The Last of Us EP29: All The Emotions

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 11, 2014

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 108 comments

Link (YouTube)

I seriously need to play this game so I can enjoy this story without all these other guys talking over it. This is really an amazing scene.

Also, some of you might not be able to watch this episode. Because of this:


No, I don’t think I can dispute it. “Fair use” isn’t always applicable in these cases.

While I do get mad at how stupid and brute-force content ID is, that’s not even the most infuriating part of this. It’s the sheer grasping desperation and idiocy of copyright holders that enrages me. This is a tinny rendition of one part of an song with SIX PEOPLE talking over itFour four of us, plus the two in-game people.. It is impossible for this to harm the sales of this song in any way. It can only do good. Here you’ve got a song playing over the emotional climax of a tear-jerking story. That’s not copyright infringement. That’s ADVERTISING. You idiots.

The people running these companies really have no idea what the internet is and how it works, and their ignorant temper-tantrums are a massive waste of time and aggravation for all of us. If nothing else, they should just run an advertisement for the music in question. That would be gross and ugly, but at least SOMEONE would benefit. Right now they are intentionally blocking the only airplay this song is likely to get.This is like locking people out of your store because you’re afraid of shoplifters.

Will you people hurry up and die and leave your media companies to people who know what they’re doing?



[1] Four four of us, plus the two in-game people.

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108 thoughts on “The Last of Us EP29: All The Emotions

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Damn,I was just about to call that kiss in the last episode,but I was like “Nah,they arent going to go there.Better not say anything or Ill look like a perv.”.And then it happened.Damn it.Wide And Nerdy,this is your fault,you infected me with a D virus*.

    Anyway,Im not sure a single kiss between two girl best friends at that age of raging hormones and in such an intense emotional situation can be called a romance.Sure,theres lots of feels,and there sure is love,but its not of the romantic kind.

    *Before anyone says douche,I meant doubt.

    1. TouToTheHouYo says:

      I would argue that, as portrayed, Ellie and Riley’s relationship is genuinely believable, especially for two likely undereducated and underexposed teenage girls in the post-apocalypse, both of whom seem to have not much of anyone else in their lives at that point. Awkward, strained, and probably unrecognized until the threat of separation forces them to acknowledge their feeling for one another. Change Riley’s gender and there’d be little doubt in the matter.

      1. Zoe M. says:

        Yeah, but as a statistic, 97-ish percent of similar friendships between same-gendered young people will not go there. It feels like a token “We’re Progressive Too, Guys!” Inclusion that really didn’t need to be there. Like they saw Gone Home and decided it’s in vogue.

        Especially since they already had token gay characters in the main game – it just comes off as really uncomfortable and weird. Kinda like BioWare’s “eighty percent of our characters are gay or bi! And we’ll hit you over the head with it repeatedly! Agree with us or stop playing the game!” – just not as extreme.

        1. krellen says:

          I was getting a lesbian vibe the whole time, so it seemed natural to me.

          1. Zoe M. says:

            Really? I got the same vibe as any number of school-aged best friends.
            Which, I’m not saying that it wouldn’t happen – just that it feels shoved in, statistically speaking.

            1. Akri says:

              But is that because there wasn’t romantic subtext, or because your default assumption when seeing two girls interact is that the interaction is platonic?

              If Riley was a guy, would you still not see anything suggesting that this was more than simply two friends hanging out? I mean, the whole thing works as a star-crossed lovers plot. Riley is a Firefly, and isn’t allowed to actually be anywhere near Ellie, because Ellie is with the other faction. But she sneaks in, risking her life, so that they can spend one day together before she gets deployed. That’s a pretty standard romance plot. “Wherefore art thou a Firefly?”

              1. Zoe M. says:

                It’s my default assumption ’cause it’s true the vast majority of the time. Especially when said girls are 14-ish, and all the typical hormones (and boy craziness) are due to kick in.
                Sure, if Riley was a guy that would make sense. ‘Cause the vast majority of guys and girls are straight. We don’t need lesbian subtext. It does nothing for anything. It’s just as poignant if they’re friends.

                1. Akri says:

                  So your assessment of whether or not a scene is romantic has nothing to do with the actual scene, and relies solely on the genders of the people involved?

                  Also, I strongly disagree with this:

                  “We don't need lesbian subtext. It does nothing for anything.”

                  There is very little lesbian (or otherwise non-straight) representation in media. This is true everywhere, but it is especially true in videogames. And in aggregate it’s problematic, because it presents the idea that heterosexuality is “normal” and being gay is “abnormal.” Which is seriously problematic for everyone who isn’t straight.

                  I agree that this game specifically doesn’t “need” a lesbian romance, but I don’t agree that having one “does nothing for anything”. It adds characterization to Ellie, and it gives representation to a group that is usually either ignored or treated as male fanservice.

                  Edit to add: the game doesn’t “need” any romance, except as a way to expand on Ellie’s character. So her being gay is no more or less relevant than Ellie being straight, and complaints that it isn’t necessary are only valid if you would make the same complaint about any romantic subplot here.

                  1. Zoe M. says:

                    I’m sorry, but as a member of not one but two sub-3%-of-the-population Acronym Soup minorities (one of which is less than 1/3 of 1% of the US population) I am very confident in saying – neither of those minorities are ‘normal’. They’re different. Not bad, but not normal either. And when your stated goal is to deliberately normalize one of those minorities – well, you’ve ended up with a specific agenda that not everyone will agree with, and ended up alienating just about 45% of your potential audience.

                    LGBT folks make up about 3% of the US population. If 3% of your named and significant characters are gay, there’s no issue. If it’s closer to 1 in 6, though (Or in BioWare’s case, 4 in 5)… Yeah. You’re pushing an agenda. Which is somewhat exclusionary towards anyone who disagrees.
                    It’s kinda like a game where 95% of the cast are Christians, and a sermon makes a prominent appearance in an otherwise unrelated game. (As a bonus, it’s the climax of a $10 DLC that makes no mention of sermons or religion). Sure, it might happen… But it wouldn’t, unless the game’s set in Utah, and it makes a great deal of sense for some folks to be pissed when they find out what they just bought and played.

