Last night I played Red Dead Redemption, which is a fancy cinematic video game about Ye Olde West and outlaws and gunfights and whatnot. There are horses. It's pretty amazing, in the way that all these new games are. I've watched a friend play Heavy Rain and Alan Wake, and watching him play was sort of like watching a crap old movie on TV—you could sort of just sit through it, and it wasn't terrible, it just is what it is. We could carry on a conversation and drink beer while he was playing, and I didn't mind not playing the games myself. But then last night I was at one of those target-shooting pigroasts I go to, and I got a chance to actually play RDR, so I did, and here's my problem:
Remember Q*bert? Yeah, probably not. Q*bert was an arcade game back in the early 1980s, before you were born. Q*bert was this little character like a ball with eyes and legs and a tube for a nose, and the point of the game was to jump him all over a pyramid of cubes (whilst avoiding snakes!) and when you turned all the cubes a different color, then you got some more cubes to jump on. But if you just took Q*bert to the edge of the pyramid and jumped him off, he would fall, making an awesome bombs-away kind of noise, and then there was a very satisfying SPLAT when he landed wherever he landed, somewhere down below and out of sight. I never got past level one of Q*bert because I loved to hear him splat, and I would put in my quarter and jump him to the edge of the pyramid and send him over the edge, over and over again, until I realized how many quarters I was wasting and then went off to play, like, Tempest or something.
With Red Dead Redemption, I have the Q*bert Problem. I'm tearing along in a horse-drawn wagon race on a twisty mountain road, and I realize I can just drive the damned wagon over the edge of a cliff and watch my character fly out and the horse fall and the wagon split apart ... And then I'm back in the wagon race, and there's a different cliff to fall off of, and this time everything lands in a river. It is really astonishing that someone figured out all the possible scenarios for wagons going off cliffs in this one race, and animated each one differently—I mean, it really is amazing. I know that crashing off the cliff isn't supposed to be the point of the game, but if they only had John Marston make that Q*bert noise when I sent him off the edge, Red Dead Redemption would be the best game ever.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.