The Last of Us Part I: A Road Trip Video Game by Cormac McCarthy

«He woke up in the night and listened. He couldn’t remember where he was. The idea made him smile. Where are we? he said. what’s up dad Any kind. We are safe. a dream. Everything’s gonna be okay, right, dad? Yes, everything will be fine. And nothing bad will happen to us. Of course not. Because we carry the fire. That’s right. Because we carry the fire.

Cormac McCarthy, way.

shortly after launch The last of us. i left years after a shocking prologue in which a father loses his daughteryou can find graffiti with a very simple phrase: «Remember who we were«. I mean, “Remember what we were.”

It is inevitable that anyone who has read it will be horrified and fascinated way of Cormac McCarthy does not immediately recall that unforgettable dialogue between the anonymous father and son, a dialogue that recurs, in many variations, throughout the novel with the same basic idea: “we carry the fire.” I mean we’re still burning. Our soul is burning. Because we have a soul. Because we are still human, “in the worst of times.”

The last of us. i left is the expensive makeover of one of the best games in history. It was released nearly a decade ago, on June 14, 2013, and was unanimously hailed as a leap of no return in the medium’s narrative maturity. Now, just nine years later, it returns to the PlayStation 5 in a remake that, speaking in cinematic terms, would be unheard of – or almost because The great Spider Man starring Andrew Garfield in Spiderman Homecoming Tom Holland was only three years old. But in video games, there are other reasons why this speed may have aesthetic and cultural justification.beyond the obvious and predominant commercial aspect.

Let’s go back to McCarthy and way. It’s not a long novel, but it’s supposed to be at a standstill; still life of a dead world. With exquisite precision, a Faulknerian precision, McCarthy spends most of the pages painting a picture of a devastated United States, under a nuclear winter, where terrible things occasionally happen, but where most of the time the experience is that of emptiness. The one from the wasteland.

I save a few paragraphs where you can appreciate this picturesque McCarthy conscientiously descriptive.

“They were approaching slowly along the gravel drive. There were no traces in the sparse patches of melting snow. Tall ligustrum hedge. An ancient bird’s nest nestled in the reeds there. They stayed in the garden and studied the facade. Homemade bricks, as if baked from the same earth he stood on. The peeling paint hanging in long strands like silk from branches off the columns and sagging ceilings. A lamp suspended from a long chain above.

“They crossed the town at noon the next day. He kept the gun handy on the folded tarp that covered the cart. The boy was close to him. Almost the whole city is burned. There were no signs of life. Cars on the street with ash bark, all covered in ash and dust. Tracks fossils in the dried mud. A corpse at the door, hard as skin. Sulking a day ».

jump to The last of us. Part I. To my gaming memories from a few days ago. At the exit of a cemetery in Lincoln (a stone’s throw from Boston), Ellie, the girl accompanying me (I’m Joel, the father who lost his daughter), approaches charred remains. Human remains. He says something like “damn”. I say, “You shouldn’t watch this.” She replies, “I’ve seen worse.”. I add, “Ah… well.”

A little while before we entered a house and found a boy’s room. A kid like Ellie, probably about 14 years old. I knew it was from a boy by the precision with which the room was decorated. For what hangs on your walls. A lycanthrope horror movie poster. Another dragon drawing poster from what is surely an RPG. A collection of butterflies enclosed in a glass frame. Clutter in the room and on the newspaper desk. Collect the last days of October from this boy. His parents argued in whispers that sounded like shouts (the child’s thinking) about whether to leave Boston or run away with the woman’s sister, Kate. A few days later, the father tries to comfort the mother because Kate, the savior sister, has died wherever she was. The last entry in this diary was very short. He would say something like, “The day has come. Dad says we’ll be back someday. I think he’s lying like a bastard.”

A moment from the game “The Last of Us. I left’. | Sony

Parallel experiences, those experienced between words and between images The last of us. i left Y way of McCarthy. But what permeates most is this anxiety, with moments of faint but unquenchable hope, of the long walk through a fallen United States. Austin, Boston, Lincoln, Pittsburgh, Jackson, Silver Lake and Salt Lake City for The last of us. A nameless nothing, ashen gray, to way. But the same soul. The same obsession with the still life, with the universe of objects that describe uprooted lives. For the human and plant palimpsests that turn familiar spaces — a highway, a school, a gas station — into uncertain, wild places; wild If Hopper’s blurred-faced characters harbor dreams or nightmares, they should have a texture similar to those in these two works.

Let’s get back to the relevance (aesthetic, cultural) of this early remake. It turns out that video games have image support that is much older than that of cinema or television. In cinema, the outdated can be when it tries to reflect the fake in reality. Snow White is still as fresh as day one, but the impact of a bullet in a Hawkes western is comical compared to Michael Corleone’s head shot by mobster Sollozzo. In a video game, this is multiplied when the aesthetic goal of such a work pursues realism. Everything is a simulation and therefore self-consistent, as happens in animation, with no gaps between the real and the unreal. But the limits of this simulation also define limits in aesthetics.

The last of us. i left it is much closer to his dream aesthetic experience, because technology allows him, nine years later, to be much more faithful to this obsession with the still life and the hope that the characters convey, in their subtle emotions. In the second, there is endless progress in the animation of the characters, especially in the situations that happen during the game, rather than the passive, cinematic and very constant sequences that stagger the moments of the game.. In the first, there is a huge amount of new objects that customize every road, every house, every public or natural space. This allows one to stop, for example, to read in detail the texts that accompany an exhibition about the (American) Civil War or the titles of the books that occupy the shelves of an architect’s studio. This precision suspends the experience, as in the case of McCarthy, slows it down, for the detail compels the eye to look, and many times directs the mind to imagine.

A moment from the game “The Last of Us. I left’. | Sony

I say goodbye to a particularly beautiful moment, which I save from my memory again The last of us. i left During the short drive through the woods between Boston and Lincoln, Ellie commented in fascination, “Is this a forest? I’ve never seen one.” Why? Because she is the daughter of a world in the 1930s where moving away from your city is an almost impossible dream because surviving the streets is too. That moment of light, faint but unquenchable, reminded me of a comment my son made that touched my heart. Shortly after the end of the pandemic, at only four years old, he discovered an amazing concept: when things were better, he could visit the houses of his school friends. At the age of six, he was able to fulfill this dream. I’m glad she didn’t have to wait like Ellie until she was 14.

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