first_imgIt has been about two weeks since Naughty Dog released The Last of Us for the PS3 to overwhelmingly positive critical reception. The Last of Us asks more from you than a standard video game does, though, and the way you respond will not only determine your view of the game, but possibly your view of the entire medium.Like various television shows, Naughty Dog grew up with its audience. The humor in South Park was once about cursing and farts, but while the show maintained those two timeless institutions of comedy as it grew older it began tackling delicate political issues and making clever social observations. Naughty Dog followed a similar route, beginning life with the cartoonish mascot platformer Crash Bandicoot, moving on to the colorful, lighthearted adventure Jak and Daxter, which by the second sequel, was a dark, moody, mature game — a stark contrast from the original.The team then took on the Indiana Jones-style action adventure with Uncharted, a game that featured a healthy amount of moral ambiguity and murder. Despite those themes, the Uncharted series is largely a fun, lighthearted romp. Now, with The Last of Us, there isn’t a romp to be had, only a bleak, cruel world in which survival is often not an ideal choice.The game, as you might’ve heard, is phenomenal.Semantics arguments about the quality of the game — meaning the pure gameplay mechanics — aside, the overall experience of TLOU is one of the best in gaming. In fact, I wouldn’t be the only person to wonder aloud if Naughty Dog’s fungal zombie apocalypse simulator is the first instance we’ve had of video game literature.Next page: Come on, literature? 1 2 3last_img