                    1. Viktor says:

                      So you can include LGBTQ people, but only if you exclude bigots? Sounds like a win-win to me.

                    2. Dinwar says:

                      First off, 3% is a ridiculous number. Homosexuality is notoriously under-reported (remember, there are still states that deny homosexuals basic civil rights), and it ignores the fact that human sexuality is known to exist on a continuum. Well, multiple continuums, but the Kinsey Scale is the relevant one here.

                      Second off, you’re right. There IS an agenda. That agenda is to make people not hate homosexuals, by showing that they’re human beings. If that upsets folks, frankly I’m glad–I’d rather such people not associate with me.

                      Of course, by fighting that agenda, YOU have an agenda. And since agendas are bad, that makes YOUR agenda bad. See the flaw here?

                    3. Zoe M. says:

                      My ‘agenda’ is to stop people from directing hatred at those who disagree with their opinions on various matters by drawing attention to that hatred, and its kinda hypocritical nature.

                      I’m squarely in the middle of this argument – B, T, and conservative Christian to boot. I’m kinda tired of the hatred being thrown from all sides – real hatred, that denigrates and dismisses people based either on their beliefs or their identity. I’ve lost friends. And relatives. From both sides of the debate. People who, if they don’t actually hate me, go out of their way to detest and break down who I am or what I believe.

                      As far as I’m concerned, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” should work both ways – for those who are LGBT, and for those who think we’re in the wrong. Nothing wrong with either view, as long as it doesn’t involve hateful actions (such as dismissing entire worldviews as bigoted!) Tolerate, see? Not just those you agree with, but those you don’t. In fact, tolerate everyone but the actual offenders.

                      (Oh, and 3.8% (to be exact) is the figure from the Williams Institute study on the subject, including all LGBT… Identities
                      (And finally, I’m not publishing a paid work for money. Game companies are. “Hidden agenda” is a game name, and should remain nothing more. There was a similar discussion on Spec Ops a while back, with the conclusion being that – yeah, if you’re in the market for a dudebro shooter and get a deconstruction of the same, you have some right to feel a little decieved.)

                    4. Akri says:

                      We weren’t talking about folks being pissed by the homosexuality here. We were talking about whether or not this scene is actually written as a romance (which it is, and I pointed out how the plot follows a fairly standard romance trope), and about whether or not there is any benefit to having a lesbian relationship here.

                      You said this wasn’t needed, and I gave two reasons why it was: character development, and to give representation to a group that typically doesn’t get any. You haven’t addressed the first, and you’ve pretty much confirmed the second by pointing out that the mere existence of homosexuality in media is alienating to some people. If that’s how people react to fictional homosexuality, how do they treat actual homosexuals?

                    5. Dinwar says:

                      So….you’re only allowed to express an opinion if you don’t make money doing so. Because…reasons.

                      And people should view folks trying to have homosexuals legally forbidden from holding political offices, exercising civil rights, etc., as morally equivalent to folks who just want to live their lives and happen to be homosexual. Because….they both push an agenda? Or something?

                      Tolerance means I don’t violate your rights. It DOES NOT mean that I grant moral equivalency. I will always support those who advocate for equal rights and always oppose those who try to destroy that goal–all tolerance means is that I have limits to what I’ll do in that regard. I won’t physically harm you. I WILL call you out on logical errors, factual errors, and irrationality.

                      And I’d love to see how they got 3.8% for “…all LGBT….Identities”, given known biases in reporting and the fact that with very few exceptions NO ONE is purely homosexual or purely heterosexual. Those two facts alone render any statement regarding frequency suspect at best, and downright counter-productive at worst. The science of human sexuality is in its infancy, and as was the case with every science at this stage there are some absolutely horrifically incorrect concepts being tossed about.

                      None of which gets to the point. Or, rather, does in a round-about way. If this scene really caused such emotional turmoil, it obviously WAS necessary. This is art. It spoke to you. The message was uncomfortable, but that in no way negates the fact that the art had an impact. No one said that art has to be feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy happyfuntimes. Some of the most moving art in history has been the most disturbing. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is a classic example–it made people so uncomfortable they rose up in arms to change society. “1984” is another. “Equilibrium” had a scene that I couldn’t watch for a while, because of some things in my past. If a video game can cause this much of a reaction, that is good, and it’s proof positive that the artists made the correct choice. Here we are, discussing politics, religion, ethics, aesthetics, and rhetoric, all because two people in a game kissed. Quite an accomplishment.

                    6. Shamus says:

                      This is sliding into politics. Moreover, I think the politics here are kind of a red herring.

                      “And people should view folks trying to have homosexuals legally forbidden from holding political offices, exercising civil rights, etc., as morally equivalent to folks who just want to live their lives and happen to be homosexual.”

                      There’s a spectrum here, from “This makes me uncomfortable” to “these people should not have rights”. If you lump them all together you end up with a flamewar that does no good. Let’s back off from that and focus on the game.

                      “NO ONE is purely homosexual or purely heterosexual.”

                      Ugh. I hate this. HATE. This line of argument. It presumes to say incredibly broad things about ALL people in a way that I don’t think any one human is equipped to do. I’ve run into this in the past, and it usually flows like this:

                      ABE: Everyone is at least a LITTLE gay.

                      BEN: I’m NOT! I’ve never had a gay thought in my life! Here are things about me that prove your assertion is wrong: X Y Z

                      ABE: Oh! Hit a nerve there, did I? I think you protest too much.

                      CAROL: Yeah, Ben’s reflexively defensive response shows a self-loathing of his latent homosexual side.

                      My prediction: Ben is not going to gain a greater understanding of gays in this exchange. There are some people I know who aren’t as open towards gays as I might hope, and they have conversations like this all the time. Instead of debating the essentials, they end up getting psycho-analyzed by creepy internet strangers. At this point I don’t think they actually hate gays, but they REALLY hate people who defend gays. (Alas.)

                      Sigh. Understanding each other is tough.

