Subversive Play – The Last of Us

For my project, I played The Last of Us, one of the most critically acclaimed games from 2013.

I misplayed the game by messing with its cinematic timing and its combat mechanics.

In the prologue of the game, I take on the role of a father carrying his daughter to safety amidst the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. I was supposed to carry her through the chaotic city, escaping the panicking crowd and advancing zombies. Instead, I took my time slowly enjoying the scenery. At this point, the game forces me to keep up with its predetermined cinematic pace by killing me with a zombie. Their will to do so is so strong, they programmed the zombie to jump straight through walls in order to eat me. They really want me dead.

Sorry about camera being vertical…wasn’t thinking when I recorded this.


The second misplay I did is that during every single fight sequence, instead of being the macho protagonist I was intended to be, I would hide behind cover and let my female teammates, who had infinite health and ammo, take on the onslaught of our enemies.

I died a lot. It was significantly more difficult than if I just ran-and-gunned my way through. However, my teammates did come and save me when I am ganged up on, and would give me bandages after a battle. But it also takes them 2-3 minutes to defeat each opponent. They would also miss point blank gunshots. I felt pretty powerless during those moments, constantly hoping that my teammate would win the fist fight and that my enemies would not find me in the corner. I felt like a dasmel in distress outlined by Anita Sarkeesian.

In summary, my teammates are programmed to be powerful so they aren’t liabilities, but also extremely bad so they won’t steal the action spotlight. In the end, it was much more entertaining for me than if I bashed my way through the game, and much more frustrating for people watching me play.

more screenshots of this: