Dec 5, 2010

Red. Dead. Redemption.




My favorite vintage western pearl snap shirt. My favorite violent western pastime.




Red Dead Redemption for Playstation, is like Little House On The Prairie if everyone drank and cursed and swore. Oh, and if you play the zombie version I'm playing, Undead Nightmare... everyone eats each other, too.



Good thing I've got some zombie-kickin' boots. My father-in-law got me these authentic Justin boots, like down at the stockyards and all for Christmas years and years ago. I love them so much. But they are just a bit too small for me. Usually that means Kathleen gets them. But I like looking at them too much to let them go.


It's 8:50 pm. What are you doing?

Well, if you're me, you've just tucked your kids in, gotten a glass of water, maybe brushed your teeth, climbed into bed with your nice husband, and then said "honey, pass me the Playstation controller." And then he says, "sure, are you going to clear out Blackwater Farm tonight and perhaps rope yourself a spitter?" And I say, "well, I'm going to have to get some sniper ammo first, because those spitters are pretty nasty up close."

What can I say? I love video games. But since I sort of love my kids, too, I tend not to really ever play that much anymore, because I know I'll get hooked. See, I'm a video game purist. My husband, he'll just run around and dink around with people and stir up trouble and maybe use a few cheat codes while he's at it so he can like fly a UFO through the western frontier or something ridiculous like that.

But I check my maps. Check my inventory. And check off my missions. Every single scary one of them, spitter or not. (These might actually be called retchers. I have been too freaked out to do this mission, which is to lasso and hogtie a zombie who spits this toxic green stuff at you.)

Me and my brother Donny are just like that. He's really, really good at video games. Because, duh, he's a boy. But also because, duh, he doesn't have other obligations other than sticking shit in his face.

Of course, our love started with our old childhood Nintendo and our good friend Super Mario.

But the whole purist approach started a couple years after that. I was probably fourteen I think, and Donny was probably eleven. And on Christmas morning, we got Myst. For our PC. Cringe. It was so awkward and clunky compared to adventure, fantasy, total-geek-out-lose-yourself-in-another-world-like-Narnia-or-The-Shire types of games they have today. But we were committed to winning it.

In one day.

You know how Christian Bale lost all that weight for The Machinist (looks like he's up to his old manorexia tricks again with the new movie The Fighter... I'm convinced his agent told him if he got all scary-skinny again he'd win a Best Supporting, you know?)

Anyway. That's how me and Donny were about Myst. Except my mom would bring us leftover turkey sandwiches and other assorted Christmas foods every once in a while. We holed up in the computer room, eyes glued to the screen and figured that stuff out. I remember we even had a spiral notebook where we kept taking notes so we could figure out this Myst-land's alphabet and numerical system and stuff so we could crack codes.

Every once in a while Kathleen would come and stare longingly at us, but then just go back to playing with her Play Doh ice cream parlor or her little plastic potholder-making loom, or whatever seven year old girls used to get back then.

It got pretty dire at one point, when we got lost in this underwater maze in our strange victorian style submarine. But we finally, finally got through it. Basically, Christmas started at 6:30 am (what? didn't yours when you were kids?) and we won that game at 9:30pm.

I didn't realize until a few weeks later, when that game became such a phenomenon (apparently one of the most popular PC games of all time, except for the Sims, I think) that there were these Myst cheat books and guide books popping up at all the stores. At first I was appalled that 1.) you could even get cheats or tips for games, but then felt pretty awesome that 2.) Donny and I were some badass kids if grownups were needing help to win this game.

That was the only year we spent a whole day doing that sort of thing. And it might seem pretty un-Christmasy. But it is actually one of my fondest Christmas memories.

In fact, now that we only see Donny about twice a year, I always make it a priority to play at least a couple hours of some video game with him over the holiday break. In fact, last couple years, my husband has let me sneak away and spend the night at my parents before the full-on family Christmas really began.

We'd get on our pj's or sweats, Mom and Dad have already retired for the evening, and Donny's all grumbly like he doesn't love it (but he does) and's like "get me a coke in a glass glass, and a cup of chips" (Thomas's eat their chips out of cups) and then we settle in on the living room floor or in our dad's armchair and get started. Our past all-nighters have included Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Dead Alive just to name a few.

But now, I kind of think this whole zombie thing is reaching critical mass when it comes to popularity so this will probably be the last holiday it's cool anymore. Plus, I'm probably going to try to stop playing Red Dead Redemption before Christmas break is over this year, because combined with watching Walking Dead every Sunday night on AMC, it's starting to effect my sleepwalking/night terror affliction. Surprise, surprise.

I'm looking forward to just reading some good books, eating some cookies and milk, and not dreaming that there are zombies in my living room and I have five seconds to decide if I evacuate my kids from their bunk beds or just run out the back door.

Especially since I'm pretty sure one of them's a spitter. Or a retcher. The zombies, that is, not one of my kids (well, actually...)

Regardless. The back door vs. bunk bed question is one that will keep a mom up at night.


  1. I never liked playing video games myself but I LOVED watching my brother and his friends play. I'm still that way with Colin, especially if it's a game that's got a story with some gratuitous violence, like Hitman or something.

  2. I'm impressed. I COULD NOT figure out that freakin' Myst game, and I refused to look up cheats... so yeah... I did not get very far. At all.

  3. Well, it does help if you have a buddy. And a spiral notebook.
    Thanks Alien Mind Girl.

    Ashley, our mom's like that. She loves to just sit there and watch us play if it's an interesting adventure. Kathleen does for about ten minutes, and then she falls asleep. And if you try to make her actually play, she freaks out... especially if there are zombies.

  4. I understand the majesty. I was a Frogger lover back in the day. My dad brought us the actual arcade machine home and stuck it (for some damn reason) in the garage. Maybe he wanted us kids to go out to the garage more and get out of his hair. These days, he has very little hair to get out of.

  5. I LOVED Myst!!

    After a friend started yelling codes at me I stopped playing, waiting to forget the codes.

    Now I want to pick it up again.....hmmmmm.

  6. SB. Frogger is so HARD! You guys were so lucky.

    Thanks for the Myst-love Lindsay. I think it would be hard to go back.