From my experience hanging out on the forums and comment sections of threads on different gaming websites over the past year, The Last of Us was and still is the most talked about game; and not just the most talked about game, the most revered game. What's more remarkable is, I have never heard of any other game getting this much incessant praise for this long on the internet, ever. Not Half-Life, not any Zelda or Mario, not Shadow of the Colossus, Braid, Starcraft (insert another widely considered best game of all time here). Sure, all these games get love here and there and brought up from time to time, but none of these titles have ever gotten the daily love of what The Last of Us is getting. Maybe The Last of Us Remastered is keeping the love flame burning strong. Either way, right now The Last of Us is the big cheese, it is the big kahuna burger, and it is considered by many to be one of the best games of all time.
Instead of trying to figure out why Half-life didn't get that daily love (which frankly is impossible because when HL was released we were using rotary phones and thought the internet was a joke), lets talk about the very recent awesome games and discuss why they aren't getting the same amount of love as The Last of Us. So...What are some of the best games of 2014 so far that don't have The Last of Us in the title? Well, Mario Kart 8, Divinity: Original Sin, Bravely Default, Child of Light, and Dark Souls 2 are what come to my mind. In terms of overall quality, The Last of Us doesn't necessarily stand far above or far below any or the former titles, yet it does get insanely more praise then them. So... why? I think there are some big reasons for this and I'll just talk about one:
- The Last of Us - The New Mascot For Sony
Sony sort of had a tangible, animal mascot at one time, but he didn't become a mascot because his game sold like hot cakes or because fans revered his game to be one of the greatest games of all time. Crash Bandicoot was just a fuzzy, friendly looking rabbit creature who became synonymous with the original Playstation because he was tailored to be that way by Sony, sort of like Mario is by Nintendo. As the Playstation "grew up" Crash was put away in the attic, along with many other of the classic game characters from Sony's past. Though Sony found no need to directly replace him, their "mature" fans still needed something to fill the void. Exclusive titles.
Exclusive titles are the modern mascots for Xbox and Playstation, with the very best of these exclusives coming the closest to serving as an actual mascot. Halo is the face of Xbox and for awhile Playstation was juggling Uncharted and God of War for most of PS3's life. In the last year its clear that victor is neither of those titles, but actually The Last of Us.
As the nature of the mascot has changed for Sony, the treatment of this new mascot also changes. The Last of Us isn't just a game, it's the best game there is and its an experience you can't get anywhere else. If you don't own a PS3 or PS4 you will be missing out on this incredible life experience. If Crash once represented fun and light-hearted good times, The Last of Us represents "innovation," "a graphical achievement" and "the best experience you can get as a gamer today." For Sony fans, nothing hits these targets better than The Last of Us. Until some exclusive title lands on the PS4 that hits those targets better in their eyes, The Last of US will continue to get this daily love from its fans.
Since Nintendo or the PC doesn't need to have a mascot like this, no game, no matter how God-like, that comes out will ever gets this same treatment that Sony fans give The Last of Us. No matter how good Zelda U is, Mario Kart 8 is, SSB U is, Starcraft 2 is, Divinity: Original Sin is, FTL is, there is no point for Nintendo and PC fans to repeatedly clog gaming websites with opinions that claim one of those former titles are the best games of all time. Nintendo already has Mario, who still represents the idea of fun, and PC which has more games than any console ever will. They both don't need to pick just one game and raise it up to the skies and praise it every day so that people who are around can jump on the bandwagon.