                      For my part: This was one of the most touching and yet gut-wrenching (because we know how this turns out) moments I’ve ever experienced in a game.

                      And just to dump some water on this topic before any more fires start: If Ellie is truly a lesbian (and not just experimenting as some young people do) then this has some interesting side-effects for the future. She’s the only immune person we know of. What if her immunity is something that could be inherited? She could someday face pressure (internal or external) to hook up with a guy in hopes of passing on her super-genes. That would be a hell of a choice to have to make.

                    7. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      ” If Ellie is truly a lesbian (and not just experimenting as some young people do) then this has some interesting side-effects for the future. She's the only immune person we know of.”

                      Of course,it all makes sense now!Gay makes you immune to the fungus,because its a raging homophobe.Joel should become flaming to the max and he would have no more fear.

                    8. A gould says:

                      Taking the 4% number at face value – we have easily seen 50 characters on screen to date, so two possibly-gay people is within the statistics.

                      Now, most of the other 48 are idiot menfolk raiders, but that’s their fault for being mooks.

                    9. Dinwar says:

                      I will admit to over-selling my case (the “NO ONE is purely homosexual or heterosexual” bit). My point is that there is demonstrably a scale of sexuality. And the only reason I brought that up was as a criticism of a sociological methodology. It’s one of a number of biases that render the 3% number essentially meaningless. The reality is that human sexuality is a sliding scale. I consider myself straight–married a woman, don’t have any interest in men. But there have been two guys that I’ve had a crush on. Doesn’t make me bisexual; it makes me a 1.25 or so. That sort of nuance is unbelievably difficult to capture in a survey, particularly in a culture that already doesn’t like homosexuality. That was my only point: you can’t pin numbers down on this issue yet, because there’s no way to examine the numbers without insurmountable biases creeping in.

                      Zoe, I apologize for the hyperbole. It’s a bad habit that’s hard to break.

                      I do like the idea of the game setting up a tension between her being able to pass on her immunity, and her sexuality. The Halo books touch on that concept, very briefly, and it would be exciting to see that explored more.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Believable,yes.It does happen in the real world.But its not romantic.

        1. Dinwar says:

          I’m curious: What is the criteria for being romantic? I only recall one kiss that wasn’t romantic (you kinda had to be there…). And as Akri said, this sort of kissing is jargon in the entertainment industry as a whole, intended to convey romance, or at least romantic inclination. I’m curious as to why you differentiate this from other, more obvious romantic actions.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Because I differentiate romance from lust.

    2. Akri says:

      This comment confuses me. Like, I really don’t see why them being hormonal teenagers, best friends, or in an intense emotional situation means the kiss wasn’t romantic. Maybe I’m not understanding you? Because plenty of romance stories happen under those kinds of conditions.

      And it’s not like the romance consists of just a kiss and nothing else. This whole sequence has basically been Riley taking Ellie on a date. Maybe it’s because I knew the kiss was coming, but I got a “romance” vibe from the entire thing.

      1. Aitch says:

        And after seeing it this time, I’m left unsure if it was anything more than a solid friendship in a world where life is fleeting and trust is rare. I tried seeing it through the lens of romance, or nascent sexuality, or progressive shoehorning, and I’m really just not buying it in those contexts. Love, of course. But it was a brief kiss of affection, not some extended 80’s action flick bridge fill of a sex scene.

        At least in my experience, women tend toward having a different code of acceptable social behaviors than the typical bro-dudes. I don’t typically see men hugging when they meet or haven’t seen each other in a while – the best you get is a gruff slap on the palm. Women, though? Hugs and kisses, all around. Of course I’m generalizing, but hopefully it’s obvious what I’m trying to get across.

        Especially in a world where society is down to a handful of people, and most examples and references are either rendered null from the apocalyptic setting or simply don’t exist anymore?
        It could be interpreted any number of ways, and I’m realizing it’s more the audience being left to see it as they will.

        For example, there was a guy in the Youtube comments that was certain the water gun fight was some sort of pedophilic fantasy done by the devs for purposes of perversion. But the only reason he associates wet clothing with anything remotely sexual is from the wet t-shirt contest, where a white tank top is turned transparent to skirt strip club licensing issues – something rooted in preapocalyptic society which should have no bearing on the tone of events shown. Just his own odd mixed up preconceived notions that we all carry around. Cigars being simple cigars and images of a pipe not being the real article and all that jazz.

        Anyway, I have to wonder if we’re all putting these sorts of notions into this situation where they don’t belong. Or if it was left intentionally undefined just for that purpose, so the audience would rely on their own believable experiences to define the relationship rather than spelling it out awkwardly in the script.

        Ultimately, it was a blurry line between friendship and love that, go figure, many people that age find themselves on. Which is why it feels so much more real than most other attempts done so far. Golf clap awarded, you’re damn near showing a bit of humanity, Games. Congrats.

        1. Akri says:

          “At least in my experience, women tend toward having a different code of acceptable social behaviors than the typical bro-dudes. I don't typically see men hugging when they meet or haven't seen each other in a while ““ the best you get is a gruff slap on the palm. Women, though? Hugs and kisses, all around. Of course I'm generalizing, but hopefully it's obvious what I'm trying to get across.”

          Your experiences are different than mine, then, because in my experience girls who are straight, sober, not joking around, and not experimenting with the sexuality, do not kiss one another on the lips.

          But even if this sort of thing does happen, it doesn’t really occur in media. In media kissing is one of the signs for “this character has romantic feelings for that character”. A kiss on the lips is never really done to show a platonic relationship, and it feels really weird to me to say that because this is two girls kissing, the kiss wasn’t intended to be taken the way we would read a heterosexual kiss.

          “For example, there was a guy in the Youtube comments that was certain the water gun fight was some sort of pedophilic fantasy done by the devs for purposes of perversion. But the only reason he associates wet clothing with anything remotely sexual is from the wet t-shirt contest, where a white tank top is turned transparent to skirt strip club licensing issues ““ something rooted in preapocalyptic society which should have no bearing on the tone of events shown. Just his own odd mixed up preconceived notions that we all carry around. Cigars being simple cigars and images of a pipe not being the real article and all that jazz.”

