There’s something about a really well written and designed game that enables it to touch the farthest reaches of your heart, often making it a much more profound experience than any series or movie. The fact that you’re vividly acting out and living through the experiences of the protagonist as he goes through his journey, allows you to not merely be a passive witness to his unfolding story but to be an active participant in it. Unlike a movie the aspect of ‘play’ in a game accords a certain sense of agency and ensures that you’re not merely imagining yourself to be the protagonist in this case, but you really are him, in so far as you’re playing his character, gradually growing accustomed to his persona and settling into the world that he inhabits.
Red dead redemption 2 is one such creation that would always have that special place in my heart. It is very difficult to write a character so well. ‘Arthur Morgan’ easily matches if not surpasses the depth and profundity of ‘Max Payne’ in terms of character development. A man who’s flawed yet of a good heart, battered by an unforgiving wild west of 1890s. An outlaw born at a time and place where killing and looting is the go to way to survive. It’s a beautiful story of struggle, faith, brotherhood, greed and betrayal as Arthur finally realises the futility of the path that was once laid out in front of him as the only thing worthwhile. As a final act with whatever time he has left, he strains and fights to secure a kind of life for his brother, that he could never have for himself. The background music really added that emotional sting to a reflective moment when Arthur decides to take his final stand. And in its doing he finally redeems himself. Red dead redemption.
Not all games are solely meant for kids, just like not every iteration of a super hero movie is childish.