So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

http://www.COWBOYFASTDRAW.com

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.

Red Dead Redemption 2: Playing in the future by exploring the great westerns of the past

When Red Dead Redemption came out many years ago, I said that it was one of the best westerns ever produced. As a video game by Rockstar, the company that made the title, it was an awe-inspiring effort that still holds up as one of the greatest games ever made eight years later. Other games that were benchmarks of open world simulation gaming have been titles that I’ve referred to such as Uncharted 4 for the PlayStation 4 console, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch. I wish I had time to play everything because I really enjoy video games, but I only have time for a few that I consider to be exceptional and game changers. So when those types of games come out, I usually take some time to spend with them. And that was certainly the case when it came to the sequel to Red Dead Redemption called appropriately enough, Red Dead Redemption 2. The game has been on the radar for release for a long time, many years now but finally on October 26th of 2018 the game made release so I targeted time to spend with it for my own reasons. The game itself is a prequel to the previous story and is set this time in 1899, a period I am very interested in regarding American history. The result was just astonishing. It really is the closest thing to a real-life West World experience that anybody could hope to get. It is not a perfect simulated reality but as a player you can easily forget about the real world and find yourself living and breathing in that massive computer world complete to every detail including tree bark, flowers and insects. The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is fully alive with people and places set in the Old West and is just an amazing technical achievement not to mention some of the best writing for a western that I’ve ever experienced. It is truly an amazing achievement that is worth talking about.

But first there needs to be some context as to how powerful and popular video game sales are, especially for something like this. As a person I am well over the age of the average player so when my wife and I picked up our pre-ordered copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 at GameStop at Bridgewater Falls in Ohio at 9 P.M. on October 25, just hours before the official release at midnight I was met with a very large line that snaked out the door, down the sidewalk and down into the parking lot. I had just come off an important oversea call with some business partners and worked some political angles that were important for the upcoming election. On the very next night I would be at the Jim Renacci debate with Sherrod Brown at Miami University and mingling with the crowd there. During those conversations the talk wasn’t about the upcoming election for anybody under the age of 30, it was about playing Red Dead Redemption 2. But I didn’t get any weird looks for being too old to be at GameStop even though I can’t say that I had ever been to a video game release quite like this. One of my daughters used to manage a GameStop store and she’d tell me about these hot releases, such as happen with each new Madden game or Call of Duty. But this game, Red Dead Redemption 2 had been promoted for a long time as the game missed several previous release dates so people were very excited to see the result. My wife somehow managed to get us into group one on the pre-release so literally the moment we arrived we were called to the front of the line to pick up our copy and within a few minutes we were back home to start the 3 hour download of over 100gigs of information just to start playing the game. The game sold over 17 million copies during that opening weekend which accounted for nearly $800 million in sales. Compared to the average Hollywood movie, these video games are just destroying the traditional movie experience. These entertainment platforms are far more popular with young people than any movie and for good reason. I left that GameStop amazed.

It’s no secret that I love gunfighters and the basic morality of the Wild West period. I have always felt that there was something extremely optimistic about Wild West towns, that really beautiful moment in world history where individual liberty was free to dream and yearn for a better life as it matched up against the harsh realities of nature. The great things about westerns and the American historic period about gunfighters is that it was the culmination of a lot of philosophic thought crashing into an Asian culture in the American Indian that puts many of our modern problems into a correct context. And Rockstar Games has done something quite remarkable with Red Dead Redemption 2, they have paid honest homage to great classic westerns like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Magnificent Seven and High Plains Drifter and literally put video game players in those worlds not with a two-hour story but one that goes on for hundreds of hours. I have been taking my time with the game and am at over 100 hours and I still have a lot more story to get through as of this writing. I have been doing all the side quest which include taking up bounty hunting jobs, fishing, hunting, crafting various equipment improvements and generally exploring a massive western themed world from the high snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains and deserts of the lowlands. There is even a fictional town called Saint Denis which is a kind of New Orleans city complete with early versions of electricity that is fully realized and populated with people. For instance, just for fun I went into town on my horse and spent the entire night in a high stakes poker game, and I won a lot of money. The game play was just jaw dropping cool, and realistic. It was as close to an experience of actually sitting down at a table in Las Vegas is, yet the whole thing was set in an Old West environment as the sun set and rose again outside the windows. There are many little side activities in Red Dead Redemption 2 that a player could literally get lost in forever, if there was ever enough time in that sentiment.