          I don’t think that’s really an accurate comparison. First, there are non-sexual contexts for a watergun fight, whereas a kiss on the lips pretty much always signifies romance (in American media, at least, even if this might not be the case in real life). Secondly, there are things which you would expect to see if this scene was intended as a sexual fantasy, which aren’t there (the shirts don’t become see-through, for example). Meanwhile in a romance you would expect there to be kissing, and we have kissing. This isn’t vague. If Riley was a guy there’d be no debate.

          1. Melodious Punk (@Meodiou5Punk) says:

            One of the writers did an interview here where he confirmed when writing the DLC he wrote Ellie as being gay. They also released Left Behind on Valentine’s Day as a hint (by coincidence that was the same day Ellen Page gave her gay rights speech where she came out).

            1. Kerethos says:

              I reject this notion that men don’t hug!

              I hug my friends when I see them, and I hug my friends when they leave. Sometimes I hug my friends in between them showing up and them leaving. I’ve hugged colleges I’ve liked, because they made working fun, and I hug my sister’s boyfriends – to make them feel welcome in the family. I’ve even hugged colleges after we’ve had an argument, as a way to make up and show there’s no hard feelings.

              Too me there’s nothing sexual about a hug. A hug is just an extended “Welcome”, “Goodbye” or “Thank you” to me; something easy you can do to show someone you like them and make them feel more at ease, or a way to show support or acceptance.

              And in my experience men hug. But maybe that’s a Swedish thing?
              Now I’m actually quite curious about that, how do you people from other nations hug? Why do you hug? What does a hug mean to you?

              1. Akri says:

                American here, and my experience with hugging is the same as yours. Not everybody does it a lot (guys or girls) but that seems to have more to do with touch-aversion than hugs being romantic/sexual.

              2. Wide And Nerdy says:

                In my experience it varies by group but some men do hug and some don’t. Seems a little more common with my younger guy friends actually which could be a good sign that we’re moving away from some unneeded male expectations.

                But women I’ve known are more comfortable hugging. And a lot of media has reinforced that.

                Still, yeah, a kiss generally means romance and thats is clearly whats intended here. Though we should keep in mind that at the age these girls were, its a very underdeveloped concept of what love/romance is (I don’t care how much faster girls mature, they don’t really grasp that kind of love at that age).

                Someone else posted this should happen only three percent of the time, which bugs me because it should actually be less. The chances of both of them being gay/bi are much lower than that and even if they are, you don’t automatically mack on everyone with compatible sexuality do you?

                But thats just the math nerd in me. For story purposes? Eh, whatever. I like Shamus’ argument about the potential implications.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  And now I can’t edit the above for some reason. Great. Enjoy my typos folks.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    The reason being:Shamus is trying to remove something potentially bad by hacking off features.

                    And yes,we will enjoy.

                2. RCN says:

                  Well, the chance of both of them being gay or bi might be low, but if they were, they would naturally seek each other out and become at least friends.

                  Interestingly, sexual orientation is often not even related to sexual maturity. I’ve known people who knew they were gay before they even reached puberty.

                  As for hugging… you think it would be accepted here in Brazil, but nope. There’s actually a very strong machismo culture here, especially within the country. And a strong anti-homosexual movement (one of our most re-elected senators gets his chair based solely on his campaign against gay rights, going on record to say he’d rather his son died than come out to him as a homosexual… to public ovation).

                  From my experience, hugging among men (and kissing) is more common in Europe in general, especially on the Scandinavian countries, France and the Iberic countries.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Because teens can easily confuse stuff at that time of their life.Usually its lust for love,but friendship for lust is not unheard of.And thats in the best of conditions,when emotions arent as confused as they are in a tough situation like this one.

        “Because plenty of romance stories happen under those kinds of conditions.”

        Yes.Because situations like this tend to make emotions confused,even in adults.Its only later,when you clear your head,that you can realize whether the feelings were genuine or confused.

        “And it's not like the romance consists of just a kiss and nothing else. This whole sequence has basically been Riley taking Ellie on a date. Maybe it's because I knew the kiss was coming, but I got a “romance” vibe from the entire thing.”

        Oh definitely,there is a strong bond between the two.And like Ive said,there is genuine love.But love doesnt have to be romantic.You can love your family and you can love your friends.It doesnt have to involve romance.And the line can be blurry to the outsiders,and when you are in an intense situation,or have your hormones out of balance(or both),it can become blurry to those experiencing the feeling as well.

        It could be actual romantic love,of course,but I sincerely doubt it.Dont get me wrong,Im not opposed to lesbian romance,Im just going by whats most likely for kids of that age and in tough emotional situations.

        1. Akri says:

          Love doesn’t have to be romantic, but this sequence fits a romantic trope (star-crossed lovers; it’s even on the game’s tv tropes page) perfectly. Now, that on it’s own could be taken as either a romantic scene or a platonic one, but it ends with a kiss. In American media that signifies romance, regardless of whether you think it would indicate romantic intent in real life. Personally, I think it would–confused romantic feelings, or romantic feelings that are doomed to go down in flames, are still romantic feelings when they occur. Even if Ellie is just confused she’s confused in a way that is, at this moment, manifesting as a romantic attraction toward another girl.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I agree with both of you. I think what this scene is clearly pulling those tropes and I think kids this age can get confused about things.

            And I appreciate where Daemian is coming from. Its long bugged me when people assume to close male characters must be gay. Like Frodo and Sam. Huge huge pet peeve. It says to me that people think to guys can’t have that devotion unless there’s sex and romantic attachment involved. That two people can’t possibly care about each other that much unless they want to pork.

            I understand it in some cases. I know times were different and writers had to sneak their gay characters into stories but Tolkien was Roman Catholic and drawing on his war experiences. This was a real thing. And to see all the snickering cheapens our cultural take on human nature.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Like Frodo and Sam.”

