I enjoyed The Last of Us. It could very well be classified as the game of the last generation, and seeing how it has swept up incredible amounts of awards, many people would likely agree with that sentiment. I don't, because it was Mass Effect. That's not what brings me here, though. Today I want to touch on how Naughty Dog included a forced, and quite topical, gay relationship into its DLC for The Last of Us called Left Behind, and how Gone Home, a game that could loosely be classified as such, made a gay relationship feel natural and more believable. Gone Home shows, with nary a doubt, that some characters in The Last of Us are not gay, however it does not do this with facts or haphazard opinions — but with its use, and over-abundance, of highlighters. So, take head, and be wary, as I will spoil some things regarding both games.
...Take head. Ha! Intercourse! Relevance!
You see, for a game that so heavily focuses on the formation of a gay relationship between your character's sister, Katie, and her partner, Lonna, The Fullbright Company believed it apt to also convey this through the placement of highlighters. Much like how little notes and journal entries from your sister are littered around every room in your family's house, in Gone Home, highlighters are also found everywhere and are numerous, as is the staggering amount of privacy your character invades.
In fact, highlighters are so important to the story that they were given their own dresser drawer to reside in; living out their days in the wooden lap of luxury.
Like any book, people like to highlight the important parts in order to remember them. At least, that's what I did. It didn't help. I even went so far as to highlight the word 'highlight' because highlighting is key. I'm also highlighting the highlighters in Gone Home — because highlights. And The Fullbright Company understood this. They knew Gone Home was nothing more than a book, so they needed to give us highlighters in order to mark the significance of the relationship in within its text ... as well as the other pieces of furniture in the house. That drawer, as shown above, is important.
As is this desk:
And this desk:
And let's not forget this desk:
Judging by the sheer number of highlighters within Gone Home one this is certain: It must be the most important game ever made. The copious amounts of highlighters in this book-game are only surmounted by the sheer number of pens and sharpies — and the notes and journal entries.
But let's take note of something else, something that's also very relevant. Much like these highlighters contain color, so too does the rainbow. Displayed in this game are green, yellow and purple highlighters — those colors are in the rainbow. The rainbow is now, more often than not, used to symbolize gay pride and equality. We can now assume that the colors featured in Gone Home are for gay women; Yellow, Green and Purple. The other colors, Red, Orange and Blue are now saved for gay males. Pink has been left out because it's just for Breast Cancer awareness.
So now we can look at these highlighters and notes as a whole. Without one, in this book-game, there cannot be the other. Without the highlighters showing us, visually, how major this relationship is, the notes would have gone unnoticed and disregarded. And without the notes and journal entries people would be wondering why the hell there were so many highlighters in this book-game for no reason.
Also why the purple highlighters were making a black sharpie walk the plank:
However, we are given none of that in Left Behind. Having never played the DLC you can rest assured that I know exactly what I am talking about, because I played the main game. Not once were highlighters prominently displayed in The Last of Us. Not once were they the main focus. Without highlighters all we are given is a dark, dreary story of survival, a world without highlighters, therefore gay relationships and marriages. In fact, it is assumed that Bill is gay but no one can be sure because he didn't own highlighters, only nudie magazines.
Then Left Behind came to fruition! And we are supposed to believe that Ellie is gay because she kissed Riley? In a world completely devoid of highlighters, therefore rainbows, we are led to believe that this new-found spark between Riley and Ellie is as compelling and as natural as the relationship featured in Gone Home and the Highlighter Adventure? Which seems more convincing to you?
I rest my case. Ellie isn't gay — because highlighters.