Gamers often get a bad rap with a mainstream society consisting of a lot of non-gamers, but that's a self-correcting problem bound to fix itself over time. We're often accused of being introverts, desensitized to violence since all we do is sit around all day playing violent video games. While that might be true for a few, I seriously doubt it's much more than that.

But are we truly these emotionless beings incapable of socially acceptable behavior and interaction?

Of course not, that's ridiculous.

In fact, I'd argue we're quite the opposite. I'd go as far as suggesting playing video games, especially those with powerful and gripping stories, has taught us how to express our thoughts and emotions better than someone who doesn't play. Meh, but that's me.

Anyway, on with the point of this blog, and no, it's not another one about video games and violence. It truly is about The Last of Us, the latest game from Naughty Dog that released a day or two ago. I'm not going to say too much about the actual game as I'm working on a cooperative blog with a few folks from Game Informer Online, but I did want to mention one particular point about it.

From Naughty Dog, the creators of the Uncharted series, comes a post-apocalyptic game that breaks all conventions and redefines the genre. Plus, you can hit a mutant in the head with a brick!

When civilization has ended, your work is just beginning. Playing as Joel, a survivalist of the highest degree, it's your responsibility to get a girl across the former United States. She'll be your partner in crime with the added bonus of coordinated gameplay. You go for the head and she'll cut those mutants off at the knees.

Or maybe two points. As much as I loved Bioshock Infinite, especially the ending, if The Last of Us keeps pace with what I am witnessing right now, I can't help but say it is my current pick for Game of the Year. It's a sensational game.

But it is a heavy game.

I should've known I was in trouble when I started seeing a multitude of Tweets from various personalities - some regular gamers like me, and others...professionals in the industry, all commenting on how sad it was.

I even saw one Tweet that said, "Five minutes into the Last of Us and already cried once."

I don't know how far I'm into the game. Two, maybe three hours. I haven't cried, but I've come awfully close...twice. At least twice. Maybe more. The story is very engaging and I'm attached to the characters. I want to help them survive and I don't want anything bad to happen to them. It's as if I can feel their hopelessness and am doing my best to try and help.

Perhaps more than any other game I've ever played, this is an emotionally charged story. And I've played all five episodes of the Walking Dead.

After a myriad of other games where combat is just an everyday fact of life and you don't even really put much thought or emotion into your actions, and pulling the trigger feels more like pushing a button than a necessary consequence, The Last of Us successfully reminds me of the joy of life and the pain of death.

My son and I are playing through the game together. There have been several instances where he or I will say, "Wow, I can't believe that just happened." But then there are the moments where we just sit and look at each other and our eyes say it all.

Non-gamers can think or say whatever they want about us, because they don't know or cannot comprehend the fact video games can also be a powerful medium to tell a story that inspires us to value life, not take it for granted; to help, not hurt; to save humanity, not destroy it.

I don't know that everybody who plays the game will be impacted the way I have, but The Last of Us has reminded me life is precious, hug your kids often, help those in need when you can because you never know when you'll need help yourself...and conserve your ammo. You're going to need it.

Naughty Dog, you've created a truly remarkable world, and I've only scratched the surface of it.

Good night and good games.