I’ve been playing a lot of Red Dead 2 since I got it on Saturday. Right now I’m in the development phase of making a review trying to approach it from a certain angle.
These ideas aren’t fully formed but here’s what I’m thinking:
Post-Western: The idea that the Red Dead series is a post-western is nothing new (wise crack did a video on it leading to the release) however I think there are some interesting post-western ideas present in the game. The two major concepts are the horse testicle physics and picking hat off the ground. The former is a weird area to focus resources right? Horse testicle physics? Really? However, this is a true post-western move. Showing the horse in such an unfiltered light is so counter to the mythic idea which westerns hold horse to. The same kinda goes for being able to pick hats off the ground. Hats are some of the most sacred icons of cowboys but in this way the game makes them interchangeable like any object.
PC Culture in Triple A Gaming: Near the beginning of the game one of the men that Arthur Morgan–our protagonist–is traveling with makes a comment about some Native Americans they see. Red Dead is a Rockstar game so you’d expect it to fall into the same hyper violent because its fun play style as Grand Theft Auto. However it doesn’t. The character comments on the violent usurpation and oppression of the Natives. Imagine if near the beginning of a GTA game they took type to comment on feminism in a serious way, it’d be jarring. I go both ways on this part cause its fine that they included it but also would be fine if its gone. I do notice this trend across the industry though. Kratos in the new God of War is almost a neutered version of himself. He gets angry at his own son for killing a god. Something Kratos has done a lot. You also see it to an extent in Battlefield–where they include African Americans in a war which had very little representation of that group–and Mario Odyssey–where at the end peach makes the feminist choice to reject Mario. I don’t think any of them are bad but it is an industry trend. Maybe it shows games are maturing into an art form? Also, why did battlefield get flack for their decision?
Rockstar claims you can be an outlaw in the game but make it really hard to be. Even bumping into someone will cause there to be a bounty on you. And any bounty spawns lawman and bounty hunters around you. Is this saying something profound? Is this another aspect of the PC culture influence on Rockstar? They’re no longer making it easy to be bad.
Aiming in the game is so easy you don’t even need to look. The auto-aim just guides you. Which I think gets into another industry trend: making games accessible. This is the same in Mario Odyssey with their ‘easy mode’ or whatever its called that leads you around the map and with the obnoxious navigation indicators in Spider-Man.
Transportation and Freedom: This one is really underdeveloped so take it for what its worth. We mythicize horses, trains and car in american culture. These are all forms of transportation. Transportation gives freedom. America is a big country so we need transportation to get around it. The wild west and manifest destiny is about freedom.
So those are just some thoughts I’ve been having swirl around my head. Any other ideas you can add? Any insights? leave a comment.
I eat a Pork Sausage Patty [Maple Flavored] Meal Ready-To-Eat I found in the garbage. No, I am not ashamed that I had to physically get into a dumpster to retrieve it.
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With out further ado:
What do we lose when we talk about one concept in terms of another? What does the framing concept hide and where does pineapple-strawberry-orange-juice come into play?
Find out as we journey into Chapter 3 of George Lakoff and Mark Johnsons’ Metaphors We Live By.