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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No real spoilers, some discussion of character conversations in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Smell that? It’s white hot rage!

Nugget’s birthday went fine, so my white hot rage is selfish. It’s also similar to yours in that it’s game related, but it’s not the game’s fault. Or mine. It’s my family’s.

I was so tired last night. Kid home all day, finally got to relax cuz birthday was over, that sort of thing. I was too tired for booze. No, I just wanted to a) play my video game and b) watch the hockey game.

So I sat down to play, thinking that the kids always want mommy time and look, there’s mommy right there. But would they leave? No. Would they shut up? No. Would they sit the fuck down and stop walking in front of the television? No.

I did manage to fish with Javier who gave me crickets. He said some stuff about Dutch not really changing, despite what Arthur thinks, and being willing to die if it meant dying free. I think. People were talking.

Then I went back to camp and sat down, and Arthur started talking around a fire. He started saying he was sorry that he was so mad all the time, it was just that he cared so much and MAN it sounded like awesome bloggage and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW IT ENDED CUZ NO ONE SHUT UP AND I COULDN’T EVEN READ THE SUBTITLES CUZ PEOPLE KEPT WALKING IN FRONT OF THE TV and I rage quit.

The kicker? Mrs. McP said “What, nothing was happening. He was just sitting there.”

White. Hot. Rage.

And then no one shut up during the hockey game.

But anyway, what did he say? It seems he is entering another stage of grief, or something. We’ve seen Dutch in denial, we’ve seen Arthur have some fear and some anger, now, it seems, I THINK CUZ PEOPLE DISTRACTED ME that we’re seeing guilt.

Are we? I don’t know.

I can’t do a damn thing when people are here.

Feminina:

Oh, dude. I salute you for even attempting to play with that many people around. It is a testament to the intensity of the suffering of your broken, gameless soul, and the durability of hope in the face of terrible odds.

I hope you have time to play today. I hope you’re playing RIGHT NOW.

Alas, I can’t fill you in on Arthur’s musings by the campfire since I don’t remember details of that specific event. I mean, I know he’s mused before, but I don’t remember him apologizing for being mad because he cares so much. Hm. Maybe my Arthur hasn’t done that yet? Maybe my Arthur doesn’t care that much. Heh.

That would be an interesting game twist, if certain characteristics of the main character were sort of randomly generated, so even though everyone is playing Arthur Morgan, some people get an Arthur Morgan who cares so much, and some get one who doesn’t give a damn (although if he didn’t give a damn, the whole drama with the gang and Dutch wouldn’t even work–he only stays because he cares about them, obviously).

I suppose maybe I was just tuning it out when he talked, but even I have a hard time missing dialogue when there’s no chance I’m trying to shop or loot at the same time. Was it an automatic scene, or did you select ‘camp’?

Anyway, unless it was prompted by some critical buildup of in-game actions that I haven’t hit yet and I come across it later, I think we have to conclude that we know all we’re going to know about what he said.

So let’s work with that: he feels bad about being so angry, but he can’t help being angry because he cares so much. So, basically, he cares too much to just shrug things off, and therefore he’s mad about them all the time. It would be nice if we knew exactly what he’s saying he cares ABOUT, but perhaps the gang’s long-running interests in living free and not being hassled by an oppressive government? So the continuous trials of evading the Man just makes him angry?

So, so ironic: last night I went after a bounty and the guy I captured just kept complaining about how all he’d done was try to live free, this isn’t fair, “this ain’t America!”, etc. The gang is all about living free of the Man, but is completely happy to serve as the Man’s enforcer for a little cash. Mm, sweet sweet hypocrisy…

You should go play RIGHT NOW. Screw the laundry, shopping and chores.

This was a troubling mission in other ways as well, and honestly I feel kind of gross about Arthur/myself as a result. But we’ll talk more about that, later.

I have definitely not sat down and apologized to the gang at the fire. Hm. Maybe it’s something I just didn’t do. There are certainly conversation options one can miss.

Like, I never went fishing with Javier, either. Maybe there are time limits on some of the optional stuff and if you miss it, it’s just gone. I know there was a white quest marker for Javier once and I went and did one with Strauss or somebody instead, planning to come back to Javier later, and since then I haven’t seen it.