              Actually,people assume those two are gay because the movies did a poor job of presenting their friendship.In the books,they are just close friends.In the movies,they are gay.Ok,frodo is at least.But again,thats because of the poor presentation of him in the movies.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    13:47 – I resent that,Chris.This is not nearly as polished or as fun as doom.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chronicle did the found footage thing well.But thats because chronicle jumped from camera to camera,instead of being constrained to just one.And paranormal activity 1 is praised for what it did(didnt watch it,so cant comment).But other than those two,yeah they are pretty ridiculous.Especially because they show us these dinky store bought cameras that you just know cannot produce such crystal clear picture in such a situation.

    1. JackTheStripper says:

      Chronicle did the found footage well, except for the impossible shots and double cameras, so… not well at all.

    2. The problem(s) with Found Footage movies is twofold for me:

      1. There needs to be a reason for the camera being present and being on.
      2. Suspension of disbelief for the audience that what they’re seeing is actually found footage can be really hard, if not impossible.

      #1 is getting easier to accomplish, since we’ve become basically a surveillance society. #2 is far more difficult, due to things like battery life, memory limitations, crappy resolution, and the dilemma of steadying the shot and making it not seem realistic vs. making the audience so motion-sick they paint the floor of the theater.

      1. ehlijen says:

        As an expansion:

        Found footage movies have a much greater need to restrict the footage to absolutely essential scenes (which also requires superb establishing ability from the writers).
        The problem with cloverfield (as far as the found footage angle goes anyway) is not that they had a camera they kept lugging around; it’s that they didn’t turn it off nearly often enough to be believable.
        A panicked man in the middle of a catastrophe of unknown origin might well decide that filming what he can is both useful for posterity which helps him feel not insignificant (probably an issue in the face of building eating monsters chasing you) and simply giving himself something to do. But there is no way such a panicking person would be able to give as good shots of the action as the movie presented.

        Found footage works for stories made up of pieces with gaps in between that allow the audience to puzzle things out. It is almost impossible to make it work for a movie that relies on action scenes. Even if you made “Space Marine Helmet-cam: The Movie”, you’d have to fudge the protagonist’s attention span and priorities to get any kind of useable movie footage. (Compare Valve design notes about how difficult it is to get players to make Gordon look in the right direction to not miss the cool cinematics.)

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Im surprised that still no one tried to do found footage with brain cameras.There was a short scene with that in one old movie,and there was one short scene in a black mirror episode,but not a full length movie.And that would easily explain why the camera was never turned off and why the picture is crystal clear.

          1. “Brain cameras.”

            Um… yeah. Sure. That’ll help the ol’ suspension of disbelief there… :)

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Found footage doesnt have to be set just in modern times.Nothing wrong with setting it in the future.

              1. Wolf says:

                Actually… What is the difference between braincam found footage and shooting an entire film from a first person perspective?
                I was starting to imagine a found footage film where we gradually find out that we are following a robot until he looks into a mirror or whatever and I am almost positive this “the monster is you” thing must have been done with first person perspective already.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Aside from the setup(“we found this footage” vs “this person saw this”),nothing.Its just a technique that can be used for so many cool things,and yet we limit it to (mostly) crappy horror.

                  1. Except trying to make me believe I’m seeing what someone else saw is really difficult to pull off, since there’s so much that can look wrong. I know the footage is from a camera no matter what techniques are employed, so why not just use a camera? Further, the view would have to dart around as someone moved their head (unless they’re paralyzed or have Robocop’s neck), the FOV would have to be remotely believable, and focus would have to shift wildly to simulate someone’s real-life eyeballs. If those fail, it’s as realistic as the two overlapping circles movies use for binocular-vision when it should just be one round aperture.

                    The additional problem of it being a phlebotinum-based technology has its own pile of hand-waves to go along with it. This is a problem because at the moment, “found footage” is supposed to at least make a passing stab at being in the current era or the past. I don’t think anyone would want to sit through a Star Trek movie consisting of what was pulled out of Ensign Cannonfodder’s brain-cam.

  4. Twisted_Ellipses says:

    I’m curious about what countries it’s actually blocked in, the video is viewable in the UK and we’re usually over-zealous with that stuff…

    1. TheUnHidden says:

      Well it’s not viewable in Germany. I can tell you that for a fact. They tend to be a bit zealously here as well.

      But that’s why i have a nice litte cheap linux vps in a location in the US fully loaded with youtube-dl so that i can just rip them if they don’t behave (note, i only do it in cases like this.) I could use a proxy of sorts but most are just bad.

      1. Thomas says:

        Germany is 10x worse than the UK. It’s horrible what living in Germany did to my youtube. Frigging GEMA

      2. lethal_guitar says:

        I use ProxMate. It’s just a Chrome plugin and works like a charm, no need to mess with proxies and the like.

        Should come pre-installed when you download Chrome from Germany.. ;)

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Those raiders are actually fappening hackers,and they want to steal Ellen Pages phone.

  6. Gruhunchously says:

    It’s interesting to note that this DLC came out the same day that Ellen Page did.

  7. Spammy says:

    I am also on the boat that while it’s kinda cool to have a more full section of Ellie play, this is kind of ruining the next chapter.

    In the next chapter it’s a surprise that you’re running into this band again. That you’ve suddenly run into these dudes whose friends you killed, and however clumsily the game ties to make you feel guilty about going to murdertown on everyone.

    I mean not that you had a choice not to go to murdertown. I think the only time you get the choice is at the literal last bit of gameplay when it doesn’t matter any more because it’s a button press, a cutscene, and roll credits.

    1. Thomas says:

      I think they’re trying to bait and switch though. They make you feel guilty, and then immediately work to stop you from feeling guilty, so that you’re fine going to murdertown on _these_ guys, but the general idea of guilt has been sown in time for the climax.

      1. Ivan says:

        If that was the plan then I don’t think it was executed very well. You can’t make me feel guilty for something the game didn’t give me a choice about. All this forced guilt does, is convince me that your game is stupid and I should stop caring so much about the plot (or i’ll start getting angry about how stupid it is).

