Friday, June 11, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seriously... release the hounds.

The debate in England over fox hunting with dogs, its morality, and legality has been ongoing for years. On one side are those who see it as a sacred tradition, and on the other those who see it as cruel and unjust to the cute little foxes. It’s a real hot button debate over there and has been for some time now. This week one fox in London decided to cast his vote on the issue.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Red Dead Redemption hits dead on

Red Dead Redemption is Grand Theft Auto on horses.  That’s what I was led to believe the new incarnation from Rockstar was.  But it’s so much more than that. 

Sure it has all the shady and crooked characters one comes to expect from the company.  And of course there’s the gunplay.  But unlike GTA, where the thrill was to commit crimes and wreak havoc across the landscape, there’s a strong urge to play on the morally righteous side.  There’s a deep satisfaction to helping a random stranger that you cross paths with in the game.  It’s probably the closest thing we gamers will get to feeling like Clint Eastwood in one of those Spaghetti Westerns from days past. 

Another plus is the various storylines and how they unfold.  The history of how the West was lost is told without being “dumbed down” for gamers.  Rockstar treats their consumers with respect to their intelligence and they should be praised for that.  Any other development company would have created something that resembled “Young Guns” rather than “Deadwood”.

The crowning achievement, though, was the halfway point in the game.  It’s one that has those who’ve played the game abuzz with how a videogame can match any emotional moment from a movie.  As you mount your horse for the first time in Mexico a song starts to strum and enter Jose Gonzalez’ voice singing a haunting song called “Far Away”.  The common discussion amongst gamers is “how did the song play out for you?” since the environment is always unexpectedly changing.  For some they listened to the song as a rainstorm blanketed the terrain.  Others rode their horses under a starry night with only moonlight to guide their way.  For me the sun was setting on the mesa dotted landscape and brought out the beauty of the Mexican desert.  Yes, this is only videogame, people!  But it’s so much more.

Below is the song with some accompanying footage of cut-scenes from the game.  To see what I’m talking about, however, you’ll just have to play the game.