Interesting if I wound up choosing debt collection over fishing. Siiiiiigh.

Or maybe I’ll still get these things later. Only time will tell! It had better be kind of soon, though. I just hit 49%, and considering all the hunting and fishing and dinosaur bones and serial killers and ghosts and home robbery I’m going to be leaving entirely unexplored, that’s got to be getting towards the final act of the story. Especially if it ends in Chapter 5, which I have no reason to believe it does other than that it seems like a nice round number of chapters. But that’s a reason!

Butch:

Dude, you’re in chapter five? Dude. Slow up. I have a family here slowing me down.

This is unlike you. All I’ve been doing is meandering towards the nearest quest marker. I’m not seeking out shit. Like I said, poor, poor legendary coyote is now a trinket cuz I happened to stumble upon him, not because I was searching him out. I’ve done very, very little magpie here. Granted, you’re doing less than usual, but it’s still not like you to stroll by a quest marker.

Feminina:

I didn’t stroll by it! I had two of them, and picked one, and then the other had vanished next time I was in camp! I would have done it if I could.

I’m hitting all the quest markers I can, don’t you worry. Even the bounties. Even a couple of stagecoach robberies!

The things I’m ignoring are the things that don’t have any markers. Like dinosaur bones.

And no, I’m not in chapter 5, I’m still in 4–I was just speculating that if it ends in 5, I must be getting close.

Butch:

Dude, I haven’t done a bounty since Valentine (I haven’t seen a single one in Lemoyne), and I don’t even know what you’re talking about with stagecoach robberies.

I have no earthly idea what the dinosaur bones even look like. Can’t be bothered. And I only have cigarette cards that I stumble upon.

Actually, I think it goes as a good way this game is building a rather organic world, from missed dialog to doing different things, etc. We usually play games pretty much the same way, and, thus, we end up doing the same things and not doing the same things. Here, we’re also playing the game in a very similar fashion in terms of what we’re choosing to do and what we’re cheerfully ignoring, and yet we’re seeing and doing different stuff. That makes the whole thing feel less staged, and I think that’s a good thing.

Feminina:

Yeah, I don’t think there were any bounties in Lemoyne generally. I picked up a couple in Saint Denis. Stagecoach robberies…those will come. Don’t you worry.

It’s true, there does seem to be a certain fluidity to the way things happen or don’t happen…if you miss something at a certain time, it can maybe just not occur, in a way that doesn’t have any impact on the main story, but does perhaps change the way one person experiences the game compared to another. I don’t know if that’s substantially different from other games we’ve played, where one person can always purposefully ignore or accidentally miss out on something another person does, but something about the presentation of quest markers that can come and go does feel especially organic here.

Like, you’re just going along doing your thing, and the world is going on around you, and sometimes you connect with other people at certain points where something happens, and sometimes you don’t…

Butch:

It’s different in that missing shit in other games is often, as you say, accidental. We’ve blogged many a time along the lines of “Oh, shit! I totally didn’t see that person at the party!” We say that because, in game parties, NPCs stay there patiently waiting for you to find them and click on them so they can say what they want to say. If you miss what they have to say, it’s because you left before you remembered to click on them.

Here, the party (I’m just using this as one example) is happening, everyone’s talking at once, they’re not waiting for you to show up, they’re doing their thing, and what you hear or don’t depends entirely on where you wander. Shit, I think you could do that whole party without clicking on anything if you didn’t want to drink or sit or dance.

And you were GOING to miss something. You couldn’t be everywhere at once, and everyone was talking at once. There was no way to see and hear and even do everything. If you missed something, it wasn’t an accident like forgetting to say “Hey, good job there” to Zevran before leaving the feast. It was because you were just over somewhere else doing something else.

That’s…maybe not a substantial difference, but enough of a difference that it can mean that two players like ourselves who are playing the game in a very, very similar way get different shit no matter how hard they try to get the same shit.

Within reason. Story’s gonna story. But this does seem like a shift away from “world is there for the character/player” towards “world is there.”

I think much of it is technological. Must take a mountain of power to have a party scene like that with so many moving parts. They probably just plain couldn’t do that back in Dragon Age days.