The game is quite honest and eager to explore the clash of progressivism with the rugged concept of the American individualist and the amount of dialogue that was written and acted in this story by many random events is just staggering. There really isn’t any way to experience everything and to talk to everyone in just one playthrough of the game. Decisions made have consequences in the overall world so not everyone will be available to players based on what they do or say to other people. But the basic plot of the game guides you through a kind of participatory novel. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a story telling experience that is unlike anything ever produced, novel, motion picture or Broadway play. There are some very probing questions asked in the story that is explored with great depth that no western ever had time to fully contemplate. The attention to every little detail is just staggering and how they all randomly interact with each other only conjured in my mind that Red Dead Redemption was simply an early version of the HBO series West World. You really do forget that you are playing a game as a player, you are pulled into that world and living it.

At this point I still have a lot more to play, I probably won’t have it wrapped up as a story until after the Thanksgiving Holiday. Maybe even Christmas. If I put 14 hours a weekend into the game it will probably take another 6 weeks to finish, that is how big it is as a conceptional element. Players could blast through the story if they wanted probably in 60 hours or so, but for me, I want to live in that world of Red Dead Redemption. I personally love the time period and the optimism of the American frontier and this is the best way to experience it. Even in their worst elements, I consider the drunks, thieves and whores of the Old West to be much better people than our modern counterparts because there is an honesty in human endeavor that is evident in that time period that is lacking in modern life, so I am spending as much time there as I can. And if you are like me and like to play video games but don’t have time for all of them, if you had to pick, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the one to play. It is better than any Netflix series, any movie made, or long-standing network television program. It is modern entertainment in its best form yet and it is something to see. If this is how entertainment in the future will be, then we all have a lot to look forward to. One thing that is obvious about the makers of Read Dead Redemption 2 is that they love American westerns and they have somehow managed to put every one of them into the story of this new video game from the ugliness of criminal outlaws, such as the movie the Wild Bunch explored down to the innocence and honesty of Little House on the Prairie. It’s all there in raw and spectacular fashion and is an experience everyone should have at least once, no matter how old you may be.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.

Nintendo’s Labo: A stunning new addition to the hot selling Switch platform that is a real innovation in the foundations of “play”

With all the things going on in the world, one of the best things I have observed is the wonderful outside the box thinking by the people at Nintendo with their invention of the Switch console device. As anyone who knows me understands, I love innovative learning technology. While there likely will never be a better substitute for learning than the function of a book, there are a lot of neat technological developments that inspire learning while having fun and the most innovative that I have seen in recent years is the Nintendo Switch. I have spent hours and hours on it playing games like Zelda and Mario Odyssey, and I was stunned to see that Doom was available for the little device. I think the portability of such a powerful device is absolutely astonishing—you can essentially sit in an airport waiting on a flight and play complicated video games on the move. The experience can be paused to resume in your hotel later and can then be put back up on your television when you get home. For a massive experience like Zelda, I think the game portability combined with the intricacies of the game itself provided me with a once in a lifetime game experience that I cherished in 2017.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/gaming/nintendo-labo-almost-tossed-in-trash-at-ratings-board/ar-AAuUavo

I have been sharing more and more the Switch experience with my oldest grandson and my nieces are heavily involved in their Switch, so its been fun to watch this whole thing flowing into such a positive family bonding experience. The Nintendo Switch games aren’t just fun, they are quite smart and seem inclined to inspire intelligence among their players. I was very impressed with the kind of games my grandson wanted to play on the Switch, of note—titles like Stick it to the Man—which is a remarkably complex game geared toward the early teen market. As I watched him play it I was amazed at how clever it was. Culturally there is a lot to be anxious about in our political landscape, but I see a lot of hope and yearning in video game designers and producers of the hardware of this Switch console. That it brings so much joy to my grandson is enough for me, but I am very excited about every new Switch release because of the inclination toward innovation that is on full display within the industry.

