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Three Cheap Alternatives to Buying The Last of Us

Get a discounted apocalyptic experience

By Daniel Jones on 6/13/2013

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You've read the rave reviews of The Last of Us, I'm sure. If you haven't, then you're a more patient person than I. So you've probably heard the praise about this being the "Citizen Kane moment" for video games and how the story it tells is just about the greatest story humanity has ever seen since Odysseus set out on his Oddysey (though I always thought that name was a bit on the nose). The game centers around Joel, a normal dude just going about his drug and human trafficking business, surviving the mushroom head apocalypse, when all of a sudden, he's asked to escort a precocious young girl named Juno, er, Ellie across the damaged, volatile country. Apparently, that's the recipe for a phenomenal game and you should probably play it, but, if for some reason, you can't right now, we're here to suggest a few alternatives to spending sixty big ones on Naughty Dog's latest.

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Read The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Remember that part in the last paragraph where I was trying to be funny and compared The Last of Us to the greatest tales ever told? Well, that was funny, but I'm dead serious when I say that The Road could be one of the best stories ever put to paper. It's certainly one of the most influential novels of the millennium and Naughty Dog has openly cited it as inspiration for The Last of Us. It's the story of a man and his son, on a journey across a destroyed America, after a catastrophic event wipes out most of the living creatures on Earth. It's as depressing as it sounds, but through the despair emerges a poignant reminder of what matters most in life. It was an Oprah book club book, but don't hold that against it. You could also watch the film adaptation with Viggo Mortenson, but the book's better.

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Watch Children of Men

Remember that scene from one of the trailers for The Last of Us, where Joel and Ellie are ambushed by a gang of thugs while much of the action's shot from inside the moving vehicle? Well, that scene is stolen almost wholesale from Alfonso Cuaron's 2006 film, Children of Men. That's not where the similarities end either. The film, set in a near future in which human beings have become infertile, focuses on reluctant hero Theo (played wonderfully by Clive Owen) as he secretly escorts Ki, the first pregnant woman in eighteen years, across the volatile, chaotic British countryside. Sound familiar? Like The Last of Us, this is a tale of two characters surviving and finding solace in each other. It's one of the most underrated, beautiful films of the last twenty years with some jaw dropping camera work and unbelievably realistic backdrops. If you have any interest in The Last of Us- style post-apocalyptic stories, this should be the first thing on your list.

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Do things that make you cry

Apparently many people who've finished The Last of Us have been brought to tears by the game's conclusion. So if you want to get the full experience, you should try to do whatever it takes to make yourself cry. You could watch Shawshank Redeption, Saving Private Ryan or The Descendants. You could play last year's The Walking Dead (the first game that ever made me more than just misty eyed). You could also chop some yellow onions, stare at the sun, or just try to poke yourself in the eye. That sometimes works, though it's harder than it sounds. You just tried it didn't you? You did! You should really be embarrassed that you fell for that one. Now go cry in the corner at your embarrassment. Congratulations, you saved sixty dollars and still got a comparable experience to playing The Last of Us, but in about twelve hours less time. You're welcome.
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SudoClarity on July 04, 2013
Thank you for your tips. I like the way you show similarities (how do you get those ideas? :D ) It's entertaining and funny, bur I am probably going to read The Road and watch Children of Men, because The Last Of Us is too expensive :(
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