Okay, I’ve hit the dreaded reader’s block. Gone has defeated me.

You know you have reader’s block when everything else in the world is much more interesting than continuing to read that book. To be fair, I have tried. “Just read a few pages”, I say to myself, and I do but….

It’s just not doing anything for me. The premise is really far-fetched and all the adults have vanished, leaving pets, babies and ovens in the hands of children.*shudder* Throw in villainous school bullies, and unexplained magical powers some of the kids have woken up with, and, well nope. I give up.

At the same time as trying to read Gone, I discovered a realm of fictional possibilities that I’d ignored. Gaming – or to be more specific, The Last of Us.

Discovering The Last of Us

In an effort to avoid reading Gone, and to experience more Doctor Who stuff (you can never have too much Doctor Who) I watched a few Doctor Who reaction videos on YouTube. If you’re not familiar, the videos involve people recording themselves watching the show. I find that the emotional parts of the programme feel much more powerful when you can see someone else reacting to them.

Anyway, the same YouTube channel also featured a video series called “The Last of Us Remastered PS4 – Let’s Play”. I’ve never owned a PlayStation. The Sims series is pretty much the extent of my gaming experience, but I thought, what the hell? Let’s watch some of the first video.

Oh. My God.

I now own a PS4, and it’s because of this game – that’s the power of storytelling.

What makes the storytelling so powerful?

*Warning: the below points might be a bit spoiler-ish*

  1. A powerful, but flawed, protagonist who you want to see succeed.
  2. An extreme, but believable, premise pulls you into the story straight away .
  3. Constant peril means that you’re always struggling to survive.
  4. In the brief moments where the peril lets up, the pathos kicks in – ripping your heart out.
  5. There’s a dual purpose to the journey – the overt goal, which has a powerful, altruistic centre, and the usually unspoken inner goal of the protagonist. It’s really interesting to see how these two goals co-exist, and which one of them needs to be sacrificed for the other.

The characterisation is perfect and the dialogue brilliant. The visual effects and music are amazing. Everything about the game seems to be designed to pull you deeper into the story.

If you’re not a gamer, it’s still worth watching a play through of the game. I’ve seen several now, and Redbeard’s is the best one of those that I’ve seen.

Waaay back in the mists of time, I was supposed to spend a month reading young adult fiction – that worked out well! I didn’t like The Fault in our Stars at all, and loathed Divergent – so I finished one out of three. However, I wouldn’t say that I dislike the genre.

If there’s one thing that the months I’ve spent doing reading challenges has taught me, it’s that I should have the confidence to know what I like and let that lead me. There’s really no point in wasting hours, days or weeks trying to read a book that makes your eyes bleed and slowly shreds your soul.

But I’m glad I tried to read Gone, because if I hadn’t been avoiding reading it, I might never have decided to watch that Let’s Play, and I’d have missed out on a stunning story.