It’ll be fascinating to see what they can do on a PS5.

Sigh. Games are so interesting. I sure hope to play one someday.

Feminina:

I think you’re right…stuff happens whether you do anything or not (and, in fact, at that party I drank one beer, listened idly to some conversation at the campfire, and then went to bed, so I missed a ton), which is different from people having something to say and saying it whenever you go talk to them. Which must indeed take a lot of power to run, so yeah…the PS5 is going to have AMAZING parties.

Maybe by then you’ll be able to play games.

Butch:

That cuts deep, Femmy. Deep.

But it’s why you’re gonna pre order a PS5. It’ll have the power to do both great parties and male nudity.

135. We got five extra minutes before derailment. Not too shabby.

Feminina:

That is actually pretty good! Yay us!

Butch:

I celebrated by buying meat.

Never food shop when you’re mad about games.

Feminina:

Gamey bird meat, I hope? I accidentally ran over a raven and two ducks last night. I don’t know what was the matter with birds on that particular day, but they apparently could not dodge a horse.

Gamey bird meat for all!

Butch:

Actually, did get some duck sausages! And some venison, some rabbit, some wild boar…

Cowboy food. Trail food.

(And, well, environmentally correct food, but that’s not as macho)

Feminina:

Definitely go with cowboy food. Rugged AND environmentally responsible!

Make sure you pick up a couple of cans of salted offal while you’re at it.

Butch:

Place does have buffalo tongue and rocky mountain oysters.

If that ain’t offal, what is?

Didn’t get those.

Feminina:

That sounds pretty close to offal. I mean, internal organs and noses and stuff are probably even closer, but those are close enough.

Butch:

Noses? I don’t want to know. I’ll stick to oatcakes.

Am trying to eat greener meat, though. Beef has a lot to answer for. Though now that you can’t really eat American deer cuz of zombie deer disease (seriously) you have to get your venison from New Zealand, which might negate the green benefits.

Sigh.

I’m still gonna get it cuz it’s yummy, and probably less bad for the earth than beef.

Can’t argue the greeness of bison and rabbit, though! And I’m getting Mrs. McP to come around on duck, which may be my favorite thing in all of things. Duck’s good.

Feminina:

Beef does have a lot to answer for. Though, as you say, bringing deer from New Zealand might limit the environmental benefits. On the other hand, eating zombie deer (gotta have a dramatic name to match ‘mad cow,’ I guess) is also bad, so, yeah. Good call there.

Prions, man. Creepy things. Avoid them.

Butch:

I try. I do.

But New Zealand deer still have far less of a carbon footprint than beef, even with the…uh…travel. Scary, huh?

Bison. Can’t go wrong there. Especially the legendary ones.

You know, to bring this full circle to things in this game we’re ignoring, the one legendary animal I’m very tempted to track down, just to say I did, is the legendary beaver. I want to see a beaver so fucking impressive it inspires legend. I want to know what on earth could make a beaver that special.

Maybe I’ll find it by accident.

Feminina:

Maybe it has glowing ruby eyes or something. I have to say, the legendary elk I shot to pieces looked…like an elk. And the legendary bear I went after with Hosea, and then fled from, looked pretty much like a bear. I mean, they were both large and impressive animals, I guess, but…enh. I’m probably missing all the cool details that a sport hunter would instantly notice.

Butch:

Yeah, the coyote was….a coyote.

I bet those fish are some impressive motherfuckers, though.

And that beaver is probably thirty feet tall.

Feminina:

With teeth like railroad spikes and a giant flat tail like…uh…[trying desperately to think of something big and flat that’s impressive]…a dining room table! With space to seat 12!

Yup. Nailed it.

Butch:

Space to seat…..twelve? Without adding a leaf????

Stuff of legend.

This day has gone in large loops, hasn’t it?

Feminina:

We have good moments and bad.

Butch:

Which you would think would even out, making us generically, boringly average, and yet, it seems to have the opposite effect.

Feminina:

Well, that’s because even our bad moments are not necessarily boring, they’re just really weird.

So brilliant, thought-provoking moments, mixed with bizarre, weirdo moments, equals…something, to be sure, but not something boring and average.

Butch:

Confused but awesome. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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