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Special Issue Articles

Vol. 4 No. 2 (2023): Digital America

Staying Human in the Post-Apocalypse: The Frontiers of Individualism in The Last of Us and Its Sequel

August 31, 2022


Naughty Dog's video games The Last of Us (2013) and The Last of Us Part II (2020) stage a complex tale of human drama in post-apocalyptic settings, retrieving several features of the Frontier myth. In this essay, I argue that the characters' narrative arc is a post-apocalyptic, American Frontier tale in which the individual and collective levels clash (as they often do in such stories), generating moral challenges for the characters and, in turn, for the player controlling them. Thus, I set out to analyze how TLOU draws on and subverts some of the traditional tropes and characters belonging to the classic American Frontier tradition, investigating a number of issues related to individualism, collectivism, violence, and selfishness.


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