook on life and others in immeasurable ways. It’s not that I just start blubbering at the TV, no, it has provided for me in that inner panic, a different perspective and given me the space to actually try and put myself in someone else’s shoes. It manifests its self in that momentary freezing to let those thoughts into my head and allows me to think for a second before taking an action or opening my mouth.
So again mostly this is about physical reaction in the world and with others but TLOU2 has been an entirely inward experience. Don’t let me lead you down the incorrect path however and I apologize if you think I’m playing the game myself, I am not. I have a list of You Tubers whom I am watching play the game. I’m intensely fascinated by watching others play and their reactions.
The story itself and because it’s the sequel to the original The Last of Us, which is a great and profound piece of art, is why I was always going to watch it in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, TLOU and TLOU2 are great American pieces of art/literature, just like any great American novel, and should be considered so.
Given the time period and the events unfolding around the world right now, thank you COVID-19, part of the reason why TLOU2 is so profound is a mirroring or reflective dynamic IRL. The world of TLOU doesn’t seem so fictitious anymore. Look at what we did at the break out of COVID-19; we panicked and bunked down. We didn’t quarantine ourselves, we bunker-ed down and there is a difference. I am deathly afraid of what would really happen if the shit really hit the fan. My bet, pure chaos would consume us within days and life as we have known it would be over. The fabric of society would dissolve and anarchy would reign.
COVID-19 is serious, but truthfully, pretty light given modern communication and medicine. For a history lesson from a different time with archaic technology just read about the Spanish Flue of 1918.
The You Tubers I’m watching haven’t finished the game yet and I’m juggling them to say within reasonable reach of one another from a story progression stand point so I’ll reserve the right to judge the game overall once the ending is revealed but so far, it’s brilliant.