There are some important differences between those of us who play videogames and normal people. For instance, when a normal person browses this gallery of breathtakingly beautiful photographs from Timothy O’Sullivan’s 19th century survey of the American West, he probably thinks of Westerns. Movies like, I dunno, Stagecoach, The Searchers, and Young Guns. I don’t know a lot of Westerns.
But when I browse these pictures, the more immediate touchstone for me is Red Dead Redemption. I look at the picture of that settlement and think of a particular area in New Austin. I don’t think of watching a movie. I think of running down there among those buildings. I think of climbing to the top of that building in the background, to the left, and getting a commanding view of the little town. I think of playing a videogame.
I’d normally think that’s a little pathetic, but in this case, I think it’s a testament to the amazing work done by Rockstar’s San Diego studio, which created one of the most vivid virtual places you will ever visit. Go ahead, browse those survey pictures (here’s the link again) and tell me you don’t think of Red Dead Redemption.