        Just as a point of reference, I’m playing Dark Souls for the second time and breaking out wikies and forums to try to play around with different weapons and figure out how to optimize them. I’m doing a dexterity build on this character and I am having a really hard time trying to decide weather or not to kill Priscilla. I mean I want to try out both the weapon dropped from her tail and made from her soul, but not only will she only fight you in retaliation, but she tries to help you get out of a zone that you would otherwise be trapped in.

        Really, you can only make the player feel guilty if they actually choose to be a dick.

        1. Thomas says:

          Maybe “you” is the wrong word. This isn’t Spec Ops where you’re meant to feel bad as a person for playing the game. This is a story about a bad person who you play as.

          I’m still pretty sure you’re meant to stop empathising with Joel at some point in the game. I feel like there’s a distinction between player and protagonist here, and that guilt is one of the things that drives the wedge. You’re not meant to leave the game feeling guilty, you leave thinking _Joel_ maybe guilty.

          Sure you had no choice about it, but then you begin to think about whether Joel has no choice about it. And then you conclude he didn’t, but then we reach the next act of the game and even more people are dying because of what Joel does, and you ask yourself if maybe his lifestyle is putting him in a position where he feels like he has to kill people and there could be a way to live where that’s not your only option.

          That’s at least how I felt playing the game, and I was worried because when the whole cannibal thing is brought up, I thought they were letting Joel off the hook. But then the final act of the game suggests that yes, there’s something messed up with Joel in particular that puts him in these situations

        2. IFS says:

          Priscilla: “This land is peaceful, its inhabitants kind.”

          Me: Riiiiiight.

  8. shamann says:

    “It is impossible for this to harm the sales of this song in any way.”

    Retail sales aren’t an important part of the business model being defended by this kind of claim, it’s licensing that’s at issue. Music used as soundtrack is big business, likely the only significant revenue that UMG sees from a back catalogue recording like the one disputed.

    1. guy says:

      Somehow, I seriously doubt this will make people less likely to use it as a soundtrack in the future.

      1. shamann says:

        I don’t think that’s the concern, more a concern to protect brand value and exclusivity, similar to thinking of back catalogue in terms of trademark.

        Their hand is heavy, no doubt, but free advertising is of minimal value for their revenue concerns, which often lean more towards the collection of royalties. They (the large corporation variety) also tend to think in terms of “this belongs to us, pay us if you wish to touch it.”

  9. Thomas says:

    Football (soccer) would survive the apocalypse. All you need is a fairly light spherical object and four piles of things for goalposts.

    You can go to the remotest places in the middle of nowhere and everyone still plays football. It’s one of the strengths of the sport over something like Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, American Football or Basketball, is you can pretty much adapt it to any situation where you have people and a ball.

    1. Humanoid says:

      That and I think there was some research about if you give a group of people a generic ball with no specific instruction of how it’s meant to be used, they’ll eventually gravitate towards kicking it regardless of how they initially use it.

      So if all the rules of organised sport were somehow destroyed in the apocalypse, the survivors would probably just end up inventing association football (soccer) all over again. Or if the ball is insufficiently spherical, maybe they’d invent Australian Rules football. :D

      1. Tizzy says:

        They would probably play football with a can. That’s the first sport that came to my mind too.

        And, yeah, I said “they”, not “we”. I have to assume I’d be fungus food in short order.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Havent we actually seen a soccer “field” in that bunker in the sewers?

      1. Thomas says:

        Oh yeah! Confirmed, soccer more apocalypse proof than cockroaches

  10. Dreadjaws says:

    “Will you people hurry up and die and leave your _____________ to people who know what they're doing?”

    Oh, man, every day I find myself thinking this more and more. It’s saddening how these people could be reaping amazing benefits from keeping up with technology and instead they have consumers wishing for their deaths just so someone can come up and do a proper job.

    1. Tom says:

      The worst aspect of this mindset for me, as an engineer, is when people try to impose boundaries and limitations onto new, inherently borderless technologies, either so they can live like robber barons off the border-crossing fees, or just because they’re too lazy, incompetent or unimaginative to survive as a business at all in a borderless world.

      DVD regions and SIM carrier locking are two of the most perverse and infuriating examples that spring to mind, but the ultimate example is that the fundamental aim of all DRM itself is, when you get right down to it, to try to take a computer – by definition a totally limitless, truly all-purpose device; “Turing complete,” I think the phrase is – and limit it to a small pre-approved set of tasks, that is, to make all computers NOT BE COMPUTERS.

      Insofar as I can understand the theory, the only possible way to do this is to make computers that are Turing-incomplete; any machine that exposes a Turing-complete set of commands to its operator (which is to say ANY computer that can legitimately be called a computer) will allow a sufficiently patient and crafty operator to circumvent ANY other restriction placed on it. The only 100% guaranteed way to enforce DRM is to ban traditional computers in favour of limited-interface, console-like devices only.

      This is what happens when technological illiterates are put in control of legislation and commerce in a technological society.

  11. Kerethos says:

    But, but, but, Shamus! If the guns don’t inflict horrible death and senseless murder HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET HARD?!

    I’m sorry, I just had to. I’ve kind of been hoping for an opportunity to make fun of the constant need to empower the player through violence; which is pretty much the default approach in most games.

    Seriously though I can’t help but agree that this game could really use a “quality over quantity”-approach to its combat encounters. A lot fewer, but much more dangerous enemies just seems like it would have fit this detailed world they’ve built much better.

    And having you die in just 1 or 2 shots would have meant you didn’t want to risk getting into gunfights – like a sane person does when faced with armed people.

    Even stuff like choking or stabbing enemies should have been a lot louder and time consuming (as in longer animation) to make murdering everyone you meet less appealing, rather than a process to maximize your loot gain at minimal expense in resources.

    I mean I could believe like 10-12 maybe up to 20 people in Raider Town (Pittsburgh), maybe even more if they’d show us some greenhouses or parks turned into gardens and signs they were fishing the river. And their raiding was less “murder everything” and more “steal whatever we can’t scavenge or grow”.

    But this army of goons that keep chasing them no matter what, even after you’ve killed an entire suburb worth of bandits. No, I’m just not buying it. I just want them to go away and give us more creepy fungus zombies instead, or even better, just less bandits.

