The Last of Us: Worth It!

(HBO makes my Gay-mer heart Happy)

Busy Geek Breakdown: 

  • Fungus zombie apocalypse. Gruff loaner takes in orphaned kid. 
  • Epic action, nail-biting suspense, moving scores.Solid LGBTQ rep. 
  • Love the game? Watch the HBO Show. Excellent cast, faithful adaptation.      
  • Like the show? Try the game. Silent Hill mood, 28 Days Later type arc. 

The Last of Us is a critically acclaimed video game released in 2013 by developer Naughty Dog. The game follows the story of Joel (played in the show by Pedro ‘tall drink of water’ Pascal), a grizzled survivor in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infected creatures, and Ellie, a young girl with a mysterious connection to the outbreak. Together, they embark on a journey across the United States, searching for a group of resistance fighters known as the Fireflies.

The game is a masterclass in storytelling, with complex and relatable characters, a gripping plot, and a powerful emotional core. So it’s not surprising that fans of the game have been clamoring for a television adaptation for years.

Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO

Bella Ramsay (the powerhouse gender-fluid actor of Game of Thrones fame) plays Ellie, an orphaned girl with a mysterious immunity to the Zombie fungus, making her possibly the most important person alive. Ashley Johnson voiced this character in the game (yes, Critical Role fans, that’s right).

The relationship between Joel and Ellie is at the center of the story. Their bond is one of the most compelling aspects of the game, and so far, the show is working to capture that same sense of connection and trust. But, of course, this requires a solid cast to portray their characters’ deep emotions and subtle nuances. And HBO did not disappoint.

The game’s post-apocalyptic setting plays a significant role in the show. The game’s depiction of a world overrun by infected creatures is terrifying and believable, and the adaptation successfully conveys a similar sense of danger and desperation.

Three episodes in, the adaptation has captured the same sense of tension and suspense that the game’s fans love. The game’s story is filled with moments of high stakes and nail-biting action, leveraging a talented team of writers and directors who understand how to create compelling and suspenseful storytelling. 

Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO

The romance between Bill (played in the show by Nick Offerman) and Frank expanded from the game in a lovely way that while it deviates, it is well done and will hit you in all the feelings (I definitely had something in my eye for all of episode 3).

Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO

Fans have long hoped for a television adaptation of The Last of Us. Finally, here is an incredible opportunity to bring this beloved story to a broader audience. So far, The Last of Us television show is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and thrilling series available, and has already been renewed for a second season.

Looking forward to Episode 4, things are not going to get better for Joel and Ellie anytime soon. Once again, fleshing out back stories that were left for the player to wonder about in the game, the HBO show is going to name and humanize Perry and Kathleen, (played by Jeffrey Pierce and Melanie Lynskey) some of the nameless raiders from the game. Needless to say, regardless of how the new showrunners decided to humanize the villains, things are about to get very bleak for our Dynamic Duo.

Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO

So What’s in store for Episode 5? So far all we have in way of a preview is this picture of Joel looking haunted as he stares into the middle distance with an out-of-focus Ellie (probably) waiting for him. That and a warning from the showrunners that as Joel’s past very much informs his future, he is going to have some very traumatic flashbacks.

Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO


(The rest of this article assumes you have played the game all the way through.)

 In 2013, a mutant Cordyceps changed people into creatures known as the Infected. In the Southwest U.S., Joel, his brother Tommy, and his daughter Sarah flee, but his daughter is killed and bleeds out in his arms.

Twenty years later, the remains of humanity live mostly in quarantine zones, which the new government runs with an iron fist. Joel has made his way as a smuggler with Tess near Boston. (Tess was voiced by Annie Wersching in the game, who also played the Borg Queen in Picard, and unfortunately recently died of cancer at 45.) 

Marlene, the leader of a rebel group, the Fireflies, offers them the job of smuggling Ellie to a safe house, as she is possibly the best, last hope for humanity. The voyage is hard, scary, and at times tragic, including run-ins with The Infected, raiders, and even cannibals.

***Now, real spoilers that will ruin the game for you if you haven’t played***

(Okay, you’ve been properly warned …)

When they finally reach the safe house months later, they prepare Ellie for surgery. When Joel finds out they must remove Ellie’s brain to create the vaccine, Joel cannot bear losing another person he was responsible for. In an epic, heartbreaking, and guilt-inducing final sequence, you play as Joel and kill every one of the Fireflies, save Ellie, possibly damning humanity, and then lie to her. This was the first time many players were forced to play and watch and act as the unknown villain, an experience that sticks with you.

Title Image: The Last of Us™ Remastered_20140801152030” by planetfifa14 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

GameStop the Insanity

During these trying times we’ve all come to rely, more than ever, on the essential services that keep us fed and healthy.  Supermarkets.  Pharmacies.  Laundromats.  …GameStop?

 If you’re hearing a chorus of “One of these things is not like the others…” right now, you’re not alone.  Employees and customers alike have been confounded by GameStop’s stubborn refusal to close even amidst the escalating COVID-19 crisis and the shuttering of virtually all retail stores outside of groceries and pharmacies and stores that offer similar product.  Video game site Kotaku has done excellent reporting on this subject, from fears that corporate wasn’t doing enough to safeguard in the early days of the outbreak, to the doublespeak insistence that by providing equipment for remote work and learning, GameStop can be considered “essential” and not mandated to close– never mind that their high-end keyboards and accessories are hardly what someone would pick up for basic needs, or that midnight launch parties for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal were ill-advised in light of restrictions on large gatherings.  Employees were even provided with a letter to show law authorities in case they tried to enforce closure; in Athens, Georgia, police officers countered that letter with one of their own, which did not include the store on its list of essential businesses. A popular reddit thread started by an employee shed further light on the company’s misguided and potentially dangerous approach to the pandemic.