Usually a device like the Switch wears out its technical prowess after the first year and we all look toward the next great thing. But the people at Nintendo had just began to touch the magic of their Switch device apparently, and in April they have a new addition coming out for it called Nintendo Labo which essentially lets you turn the Nintendo Switch into just about anything, from a working piano to a complex robot using cardboard cutouts. I was just a little shocked at the simplicity of the whole presentation when Nintendo released their first look at the incredible technology during the middle of January 2018. What it aims to do is essentially take the raw imaginative power of playing with paper and cardboard and adds a technical dimension to it all to bridge fantasy to reality. My impression is that it was a stunning undertaking that has real possibilities in the realm of personal education.

https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/news/nintendo-switch-gets-diy-cardboard-accessories-and-more-w515556

One of the big criticisms of video gaming as opposed to books and classroom instruction is that the belief is that video games inspire antisocial skills for the introvert in all of us, and does not inspire proper interaction with other people. I don’t agree with any of that. If anything, video games these days are very community based and devices like the Switch allow young people who cannot yet participate in the greater aspects of the world to have access to that freedom early under supervised conditions. I can’t think of a better way to teach young people how to function in the world than to put the world in their hands along with all the possibilities and to let them play around with what works and what doesn’t. After all, isn’t that why kids play to begin with? We let them play so they can learn. Heck, as an adult I still play at lots of things because playing and learning go hand in hand. Kids should not learn to play less as they get older, adults need to learn to play more.

Kids love attention with adults to work on projects, whether its model rockets, Lego projects or back yard science experiments. If an adult will sit down with a child and play with them, both get a lot out of the experience. Obviously for the children, they have the most to gain and they always appreciate the attention—and that is what the fine people at Nintendo have uncovered with their new Labo concept. Who hasn’t built model vehicles and buildings out of cardboard, but to allow the Switch to bring life to them gives that extra incentive to put a bit more effort into the task, and to have those sit downs with the children in your life to allow them to have those critical teaching moments—the learning of basic physics and mechanical applications of known construction methods. It’s a brilliant concept that takes an already great device, the Nintendo Switch, and really ramps up its appeal and market influence.

Pessimists will declare that the new Labo offering is just another way for Nintendo to make money—but isn’t that the name of the game? To offer the public something of value with just cardboard seems like a damn good idea to me. We will likely get all the Labo kits which will run us many hundreds of dollars, but if it gives us good times with the children in our lives we’ll consider it all worthwhile. Still to this very day my kids remember all the little things we built together, and those moments are very sentimental to them. Kids neve forget no matter how old they get. What Nintendo has done is to take those opportunities for family bonding and brought life to them with the wonderful features of the very technically malleable Switch device.

More and more my grandson has been taking our Switch home with him to play with, and I let him because I think the device is a miracle that can really inspire intelligence. I can’t help but think of Neolithic man building shelters against inclement weather and spending half of their day hunting for food and the other half trying to procreate. Then to think how far we’ve come as a species where we can get food in five minutes and spend the rest of our day playing a video game on such a portable device. A Nintendo Switch can take the mind to places once though unimaginable and encourage the brain development that took thousands of years of evolution to otherwise muster, and we can now achieve so much before a child even turns ten—if only we could turn the switch on in their minds and ignite their imaginations with an expectation of greatness. And while the people at Nintendo Switch are in business to make money, they really didn’t have to go this far to make it—they are offering nothing less than a positive device for all of human kind to inspire in them the best that it means to be human—and they put it into a very small, and easy to use device that actually accentuates our very lives as people. And that is quite remarkable.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

Playstation VR: The future of education

I’ve had it for a while now but given all the news of the day haven’t really had a chance that was justifiable to discuss it, but I have to say, the new Playstation VR system is an absolutely stunning evolution for home video game play.  I have a rather insatiable appetite for adventure and violence with an emphasis on competitive necessity so video game play is actually a time management tool for me which I enjoy immensely.  For instance, I am proud to be a grown man with many intense responsibilities who can still reach level 90 on Star Wars: Battlefront and being one of the top players in the ship to ship combat even against the best in the entire world—who have nothing else to do in life but play video games.  I don’t have that luxury and I still manage in some games to have 30 or more kills per game—which is quite high.  Video games are a nice outlet for my aggressive nature so when Sony came out with the new Playstation VR in October I was one of the first to get it—because honestly, I couldn’t wait.  However, I was highly skeptical about how well it would actually work so let me report that it is absolutely mind-blowing.

