On Bill: An Interview with Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog

We all know that LGBT characters in video games are rare, at best. The Last of Us stands out for having a somewhat major gay character in its story, one who isn’t a villain and who doesn’t die. That’s pretty big. After I played through the game, I had the opportunity to chat with Neil Druckmann, Creative Director at Naughty Dog. We spoke about Bill, the decision to make him a gay character, what it means for developers to write gay characters and women into games now, and what may happen to those characters in the future.

[Warning: Some spoilers for The Last of Us to follow]

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The Last of Us Has a Gay Character. Really!

This post will have some light spoilers for one of the characters in The Last of Us, but nothing about the ending or any main plot points.

Hey, did you know there’s a gay character in The Last of Us? I didn’t, until I got an email about it. I had just started playing the game, which at that point I found a little boring and samey, and I was pretty surprised by the news. I asked my straight friend about it, and he had no idea who I was talking about.

I kept playing, mainly to get through the game so I could have a conversation about it. And then I – after what seemed like an eternity – made it out of Boston and into the meat of the game. That’s where I met Bill.

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Mario Marathon 6 is Here

Today marks the start of the Mario Marathon 6, the, well… sixth annual charity event where a bunch of Mario fans play games non-stop to raise money for Child’s Play.  In the past five years, they’ve raised over $300,000 to help give hospitalized kids toys and games.

Mario Marathon is always a great way to spend a weekend. They’ll play every game non-stop until the donations run out, all while sitting in a room that looks like Mario heaven (or hell, if you really hate Mario for some reason).  Not only are the Mario games fun and whimsical, with a ton of nostalgia, but the group of people who run the Marathon – from playing the game to providing moral support and entertainment for the players and the viewers – are a lot of fun to watch. A couple of years ago they started using something called the Wheel of Awesome: at every $1000 of donations, the wheel spins and the people in the room perform a usually silly action for the amusement of the viewers.

I usually keep the Marathon on my laptop while I do other stuff, and donate occasionally when it’s time for the Wheel of Awesome, for the last push to unlock a game I love, or to enter into a contest to win some awesome prizes.

The Marathon airs live on Twitch TV, and you can check it out on their website, It will probably run through the weekend and well into the week. All donations go directly to Child’s Play, so you can rest secure in the knowledge that you’re having a lot of fun for a great cause.