The Last of Us is a survival horror video game based in the post-apocalyptic United States. This piece of art has won over 200 awards including Game of the Year of 2013. But why? Is it the survival factor? Is it the stunning eye-candy graphics and gameplay? Or is it something that can be interpreted and relatable? It isn’tjust a coincidence that something that may be relatable can make gorgeous sales. The Last of Us breaks this boundary In this game, there are zombie-like creatures mutated by Cordyceps; a fungus.
Cordyceps are a parasitic fungus that takes of the host of mainly insects and other arthropods, This fungus spreads, reanimates and replaces the host’s tissue creating a cylindrical form of mycelium. Something this terrifying seems fictional This story makes the squeamish look away in fear thanking God that isn’t on them. This single act of nature terrifies us, humans, naturally. Any disease in that matter terrifies us in this game, the protagonist Joel wears a gas mask in most infected areas because he fears he would become infected himself.
This alone interprets our civilization in reality. The fear of simply getting the common cold enables actions of isolation from “the infected,” or the sick.
This fear changes human interaction completely. When a human sneezes, the person next to them jerks a few inches away naturally, Not because they think they’re nasty or disgusting, (well maybe) but primarily because they don’t want to become ”infected” with whatever Virus they have.
It creates conflict. Joel throughout the game battles the infected, easily interpreted as a common human taking precaution to prevent this disease Cleaning a surface before touching it, isolating themselves from the sick, or simply taking vitamins. The Last of Us is an uneasy symbol of what America is today Joel travels across the country to find every city in every state is the same; infected with a virus, and those who aren’t infected are still feared of being thieves or murderers, Sound familiar? Does this not sound like a tourist just touring the country? It’s that keyword “fear” that posses civilization greater than cordyceps to a host. It’s a fear that is so great it spreads worldwide, One disease that is very much commercialized and has inflicted fear in all humans is Ebola. We’re living in a never ending chain of ”we finally found the cure” and “there’s a new viral epidemic,” The Last of Us depicted this well in 12—16 hours of gameplay.