For context, my video game playing days began almost 40 years ago with the Atari 2400 set up on a spare black and white television that had a very small 10” or so screen.  When my family wanted to do something really nice for me on a special weekend when I had friends over, or for a birthday, my dad would hook up that old Atari on a slightly larger 24” color television and we could see colors in our video games—so that was my point of reference.  Of those old Atari games one of my favorites was the game called Adventure—which was a story of dragon slaying and treasure hunting that needed a lot of imagination to buy into—since the game play was some really primitive graphics.  My other favorite game was The Empire Strikes Back which was essentially a Star Wars version of the popular game Defender.  So I was around at the beginning of home video game play and it’s been something I’ve done now for four decades.  I’ve never been one of those people who only play video games in what little spare time that I have—it’s always been a supplement to my life—but I have always enjoyed them.  I remember fondly growing up and playing games at the arcade for 25 cents each play then coming home and playing games on our home system.  So when Sony beat everyone else to the market with an affordable VR system for the counsole market, I had to get it mainly for the sentiment.  I didn’t expect it to work very well, and I thought it would have some bright spots—but my expectations were pretty low.

So I get this thing home and spent a lot of time setting it up—and getting to know it since much of the motion control stuff were things I wasn’t familiar with.  To be honest I bought the Playstation VR so that I could play the Star Wars: Battlefront VR mission that was coming out on December 6th, and at the time, that was still a few months away, so I wasn’t in any real hurry.  I picked up a few games to try out with it, like VR Worlds and a horror game called Rush Blood, but otherwise had my target on that extension of Battlefront during the upcoming Holiday Season.  Once it was all hooked up one of the first games I played was Ocean Decent on the VR Worlds disk and I was immediately enraptured.  The graphics were so jaw dropping real that I felt immediately that the concept of video game play had just changed forever.  By the time I played a game called The London Heist, I was sure of it.  The graphics were stunning, the game play intensely real and the entire platform truly did take your mind to a different place.  I took the headset off and put it down for a little while thinking of all the nice things I had said earlier in the year about the latest Uncharted game for Playstation and I found myself looking very much forward to the first wave of adventure games that surely would hit the market because the VR game play truly did put a player into another world while sitting in the middle of your living room.  You can easily be transported to another place and time with the Playstation VR because honestly, your mind doesn’t know the difference.  We are so used to accepting realities with our eyes and ears and the Playstation VR does a great job of giving those two senses enough information to convince your brain that what you are seeing is truly real.  It is quite astonishing.

I found the Playstation VR to be a real hit during our Thanksgiving celebrations as it was a real ice breaker.  People visiting our house for dinner were able to go on a deep ocean dive or battle robotic monstrosities in the safety of my couch and as each person took off the headset there was a look of wonder on their faces.  That alone would have made the cost of the whole enterprise worth it to me.  But coming up still was my Battlefront DLC so the adventure was just getting started.  It seemed unbelievable that such a thing would even be available for the home market.  It would seem that the VR technology should be so expensive that you could only get the experience at a place like Dave and Busters or the Main Event.

Recently I was at the Main Event in West Chester enjoying the video games they have there during a lunch break on a rather intense day of work and I couldn’t help but think that the Playstation VR made all the games exhibited there seem clunky.   What I had at my house far exceeded what the best of the video game market had to offer and that is saying something. I have been in contact with the people at VR Immersive Education who are about to present their Apollo 11 Experience to the Playstation market.  They already offer their VR documentary of an Apollo 11 moon landing on the Oculus Rift and HTC Hive systems.  They told me they plan to release their wonderful software to the Playstation community around Christmas time.  To me, projects like their Apollo 11 Experience are where VR really thrives and is certainly the future of that technology.  The games are fun, but what VR does best is put you into places that might otherwise be prohibitive, such as on a conference call with a contact in another country where you can see what they do and look around the room at things you couldn’t see unless you are actually there.   Or visit a city or museum in a far away place and look at things in the same fashion as you would if you were just strolling around.  That makes all VR technology extremely education oriented because it can put you in places you otherwise couldn’t get to.  Regarding this Apollo 11 VR Experience, it puts you on the moon realistically which is as close as you’re going to get aside from actually being there.

