‘The Last of Us’ turns video game to reality

A silence has settled over the world, interrupted only by the echo of gunshots. The Cordyceps fungus has spread across Earth in “The Last of Us,” and infected beings wait in every corner to attack any survivors. Joel Miller must navigate this hostile environment with Ellie Williams, a teenage girl immune to the infection. “The Last of Us” is a show that follows Joel and Ellie’s journey through danger and is based on the video game created by Naughty Dog in 2013.

“I played both of the games, so I figured [the show] was just so cool to watch,” Amare Akins (9) said. “I like how they changed a lot of stuff but kept [the plot] to the story.”

The game “The Last of Us Part I” takes players around 15 hours to complete; however, as the series consists of only nine episodes, many plot points from the video game must be compressed or summarized.

“In the game, you have to look around and kill a lot of infected, but in the TV show they skip through all that and give us more story,” Samuel Noriega (9) said. “They fit a lot of what was largely in the game into one little episode.”

One reason that “The Last of Us” stands out from other post-apocalyptic shows are its zombies. Each type of zombie has its own name and distinctive traits, with most typically seen being runner, stalker, clicker and bloater. The range in difficulty for each enemy assists in keeping the plot interesting and intense.

“You’ve got shows like the ‘Walking Dead’ where they have one type of zombie, but with ‘The Last of Us’ you’ve got four or five,” Akins said. “It’s just unique.”

Another aspect to the show’s rising popularity is representation of underrepresented topics. In the first seven episodes, the show depicted LGBT characters, a deaf character and menstruation.

“[Representation] is important because, even though it’s the apocalypse, LGBT people didn’t go away and they still exist,” Sarah Forrester (12) said. “I feel like it’s important to still show that and not just forget about it.” 

The actors were a key point in influencing people to watch the show as well. Joel Miller is played by Pedro Pascal and Ellie Williams is played by Bella Ramsey, with both of the actors having been included in major works, such as “Game of Thrones.” However, many fans are concerned with Bella Ramsey continuing as Ellie in the second season.

“There was some controversy around [Ramsey] not looking like the character and people were getting mad about that, but in my opinion I don’t think it’s in the looks, it’s in the acting,” Noriega said. “She’s doing a really good job at portraying Ellie.”

With the season finale quickly approaching, fans are anticipating what comes next. Because the series must be a brief summary of major points from the game, fans are less likely to accurately guess what exactly is approaching. Despite deviations from the game, players of the video game are able to see the world in a more realistic lens.

“I’ve already played the game,” Noriega said. “Going through the show again makes me feel what I felt during my first play through.”

Bella Ramsey plays the role of Ellie Williams, a teenager immune to the Cordyceps fungus infection. Pedro Pascal plays the role of Joel Miller, a man who planned to take Ellie to a revolutionary group in exchange for supplies.
“The Last of Us” premiered on HBOmax on Jan. 15, 2023, and new episodes come out every Sunday at 9 p.m.. The show’s first season will have nine episodes that follow the plot of “The Last of Us Part I” video game. (GOOGLE IMAGES)