A couple of weeks ago, Ryan ordered Red Dead Redemption, and suggested to me that he thought I’d enjoy the game, as it takes place in the Wild West. Being something of a Browncoat, and having grown up with a father who watched reruns of all the old TV westerns (and listened to the Old Time Radio versions, too), my interest was piqued. Anyway, he thought I should stick around while he played it (which I normally don’t do), so I agreed.
I got sucked into the game pretty quick, even though I wasn’t the one with the controller, and I discovered that I was enjoying the time we spent in the evenings, him playing, me watching. I grew attached to the characters in a way I usually reserve for books, I enjoyed the missions, I got nervous at the gang hideouts–I was totally engrossed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of violence, but the themes were appealing–a main character trying to make up for his past and save his family; trying to do the right things after a lifetime of bad choices. So, I overlooked the general violence in order to follow the story.
That was all well and good until last night. The night we stayed up until almost 2 a.m. (and still hadn’t actually reached the final scene!). The night that I was awake half of, thinking about the game. After what I thought was the second “ending” of about four different events that felt like endings, I was feeling shocked and dismayed. I found that I had gotten into the story just like I would a movie–only it was a movie that has taken up almost three full days to get through, instead of two hours. I also found that I was left with more questions than answers, and unlike a movie, where you can rewind, I can’t go back and re-watch the scenes I’m puzzling over, or try to look for missed details, unless we start all over.
So, these are the thoughts that kept me up half of what was a short night, anyway. And now that we finished the game (for what seemed like the fourth or fifth time) for real tonight, I’m still thinking about it, trying to figure it out, and feeling generally unhappy about the last third of the game.
This is why I don’t play video games–it really doesn’t have anything to do with their violence, I just don’t have time for the after-effects!