http://immersivevreducation.com/the-apollo-11-experience/

Not only is this new VR technology fun for gaming, it is the most powerful tool we have now for education.  On the Playstation VR headset there is voice activation, so this would be the best way to learn a new language, get a pilot’s license, learn to drive a car or interact with an environment that is not around your home.  The potential is just jaw dropping.  Needless to say, I am deeply impressed.  What I thought would just be a gimmick turned out to be a technical game changer.  I am still looking forward to the Star Wars: VR Mission coming up, but now more than anything I am looking forward to the education programs like Apollo 11 and voyages to Mars that are coming up for VR headsets.  For kids, there is no better ways to learn about space, or even the inner workings of the human body, geography, or human interactions through speech than with the VR technology that is being unleashed before us now.  My respect extends beyond evolutionary nostalgia derived from my first youthful aphorisms—it comes from the recognition that VR is the best education tool that we currently have for all ages of learning and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  To those who worked hard to bring that technology forth, fantastic job.  You have opened the world to everyone and made it so the only limit to filling our minds with good things is our own personal restrictions based on effort.  Because VR does most of the heavy lifting in a spectacular way.  Every home should have some version of a VR headset for education purposes primarily.  It is a fantastic invention that will fill minds with experiences it otherwise couldn’t get.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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Red Dead Redemption: The Best Western in over Twenty Years

There are some things that established thinking in politics will never understand, because their culture is relative to their emotional states established before their 15th birthdays. It is well known that many people don’t evolve much emotionally beyond their middle to late teen years. That means that the values established in those years become the final touches of a psyche that will travel with that person all their lives.

And that is where a major gap exists between those adults that grew up prior to the computer revolution, and the adults that grew up after. And the teens that are now spending much of their development participating in online games, such as Medal of Honor, World of WarCraft, Gears of War, Halo, and Madden Football are having a different emotional experience than those that currently sit in the halls of power. And that is why those who analyze the Tea Party movement are completely lost, because there are elements emerging that defy the old powers that have controlled the human mind for thousands of years.

Well, I’m a man that grew up after this computer revolution. But what I’ve done personally is that I did not stop my development at age 15. I have continued a youthful mindset well into my adulthood. So as the computer age has emerged, I have enjoyed the benefit of the interactive gaming industry, and how they have now moved into a marketplace that rivals Hollywood movies. And I enjoy playing them and with each new game I find the experience beneficial.

With that said, my top game experience of 2010 was Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead is a spaghetti western style game that allows you to do anything anytime, and anywhere in a vast western era style environment. It is the best western produced since Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider back in the 80’s, but what this western has going for it is that you get to play the part of the lead character. And that is a dramatic new element that I find infinitely fascinating.

The music is the best western style soundtrack since Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, and For a Few Dollars More. The style of direction is undeniably Sergio Leone, which again is a very welcome site.

The story of the game is about the evils of politics, which has particular appeal to me. Younger players may not get so much out of that story line, but I found it particularly potent. It’s about the encroachment of civilized, European style government over the rugged individualism of the western settler. But the story also deals with the deception of those same individuals that resort to the pack mentality of cattle rustlers, and Mexican revolutionaries.

One of the greatest thrills in the game are the one on one duals that you get to be in, where you have to quick drawl another gunman like we’ve all seen in hundreds of westerns. It is quite an experience to do it through the character of the game.

The game for me was a great relief from the reality of modern life where people have evolved into very soft and fragile versions of European ideology. I found the characters surviving the Wild West to be refreshing versions of the overly padded people we all have to deal with on a daily basis. In Red Dead, people get shot, they die, they fight with boldness and honor, and they don’t do a whole lot of complaining.

And that was the best part of the game.

The established portion of society hasn’t picked up on it yet, but the story to games like Red Dead Redemption is very sophisticated and politically significant if not entirely successful of recreating history both accurately and mythically. And it was a great pleasure to play.

And for Halloween, they released this! What great fun!


Rich Hoffman

www.overmanwarrior.com