Last of Us: TV Show VS Video Game


Gabi Vasquez (12th), Reporter

Recently, HBO MAX has released a new series, The Last of Us, which is based on the very-loved video game. Whether it’s Pokemon, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, or several other games that were inverted onto the big screen, original game-enjoyers do have the right to their own opinion. 


Many people say how the creators did a good job selecting the actors, others say the actors poorly portrayed the original characters. The two loved main characters, Joel, is played by Pedro Pascal while the young angsty teen Ellie, is played by Bella Ramsey. 


So before we get started, what is the Last of Us? It was originally a video game that takes place during a widespread pandemic. This pandemic is a fungal infection which when touched, consumes its host and slowly transforms their body similarly to a zombie (or known as infected).


There are several different types of infection that serve different purposes. The 3 most common ones are runners, clickers, and bloaters. Everything is cut in stages, each stage depends on how long they’ve been infected. The stronger they are, the more time they’ve been infected.


Runners are the less dangerous ones. They look the most human-like, and are known for their speed. Infected turn into Clickers on the 3rd stage. What’s different is that they don’t look human in any way; as the infection has grown over their face, distorting any human resemblance.Due to the infection growing over their face, they can’t see, and rely on sound. The fourth stage is the Bloaters stage. These infected are the most dangerous. They are made up of all fungus, which has taken over the original holder of the body, and acts as if it is armor, giving the infected a high chance of survival, not to mention how strong they are; easily ripping anyone apart. In order to stop the spread of the infection, the air force bombed several cities with a high population of zombies. This led to war within different groups for destroying innocent lives and families. 


There are several ways as to how the show adaptation is different from the video game. One for example is in the show, they went further to explain the characters of Frank and Bill. In the 3rd episode, “Long, Long, Time” we are met with a character who seems prepared for the pandemic, Bill. He is all by himself as his whole town was evacuated, leading him to have access to everything the town had.


Bill created several traps in order to keep the infected from touching him. By mistake, an uninfected male, who goes by the name of Frank, has fallen into one of the traps. Once proving that he is uninfected, Bill proceeds to let him in his heavily gated area with caution. As days go by, the two learn to adapt to each other’s presence which leads to them being partners.


As for the video game, they didn’t necessarily have a backstory. Joel already knew Bill. Bill is still very-well equipped in survival, understanding how to live on his own. He runs into Frank, who attempts to steal a battery from Bill, which leads to him being bit. As this happened, Joel and Bill rummage around houses eventually finding Frank, who has sadly taken his life. Frank has gotten bit and instead of turning into an infected, he decided to take his life. 


I believe that it was very interesting how they gave side characters a very in-depth story. 


Another example would be with the character, Tess. Tess was Joel’s partner in crime, and the two grew to love each other in hard times. In episode 2, “Infected,” Ellie, Joel, and Tess start their journey to get Ellie to the FireFlies, who are away from their HQ. It is a very risky journey, but they do manage to get out without being harmed. When they find a spot where they can see around them, they are encountered with several infected. The trio are separated by the infected, and are trying to fight them off. As Ellie and Joel find each other, they are trapped underneath a Clicker, which is a type of infected that uses echolocation to figure where you are, due to their eyes being completely covered by the fungus. Tess manages to help the 2, and later reveal that she has been infected.


In the game, Tess was actually killed by FEDRA. She was already infected, so similar to the show, she stayed behind to buy time for Ellie and Joel to get away. 


I caught an interview with Last of Us fan, Mario Carrillo on the given topic.


What was your initial reaction to finding out the very-loved video game was coming out on screens? 


Carrillo shared, “I was so excited to see such an amazing game finally being produced and shown on a tv screen. A lot of people try to produce/direct shows inspired by games, and a lot of them turn out terribly.”


I definitely agree with him on how people try to direct movies based on games, making the audience think it’s going to be good because of how the trailer looks, but then we are surprised.


How do you feel about the casting? Did they choose accurate actors to play the characters?


“I think the characters/actors they chose were a perfect choice. Each of the actors do resemble the characters really well,” Carrillo exclaimed.


The show wasn’t historically accurate to the game. Before watching, how did you think everything was going to play out?


Carrillo explained, “The show does a good job of getting small details that become more noticeable to match different scenes from the game, although it wasn’t exactly accurate, they added different outcomes making the show look more realistic, and leading the audience to not know what was going to happen next”.


Overall, I find the show to be very fascinating. The actors are amazing, the storyline is amazing, everything is just amazing. This is definitely one of my favorite shows of 2023.