So I guess now we’re duty-bound to come up with more euphemisms for toilet paper. Do your best!
The game improves so much the moment we rejoin Ellie. I think one of the reasons that I can tolerate Joel being a heel is that we aren’t given any agency at all over his actions. If the game gave you a BioWare / TellTale style dialog choice once in a while, or offered you a “Press X to punch Bill in the face, square to give him a high-five”, then we’d resent all the other occasions where the game didn’t give us a choice. Being offered meaningless choices is more annoying than having no choices at all.
I suppose it also helps that we have a character-based reason for Joel’s behavior. We can see he’s wrong, but he’s wrong because of personal problems that are central to his character. He’s not just denying her a gun because the game designers didn’t think it would work from a gameplay perspective.
If I can bring up Mass Effect 2 without opening old woundsActually, those wounds never closed. But whatever. then it provides a good contrast. Shepard makes TONS of galaxy-changing decisions, so us not being able to refuse to work with The Illusive ManThere are some who call him… TIM? feels really out of place. Worse, he doesn’t have a reason that works for usOkay, it works for some players.. He’s enslaved by the plot, which means we’re enslaved by the plot, which means all those other little choices feel frustrating and condescending. Like, I can’t refuse to work with this crazy terrorist moron, but I’m allowed to be a dick to Veetor for no reason.
Because of this difference, Joel’s reluctance to give Ellie a firearm feels like narrative tension and not railroading. And when he finally breaks down and trusts her to protect him, we understand he’s taking a huge step. It’s entirely possible this is the first positive step he’s taken in 20 years to cope with his daughter’s murder.
 Actually, those wounds never closed. But whatever.
 There are some who call him… TIM?
 Okay, it works for some players.
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
A Star is Born
Remember the superhero MMO from 2009? Neither does anyone else. It was dumb. So dumb I was compelled to write this.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
The Plot-Driven Door
You know how videogames sometimes do that thing where it's preposterously hard to go through a simple door? This one is really bad.