    I do wonder though, what do the zombies eat? I mean the fungus grows in them, from them, so where does the host get it’s energy from? Do they hibernate? Just go dormant and wait for noise to activate them? And if they remain dormant long enough to die of starvation, the elements or damage from the fungus growth, is that when they become spore spreaders?

    Darn it… Now I want a proper accounting of the cordyceps zombie life-cycle and feeding habits. Still, I’d rather there’d be more zombies than the inexplicable army of bandits.

    I just don’t see how anything they carry can be worth the effort and resources spent hunting them. Do they think they’ve got a functional replicator in their backpacks or something? Because that’d probably justify the manpower sent after them, but still do nothing to explain where it all comes from – or what they eat, besides bullets.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      I don’t think it’s even about the violence, really – we’d accept it if there were fewer cases, even if nothing else changed at all. There are just so many encounters and enemies that believability fails, and immersion is lost. Had there been a fraction of the bandits/encounters, we wouldn’t have batted an eye despite the concept/number still likely being ridiculous (why would ANY bandits do this sort of thing? how would any survive so long?).

      And to me it just seems like the usual misunderstanding of what’s important to making a good story-based game. Too often they try to add more gameplay in an effort to have more ‘fun bits’, but the problem is that the fun isn’t in the play so much as the EXPERIENCE. Just being in that position of creeping around a zombie or two here and there or evading/taking down the occasional bandit could show how dangerous the world is, and it would better generate that tension that goes so well with the genre. All it would take is for the limited encounters to be designed well – in a way that makes them tricky, stressful, and most of all memorable.

      I think the most depressing part for me with this game is that, with many other parts, they DO show an understanding of what makes story games great… but then they completely switch gears for the ‘manshoots’ and it almost feels like some random guy from the street (or boardroom?) walked in and added their own piece.

      1. Tizzy says:

        I have to conclude that the devs KNOW what works. They can’t get that many tricky things right by chance.

        But they’re not the ones calling the shots. So there is pedestrian, nonsensical gameplay. So that the game can be nicely pigeonholed. And avoid people wondering whether what hey’re playing should count as a game…

        So let’s not put the blame on the wrong people.

        1. Rack says:

          I don’t think fewer, more dangerous enemies is going to be easy to implement. You don’t really want to make enemies into bullet sponges, but making enemies 4x as deadly but half as numerous is going to make combat feel arbitrary and frustrating. If you do get this to work you’re essentially turning the game into a survival horror. That might be exactly what you want but like it or not survival horror is not the go to genre for a studio wanting to make a multimillion dollar AAA title.

          1. Kerethos says:

            You make a fine point that indeed just making the enemies 4x as deadly would probably not make the game as appealing – even to myself. As instant failure states aren’t particularly fun and that’s essentially what dying in 1-2 shots hits is.

            So indeed, the combat may be fine and it’s instead the level of attrition from having to murder so many nameless bandits that makes it all feel so senseless. Like it’s just filler gameplay, thrown in to pad out the experience, rather than a real challenge and meaningful part of the story.

            So perhaps just a “less is more” approach, rather than actual changes to mechanics, would go a long way.

            I just find it really difficult to accept that such realistic and believable characters can murder hundreds of bandits and not just be dead inside; haunted by all the men they’ve stabbed, shot, bludgeoned, burned, exploded or choked to death (though in theory at least the choking might not kill). I mean their combined body count could probably fill that mall already.

            And it’s made even worse by these bandits continuing to chase them no matter how many people they lose to these maniacs. You’d think after the loss of like 40 men and an armored vehicle they’d realize it’s suicide to pursue them, yet they just keep coming like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen these two. And it really all just clashes something awful with the story and the otherwise fairly believable world.

            1. Thomas says:

              “and not just be dead inside”
              Like Joel is?

              I agree that the best approach is just to straight remove half the combat. I don’t think replacing people with zombies actually helps the way the game feels when you play it, and making it more deadly might result in immersion-breaking reloading all the time.

              (There already is a difficulty setting where you die in 1-2 shots and you can’t see the UI or use your superpowers)

              Most times an encounter starts it feels fine… and then it just keeps on going. We’re about to come up to the worst point in the game for that

            2. Tizzy says:

              I just can’t believe these two could muder hundreds. Period.

  12. SlothfulCobra says:

    I love how Octopus Records basically has the Octodad logo.

  13. Wilcroft says:

    I’m guessing that Chris and Josh have forgotten/missed that the group at the hospital, here in the mall, and the village in the next section are all the same band. Their search party was checking the hospital for supplies, when you killed them, and wanted revenge.. It doesn’t explain why they keep after you once you mow down 50 or 100 of them, though.

    1. Ivan says:

      I don’t remember a hospital, you don’t mean the university do you?

      1. Wilcroft says:

        err, yes. My bad.

    2. Tizzy says:

      I’m pretty sure they haven’t. Didn’t Chris even mention it outright?

      1. Thomas says:

        From what Chris said it implied he didn’t realise the university group were the same as the previous group.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Of course it does.They were bitten by that zealous tank and have been infected with its amazing tracking ability and lust for hunting protagonists.

  14. krellen says:

    This is an episode I’m going to have to watch twice. Having to concentrate really hard the first time through because these people keep talking over the game. ;)

    1. Trix2000 says:

      There’s a reason my watch times tend to be about 25-50% longer than the listed running time.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Same.I keep my hand on the space bar so that I can pause and read the dialogue.Sometimes though I have to rewind to hear what the spoiler warningers were saying.

  15. Ivan says:

    Wow, that went from so awesome to so stupid in less than 10 seconds. I mean despite just being a spectator I was starting to get invested in the characters and then all of a sudden I felt my brain shut off when the raiders showed up.

    1. Akri says:

      Yup, same here.

  16. djshire says:

    So Too Many Bandits spoil the game?

    1. ehlijen says:

      I believe the term is Raiders of the Lost Immersion?

