Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

‘The Last of Us, Pt. II’: The Hate U Give

October 6, 2020

Guys, it’s been a minute, and we’ve got so much to catch up on, but first up: some overwrought reflection on my favorite game of 2020, and possibly ever, ‘The Last of Us, Pt. II’. We are FULL SPOILERS from here on in, so if 1) you haven’t completed the game (and plan to) or 2) just have no interest, at all, now’s your cue to go fire up HBO’s ‘The Vow’ instead. This essay will probably be just as long and meandering!


If you’re still reading, then you’re already well-versed in the plot of ‘The Last of Us, Pt. II’. But this is my first blog post in a while, and daddy wants to stretch his prosaic muscles, so–

FIVE YEARS after the events of the first game (‘Pt. I,’ retroactively), smuggler/killer/guitarist/dad Joel is beaten to death by a ski-capped stranger. Joel’s surrogate daughter Ellie, utterly broken, sets off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge through Seattle. When she reaches the apex of that revenge… the game’s perspective shifts, and suddenly you’re playing as Abby, aka the ski-capped monster you’ve been trying to kill, now navigating her OWN story of trauma and vengeance. WTF?! Up is down, down is up, until 20+ hours later when you finally confront each other on a beach in Santa Barbara, battle to the death… and then each stumble away — Abby to Catalina Island, Ellie to Jackson, Wyoming, both of you to a future finally unshackled from this endless cycle of blood.

(The game’s a friggin’ laugh riot, is what I’m trying to say!)

‘LoU II’ is many things — a zombie survival game, a stealth shooter, a playable movie — but above all, it’s this: a study of people dealing with tremendous pain, hollowed out by hate, who slowly (really slowly) find the courage and grace to let it go. I don’t see any kind of metaphor for 2020 in there, no way, you’re crazy.

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A day in the life of a Stardew Valley farmer

December 12, 2019

If you’re anything like us — overworked, overtired, just plain *over it* — then you’ve wondered what it might be like to give up your fast-paced life in the city for one in the quaint farming community of STARDEW VALLEY. Just think: a general store instead of Amazon, home-cooked (and grown!) meals instead of Postmates, courtship with one of eight NPC bachelors or bachelorettes instead of Tinder. It could be heaven, right? It could be everything you’ve ever wanted.

We caught up via *snail mail* with Stardew’s farmer on the rise, Hendog, to get the skinny on what a typical sun-up to sun-down looks like and most importantly, how he gets his pumpkins to grow so dang big!

6am: Cock-A-Doodle-Dew [as in “Stardew” lol]

The moment that rooster crows I am up and at ‘em, fully clothed before even getting out of the bed I share with my wife of four days, Leah, who is ALSO already up and busying herself in the kitchen. Early risers! She hands me a freshly brewed cup of coffee; in return, I give her a poppyseed muffin. Everyone knows that the key to a happy marriage in Stardew Valley is daily presents, which is why I always keep a neverending supply of poppyseed muffins (her favorite!) on hand. “Happy wife, happy life!” I say as I sip my delicious coffee and think about all the fun things I’m going to do today.

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Without Hyperbole, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ May Be the Best Video Game Ever

March 23, 2011

We don’t usually…DO video game reviews, or analysis, or “reflections” (no one should do reflections as a general rule, but-) on this site, as 1) neither DJ Steve nor myself actually plays that often anymore and 2) who gives a shit, but something happened last night. I finished one of 2010’s most popular games, ‘Red Dead Redemption’…and I was deeply moved. It made me feel something…emotionally. And rather than bury that feeling with UFC fighting or expensive liquor that I buy with my emergency AmEx, I figured I would buck Lifting Fog tradition — buck my own standards of “journalism” — and share all that emotion with you. Anyone not interested in reading please BEAR WITH, we’ll be back to not writing tomorrow.

WARNING #1: What follows was originally an e-mail to a friend, which of course excuses any lack of clarity. Thanks!

Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are like a super-nice girl you date for a while. She’s funny, and pretty, and you get along great…then one morning you wake up and realize you’re just sort of treading water, that she doesn’t challenge you so much (although every once in a while she makes you perform these incredibly difficult jumps and leaps), and whatever spark ignited the relationship — you went to elementary and middle school with her — isn’t there, or at least has changed. You part amicably, because how else could you end things? She’s still great. You might even see her again.

Later that night your more unhinged friends have dragged you to a dogfight behind the Norm’s on Sepulveda, and there’s this…woman. Tattoos. Slightly mussed hair. She looks dangerous. Maybe she’s killed someone? Didn’t go to college? That’s hot. You get to talking, and it turns out she’s NOT illiterate but in fact one of the more fiercely intelligent people you’ve ever spoken to. Filled with natural insight in a way your Ivory Tower education can’t replicate synthetically. Born in England, so she’s got sort of an outsider’s perspective, and…

The mystery lady’s identity revealed…..after the jump!