Police officers in Athens, Georgia, forced a local GameStop to close.

This past weekend, GameStop finally switched to a door delivery model and closed stores to customers—those that remain open or have not been forced to close by local ordinances—and officially discontinued video game trade-ins and in-store events.  Calls to a number of NYC area GameStop locations on Tuesday were either not answered, busy, or resulted in a perky message explaining that some stores have been closed in response to COVID-19  concerns.  This is clearly the right move, but as the reddit poster observed, it should not have taken this long for the company to do so.  When we come out of this pandemic, and begin to shop at retail stores, we should think carefully about where our dollars go.  GameStop failed both its employees and the buying public by disregarding their safety in a serious situation, and I, for one, will not be supporting them in the future.

Geeks OUT DC – Pokemon Go Queermunity Day, Renwick Gallery/Burning’MON GO

**Update: For the safety of our attendees and the members of our community in Washington, DC, we have changed the date of this event to Saturday the 11th in order to prevent any encounter with a hate-group affiliated march on Sunday. Thank you for understanding.**

August is hot out here, so to highlight The Renwick’s Burning Man exhibit, we’re hosting a photo-scavenger hunt, we’re calling Burning’Mon GO!

Meet in front of the Renwick to gather your teams and get your maps (or download them here ). Once you check in, you can start your adventure! Your mission is to use your AR Camera to capture Eevee at the 7 stops on the NO SPECTATORS: BEYOND THE RENWICK WALKING TOUR. You must capture a photo of Eevee next to each of the exhibit’s public artworks.

At 5, we reconvene at the meeting place to review photos and collect prizes (Who wants to win Flame Con tickets?).

Bring bottled water, sunscreen and parasols, and whatever else you need to enjoy Burning’Mon GO!



Pokemon Go Queermunity Day, Washington, DC, National Zoo

September’s Geeks OUT’s Pokemon Go Queermunity Day is going to be another zoo, at the National Zoo! Come get some fresh air, play your fave mobile game with other queer nerds and allies, and participate in a scavenger hunt at the Zoo!

Chikorita is the featured Pokemon this month. Keep an eye out for Chikorita in the tall grass, walkways, and animal pens!

The scavenger hunt sheet will have a list of clues for animal statues in the park. You’re tasked with using the AR camera to photograph Chikorita with each of the statues! We will draw the completed clue sheets at the entrance at 5pm for prizes! Including “Serving Pride: The Queer History Dinner Party Handbook”
AND a two tickets to Ropeburn 2: Guardians of Equality, presented by Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC and Geeks OUT!
You can find more information on Rope Burn 2 here:

Find Ben and/or Molly just inside the Smithsonian National Zoo Main entrance on Connecticut Ave, and collect your Scavenger Hunt sheet. You can group up to complete the hunt together, small groups, or solo! It’s up to you!

We will stay at the entrance until 2:15pm before going hunting ourselves, so Message us if you arrive late or get separated. We will also post the clue sheet on the Facebook event page at 2:15pm so you can still play, and find us at 5pm when the drawing begins!

The Zoo has lots of places to cool and refuel over 3 hours. Be sure to save your Raid Pass, as we’ll likely do a group raid.

The Last of Us Part II Trailer Is a Big F*cking Deal

Everyone was excited to see what new information we’d get about the Last of Us Part II at E3, and I was certainly not disappointed. Yes, we didn’t get a release date, but what we got will hopefully sustain us until the game actually comes out.



In the game play shown at the conference we got to see that indeed we’ll get to play as Ellie, who’s looking as queer as ever. And that’s not all! We don’t have to worry about the game shirking away from her sexuality, because we got a kissing scene in the first few minutes of the trailer! The way they transitioned from the kiss to game play and then back was absolutely fabulous and stunning, but there was a queer kiss! In a trailer for one of the most anticipated games! In front of a large in-person and online audience. During Pride Month! It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.


Sony E3 2018 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Seriously, I could stare at that GIF forever and it would never be enough. The kiss was so tender and adorable and sexy and it’s beautiful. The motion capture work that Naughty Dog uses for this game is truly astonishing and most definitely pays off in super queer ways.


The Last of Us Part II changes the game. If you want to play one of the probably hottest games (of hopefully 2019please, Naughty Dog?) you have to play as a queer woman. Dude bros who are mad at the very idea of female inclusion in the video game are made to play as a Ellie. And more importantly, queer female gamers get to play as a character who reflects a part of their identity. Getting to smash zombies or weird cultists or Fireflies as a queer woman is going to be so much more satisfying.


It’s going to be very interesting to see where Ellie and her story leads. Will we get to see more of her and her dance partner throughout the game? And where does Joel fit into all of this? We definitely have time to speculate, but for now I think it’s important to reveal in the fact that a major video game developer showcased their game with a big gay kiss at one of the biggest conferences in the industry.


In a world where we’re often silenced, it’s nice to have a little reprieve in which we’re the main character in an epic story. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re in your video games. Get used to it.