  17. Regarding the age of the Walkman, from Wikipedia’s article on the device:

    “In October 2010, it was reported that manufacturing of the cassette-based Walkman would cease in Japan, but that Sony would continue production of the device in China to accommodate users abroad, including in the United States, Europe, and some Asian countries.”

    It’d still be old, but not quite as old as Shamus might think. I’m also surprised we didn’t see a close-up of a “SONY WALKMAN” label on the thing.

    1. Thomas says:

      Oh its a Walkman? I thought it was bog-standard dictaphone.

      1. Tizzy says:

        You’re probably not thinking of the same device. The walkman is what they used to play music in the past sequence.

        1. They could be. Sony wasn’t the only company to use handheld cassette-based recording devices, and some of the “record a memo to me” gizmos did use full-size cassettes.

          However, since nearly all of those went to microcassettes pretty early on in the device’s life cycle (and still might be out there?), having a dictaphone that big would make it as old as Shamus thought it was.

  18. Decius says:

    You can certainly claim use. What you have produced is a unique derivative work of /The Last of Us/, in specific accordance to the license of The Last of Us (You may run this program on one computer…), and UMG gave TLoU permission to use their song in the game.

    1. guy says:

      Lets Plays are in something of a grey area with fair use. There’s no firm guideline on how much of the original you can use and claim fair use, and Lets Plays use quite a lot of game footage. Granted, you can reasonably make the argument that actually playing the game is a sufficiently critical part of the experience and the commentary adds enough value that it falls under fair use, but that may or may not actually hold up.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Lets Plays are in something of a grey area with fair use.”

        No,they arent.The only gray thing is that we still havent put the necessary laws on paper,but what lets players are doing has been done by musicians and movie makers for years.

        1. Thomas says:

          If you have to get legislation in place (and fight a legal battle to get it there), then it’s a grey area. Just because you passionately believe it is the case and it should be the same as other mediums doesn’t actually mean it’s legally sound.

          Besides, it’s a grey area in other mediums too. Stuff like Rifftax and Weird Al had to go through tons of licensing and legal headaches to exist and they’re still essentially existing in a grey area

          1. Decius says:

            But it’s not the game that’s being distributed. Suppose there was a video taken of the audience during a movie, that incidentally contained the audio of the movie. Clearly that video falls outside the copyright of the movie being shown to the audience.

            Likewise, a video does not infringe on the copyright of software, any more than a video of someone making a spreadsheet would infringe on the copyright of the spreadsheet program.

            For that matter, if the things you create with a program (such as video or files or compiled programs), everything would end up belonging to someone in the antiquity of computing, probably whoever wrote the firmware for a particular card-punching machine (which was used to create a derivative work that became a disk drive controller, which was used to create the derivative work of a programming tool, which was used to create the derivative work of a memory controller still in use today, so anything that you write to RAM is directly derived through a long chain from a device that somebody made because their hands hurt from punching cards.

            tldr; if the video you made with FRAPS doesn’t even belong to FRAPS, how can the video you made with FRAPS belong to UMG?

            1. guy says:

              That’s not precisely how copyright works. While the original owner won’t own the rights to any derivative works unless they authorized the derivative work under the condition that they’d get the rights, that doesn’t mean they stop owning the stuff they owned in the first place. Likewise, the production company of a film does in fact own the audio track, though they may have licensed portions of it from others.

              Now, Fair Use means that you can use copyrighted materials without authorization for certain purposes, and when judging Fair Use courts consider how much of the original was used and how important that portion was to the original. Obviously, while a video of a spreadsheet program may include a copyrighted visual, that is pretty unimportant to the value of the spreadsheet program. The importance of cutscenes, visuals, and dialogue to a video game is much more debatable.

      2. Decius says:

        There’s certainly no valid claim that UMG owns The Last of Us. There might be a legally interesting claim by Naughty Dog that the derivative work is unauthorized, but that’s not even remotely related to any claim that UMG might make.

        Side note: I don’t have to say I’m not a spammer anymore?

        1. guy says:

          Well, that might get a bit complicated. While obviously they don’t own The Last Of Us, they do own that music. Most likely disputing the claim on the music would be decided by the status of using the game overall.

          1. Decius says:

            They may own (the rights to) the music, but they have licensed the use of the music to Naughty Dog, who has sublicensed it to many people.

            1. That might be a different legal definition, there.

              For example, the TV show “Supernatural” uses “Carry On Wayward Son” as its theme song which is (I think) owned by Sony Music. If some horror movie being made at Paramount called up Warner Bros. and got permission to have “Supernatural” playing on a TV for the characters to discuss ironically, I don’t think the contract with Sony covers letting footage with “Carry On Wayward Son” being played into a 3rd party’s movie without some $$ being involved.

              Of course, there’s a lot of differences between the above example and a Let’s Play. No one could realistically make the case that the song was being used for purposes of education or review in a for-profit horror movie (the “rules” of horror notwithstanding as “education”).

  19. Wow. Could that mook hunt scream ‘content muncher’ any harder? I mean seriously, it was either that or ‘dude, bro all d’is feelings shit from this chick is getting kinda gay…specially when they got all gay. I mean normally, it’d be hot cause bro, two chicks bro, but their kids ‘n shit, so it’s kinda weird s’all I’m saying. I’m jes saying bro, kinda wanna shoot some dudes. Get the edge off y’know?’

  20. Scourge says:

    So, the video seems to be unavailable to me (Which makes me think it is unavailable to any German). Not sure if Youtube or anything is behind that.

    1. Decius says:

      Try finding a proxy server in a differently oppressive country.

      1. Wolf says:

        Using hola plugin set to America was the most elegant solution I could find.

  21. Otters34 says:

    Is the frequent use of licensed music in Spec Ops: The Line a strike against it being used in a season of Spoiler Warning?

  22. Vect says:

    On the whole comment of DLC being used to explore wacky concepts, I recall that the DLC for Sleeping Dogs was meant for this. That’s why the Mission Pack DLCs dealt with either fighting Chinese ghosts, being in some death tournament or fighting a doom cult.

    Also for anyone interested, here’s a link to reactions of the kiss.

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