Wednesday, June 9, 2010
While playing Red Dead Redemption the other day, I not only realized just how artistically awesome video games can be (which made me think of this Medium by arts staff alumnus Tommy Morgan), but also how it seems like slapping anything with the "Western" tag, instantly makes it cool.
The Old West has always been a part of American folklore, and while kids probably don't play Cowboys and Indians as much as they used to, it seems like everyone gets told stories of the Gold Rush and exaggerated outlaw tales growing up.
Then of course you have the brilliant Dollars Trilogy by Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), which saw everyone trying out their best Clint Eastwood impersonation (if you haven't seen those flicks, quit reading now and check em' out).
Ever since it seems like American culture is obsessed with tales of "The Old West," "The Wild West," or whatever else you want to call it. Slap that tag on something and chances are tons of people will buy it.
A lesser known Western themed gem is Stephen King's Dark Tower series opener The Gunslinger, also a great read, even if you aren't necessarily into King's horror writing.
And recently Rockstar (also the dudes that made the Grand Theft Auto series) came the closest a video game has come to experiencing the world that is built up during our childhood with Red Dead Redemption.
I don't think any video game has immersed me into its world like Red Dead Redemption and I hope there are more like it to come. Instead of watching Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, you can actually BE the badass that is Eastwood in those movies.
I won't forget the night after a hunting trip gone bad in the game, that I was awoken by the image of a Grizzly Bear chasing me in the forest.
Sure you could get picky and argue the game (and some of the other examples here) take place somewhere closer to the South (like Texas or Mexico), but the idea of it is the same.
Americans just wish they lived in a time when the law was created by the people around you, and outlaws ran wild. As long as this holds true, Western themed products are going to sell, and even I will probably keep buying them.
Posted by Eric at 9:58 PM