It’s The Last Of Us Day this coming Saturday. It falls on September 26, the date of the fictional global pandemic that causes the events of the first game and this year’s sequel. In recent days, developer Naughty Dog has said the event will no longer be called Outbreak Day as it has been for the last seven years.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain why.
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While the name of the day has changed, the event is still set to reveal “exciting things” for the franchise, although at the time of writing nobody knows quite what this means. A The Last Of Us Part II DLC? The release of the much-anticipated ‘Factions’ mode that was supposed to bundled with the sequel, before being delayed to be released as a standalone title? Maybe the opportunity to play as Owen’s spotted seal? I’d be happy with any of the above. I’d be happier, though, if more videogame franchises had their own celebratory day.
There are a few titles that already do. March 10 has been known as Mario Day for a while now, on account of ‘Mar 10’ looking a bit like the word ‘Mario’. If you squint a bit. Nintendo didn’t get onboard with the day until 2016, though since then they’ve done so with gusto. 2018 saw them really pull out the stops, partnering with Google to deliver the option to drive Mario in a Pipe Frame around Google Maps. All of which was an awful lot of fun. But would someone spare a thought for poor old Luigi? Always the lanky, moustachioed bridesmaid…
Sonic The Hedgehog has February 2, , which is faintly puzzling, since in Sonic lore, that’s also Knuckles the Echidna’s birthday. A few years back, in a nod to the TV spots for 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2 – which featured actual hedgehogs in them – Sega released a video short of a real hedgehog trashing a scene from the Green Hill Zone. I like to think that, somewhere at Sega headquarters in Japan, they have hedgehogs that people can pick up when they’re having a crap day and feel a little bit better.
And then there’s Pac-Man. Back in 1982, the Atari spent loads of dosh – because in 1982, Atari had more dosh than they knew what to do with – on promoting National Pac-Man Day on April 3. If you’re quick (and you have just shy of £500 going begging) you can find one of the beautiful white nylon jackets they made at the time on eBay.
But the scope for days like this are endless. What about Resident Evil Day’ on October 1, the date when Racoon City was wiped from the face of the earth via missile attack, in an attempt to quell the spread of the Umbrella Corporation’s zombie-making T-Virus? Or later that month, on October 23, to commemorate the falling of the nuclear bombs that shaped the Fallout series? In the franchise, that event doesn’t take place until 2077, which is a bit confusing. But if we start planning now then we’ll be prepared.
It’s always a nice idea to take a day out of our lives to celebrate a thing we love. Niceness is underrated in 2020. There’s so much misery in the world. So many people are struggling. So much sadness, sickness and stress. So what if I want to take one day in a year to dress as Q*Bert and hop around paving slabs. I’m a grown man and I can do what I want.
So forgive me for being excited for whatever Naughty Dog has in store for this coming Saturday. It’s something to think about other than the bills I have to pay, the appointment with my doctor I have to make or interpreting the UK government’s bizarre and confusing COVID directions. Happy The Last Of Us Day to one and all!