I have a confession to make. I didn’t grow up with video games.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and on my own that I got my first console, a PlayStation 2 that I paid $50 for nearly 6 years after it was released. In 2011, I bought an X-Box 360, also six years after it was released.
There are some drawbacks to being a console (and more than a half decade) behind the cutting edge of video gaming. Avoiding spoilers for that length of time is tough, especially working in an industry where the nerdy stuff is a daily topic of conversation.
But if you can stomach not “keeping up with the Johnsons,” being six years behind is an amazing blessing. There are hundreds of titles available for your “new” console the moment you purchase it. All of the bugs that are fixable have been fixed. Each last in-game feature morsel of DLC is available, with both main title and pay-to-play content often available at steep discounts.
When I picked up my X-Box 360 in December 2011, I decided to pick up the then year-and-a-half-old Red Dead Redemption at the same time. I had been a big fan of Rockstar Games since Vice City (which, though it came out in 2002, I only managed to sink my teeth into four years after it was released). I figured Red Dead would be the GTA in the desert.
I was wrong. It was so much more.
To this day, Red Dead Redemption is the single most beautiful and addicting video game I’ve ever played.
Perhaps the most telling argument for the game’s intrinsic beauty and playability is the ability to get John Marston on his horse and simply ride around the map for hours, rescuing damsels in distress, hunting buffalo, dueling with Mexican bandits, and watching the amazing landscape ebb, flow, and change around him, without once completing a single mission in the main story line.
It took me years to complete the main story line, simply because most days I played, all I wanted to do was saddle up and ride.
Today Rockstar announced a sequel to this gem of the video game landscape. Red Dead Redemption 2 is due out in October 2017, with its first trailer appearing on Thursday.
There has not ever been a video game title that’s pushed me to spend the kind of money that the “next gen” consoles demand. Though I’m a huge NFL fan, I’ll keep updating my Madden 15 rosters and re-playing with old graphics and physics. Ditto with FIFA 15. I’m three titles behind in Gears of War, so GoW4 holds little interest for me. Destiny is not my destiny.
Red Dead 2 is.
Come October 2017, I will have my next-gen console. And if Rockstar lives up to the hype and promise that it’s shown within its capabilities, I’ll have a new favorite video game as well.