Red Dead Redemption…and my rage (s)

I have never been so angry, so full of venom, and so vengeful in a game as I have during this one.

That’s MISTER John Marston

I don’t mean that the game sucks or that it’s hard or that I can’t complete a mission.  No, I’m talking about the ending.  Wait…before I get ahead of myself, let me start off by saying that one previous time the game did send me into a homicidal rage.  Also, let me state that this game has an incredible way to make you feel attached to believable characters.

In one mission, Bonnie McFarland is captured and you have to save her.  Well, that was all well and good, making me already a little pissed off that the characters in the game had taken her to begin with.  After I arrived, I saw they had her strung up on a noose, slowly choking to death.  I saw red, and I don’t mean I started Dead Eye Mode.  I ran passed everyone with a sawed-off shotgun, blasting people in the head as I went along, and cut her down.  The moment she was down, not knowing you don’t really have a time limit to do so, I went on a rampage.

I didn’t just kill as many as I could, I made sure I killed all of them.  After they were dead, I went through the hideout and killed all their dogs and all of their horses.  I made sure that NOTHING was left living in that area.  There was not going to be a single living thing left alive that could be associated with the crime.

The rest of the game went fairly well, with tragedy here and there, making you blink in surprise…and then you get John Marston back to his family.  The music which plays as you ride back to your farm is soft, sad, and happy at the same time.  It’s like watching the ending of a great Western film.  To my surprise, the game kept going, too!  I was so happy.

Then it happened…the man I spent the last 46 hours playing as, the man who I can actually relate to (his anger, his rage, and his willingness to do terrible things in order to protect everything he cares about) is gunned down right before my eyes as he sends his family off to safety.

I’m going to be honest…I’m raging right now thinking about the scene.  Oh, it doesn’t end there…not only do I watch this man die slowly, gasping for air, his skin ripped from his body, as the piece of shit who set him up flicks a match on his corpse and walk away, but after the scene fades out with his wife bawling his eyes out hugging him, you see the grave stone with his years alive.  Just after that, as it fades out once again, it comes back in with the grave of his wife only three years later.  His son stands there, watching on in a rain storm, tips his hat, and turns away.

At this point, again, I was surprised that the game wasn’t over just yet, but I had a blackness come over me.  A blackness that I made me into a homicidal maniac and tugged on a dark nature deep inside.  I’m not saying that I would just go out and murder someone, no, but I have no qualms about skinning you like a fucking rabbit if you fuck with my family.  Unfortunately for all of us, thinking that I’m just being an ass behind the computer trying to be tough isn’t true, and my military record, sealed as it is, reflects it.  It’s nothing to me to take out one more person, so fuck off.

Given that this is a video game, I allowed myself to be that maniac.  I was so angry, bitter, and blinded by rage that I went on a killing spree.  No, I didn’t use cheats.  No, I didn’t use glitches.  This was pure skill within the confines of the game.  I immediately rode out to Blackwater and began to destroy everything associated with the Bureau.  This was going to be mine and Jack’s (now your playable character) time to send a message.

I killed every horse outside of their building.  I killed every person with their badge that I could find.  I racked up a $75,000 bounty on my head.  I still used the bandanna, only to keep my “honor” rating high to get the “Trophie/Achievement” for having highest honor and highest fame.  The game literally STOPPED sending people after me.  It’s like the game characters got the fucking hint.  As I stood looking around the pile of trophies…I mean bodies around me, I took a deep breath and saw the question mark on my map near the train station.

To my absolute happiness, I got the information as to where that shit bag, Edgar Ross, was now retired.  I became even more enraged to hear about him retiring happily out at a lake with his wife.  After getting the information, I took out my sawed-off shotgun and shot the rookie in the fucking face as thanks.  I then rode as fast as I could to my new destination.

After lying to the cunt…I mean Mrs. Ross, I got the information I needed.  As thanks, I shot the bitch in the face with the same pistol her husband used to kill John.  Oh, but don’t worry, I would make sure that Edgar would be just behind her in line in Hell.

As fast as my horse could ride, I went to the new location…only to find someone who was not Edgar.  Turns out it’s his brother.  To thank the man, I light him on fire with a Molotov cocktail.  I am not a man completely devoid of compassion.  As John often says, “I’m a bad man, but I do have a heart.”  As he screamed in pain, begging for it to end, I shot him in the head with my Mauser pistol and headed to where I would end it all for good.

Yes, I found Edgar Ross.  The piece of shit was happily duck hunting.  The piece of shit had the audacity to insult John even further, and even tried to justify it all.  I realized I was squeezing the controller so hard my knuckles were white.  The moment I waited for had arrived: I was going to kill Edgar Ross and send him to videogame Hell.

The German Mauser pistol holds fifteen shots.  I made sure that I got off everyone one.  I fired two shots into where I assumed his balls where, moved up slightly to where I assumed his dick was, and then put twelve shots in his head.  As Jack shot, I actually shouted, “EAT IT, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!”

Edgar tumbled into the river where his body began to float away.  Jack looked down at his gun, took a deep sigh, and the game ended.  I was left…feeling how Jack must feel.  Edgar was dead, I managed to kill everything and everyone associated with the man, and yet, what was accomplished afterward? Yes, the man is in Hell now and dead, which needed to happen.  I felt relieved after all of that, but I was still angry, still mad, and every time I turn on the game I’m reminded of it, as I now play as Jack instead of John.

I’m sure that this was the entire point of the ending and I am so amazed at the quality of the game.  Not even when Aeris died did I care that much.  Not even when Katie/Roman died in GTA4 did I really give a shit.  Not since Final Fantasy 6 was I moved by characters that much in a videogame.  I was shocked a bit when Master Robinton died in All the Weyrs of Pern, but even after spending four novels with the character was I moved as much as I was supposed to.

Before you get all “You need therapy”, shut the fuck up.  The point of art and in this case, artistic entertainment, the point is to move you and get you to connect.  Movies attempt to do the same thing, but with me, it’s just not something that happens.  I normally have myself completely separated.  Perhaps it’s the way I can actually relate with the characters in this game that it had the intended effect.

Congratulations, Rockstar, you not only produced your greatest videogame character to date, but you actually got an emotional response from me with a work of fiction.

Rest in peace, John Marston 

Posted 7/16/2010 at 12:8 AM on Xanga