As I played through Red Dead Redemption, I learned a lot of things about the Old West. Irrelevant things since I shot them all, but one theme remained strangely constant as I played: The West hated women. I guess The West could just never forgive them for Mary Kate and Ashley's How the West Was Fun.
The female characters in Red Dead Redemption are only there to nag and complain before a passing murderer uses her as a knife storage. Every woman lies to you, and most of them try to kill you. It's the first Western based on a passive aggressive letter to some dick's ex-wife, and the only game where you can see an angry customer chase a hooker out of a saloon and you'll say, "Your strangler may have himself a point, dying lady."
Most people who die in the desert die of exposure, but that would be a shitty video game. That's why the makers of
Red Dead made sure every animal in the desert hates you. Especially the women. If you come across a damsel in distress, surprise, she's not. She wanted you to come close so she could yank you off your horse and ride away laughing. And if you know anything about cowboys, you know that taking a man's horse is a lot like taking his asshole's virginity--you better hope he's a bottom.
The first time a woman in Red Dead did this to me, I shot her off and started putting every bullet I owned into her face. Faces don't even have a word for what I did to her. About 20 bullets in, my girlfriend woke up from her nap and asked what the hell I was doing. I explained that I wanted everyone, even the coyotes eating this bitch's remains to know the penalty for horse thievin'. She mumbled something about crazy, but I wasn't listening. Paying attention to women was how I got into this whole corpse-mutilating pickle in the first place.
The video game seemed to take less of a lesson from that than my girlfriend because an hour later, a lady by the road screamed for help and tried the same trick! This time her body helped me test how many sticks of dynamite a horse thief cadaver can withstand (somewhere between zero and one). And as the starlit desert plains became filled with the meaty slaps of 1000 horse thief chunks, a thought hit me: If this game is set in 1911, I may have just created a time paradox by inventing Beefaroni 13 years too early.
Supporting my theory that I'd damaged the chronosphere, the same woman I had just killed was waiting outside the next town to pull me off my horse. It broke my suspension of disbelief so much that the game's writer might as well have walked on the screen and said, "Players, it took me four marriages to learn what I'm about to teach you: If you want to keep your stuff, shoot every woman you meet immediately!"
In a freeform game this size, you're bound to get glitches. And when a game lets you do anything, it doesn't take long before you try something so awesome its computer brain can't comprehend it. You're constantly falling through the ground or
launching into space. But when the glitches involve women, they're not so fun. They're more like dark-sided mockeries of God.
Sometimes when you're playing, the 3D engine will paste human female graphics onto the body of a crow to create fluttering abominations. If you're really unlucky, it might merge a lady with a mule to create a donkey-faced rideable woman. So now when you meet a woman, you not only have to deal with the fact that she might steal your horse, she might be your horse. Women in this game betray even genetics.
We all know that ovaries, like the ones in women, are the cause of most electronic malfunctions. Despite that, I thought it might be unfair to attribute any sexism to Red Dead's many random glitches. Until I saw Cougar Man. It was a cougar digitally crammed into a man's skin--a crippled maniac prowling on his knees with the speed of a mountain lion and the palsy of a man! What are you trying to say,
Red Dead Redemption? That it's wrong for a woman to get nightmarishly re-imagined by a computer error, but it kicks ass when a man does it? Sexist.
I got scared when I tied a pleading woman to the train tracks, watched her turn into a cloud of chili and then realized that was a secret achievement. It felt like the game was saying, "Ha! I knew there was as much wrong with you as there is with me!" I suddenly got the feeling that Red Dead Redemption had been keeping track of and masturbating to my long string of whore slayings.
One thing I noticed as I systematically eliminated women from the Old West was that no one really cared. In Red Dead, if you shoot a woman in front of witnesses, you only get a $5 bounty on your head and I think $4.79 of that is from noise complaints. Women are such third class citizens that you'll get more of a hassle out of someone if you kill his chicken than if you kill his wife. That's a bad example, though, because with
Red Dead's glitchiness, there's a decent chance his wife's vagina got put on that chicken when the game was making them.
After some experimenting, I found that anything you did with a rope and a woman was almost always OK. If you want to hogtie all the females in the center of town and pour bear bait on them, you'll probably unlock an achievement to the indifference of the townspeople. I tried tying a nun to my horse and dragging her past the sheriff to see if he'd do anything other than politely greet me. Not only did it seem OK, it actually seemed to cheer him up.
Keep in mind that Red Dead doesn't take place in some lawless land. They come after you for everything in this game. I've had the sheriff open fire on me after a pedestrian wandered into my horse. The U.S. Marshals started hunting me for driving one simple wagon of dynamite into a friendly conversation. So the fact that traffic accidents carry the death penalty yet you can legally blow holes in prostitutes means that some woman-hating programmer took a lot of time to make sure it worked that way.
Most of this game is amazing. You'll have shootouts with everyone from hill people to the Mexican army and if you're more than 10 feet from town, there is always a cougar behind you. However, if you take a mission from a woman, you can forget about all that fun. When you talk to a guy, he wants you to get on a gatling gun and kill buffalo rapists. When you talk to a girl, she wants you to play a rhythm action game to feed her pigs. A woman's idea of a mission is a scenic wagon ride or driving her fussy cattle out to pasture, and she will be nagging at you the whole goddamn time.
John Wayne lied to us when he made driving cattle look cool. Cows are dumber as living animals than they are as Whoppers, and
Red Dead is faithful to that. While you're trying to keep the herd aimed towards their food, each cow is programmed to randomly lose interest and wander off. Unfortunately, it's not possible to wander out of the lady's nagging range. Driving video game cattle is so annoying that vegetarian gamers will buy a burger just to throw it away.
Late in the game, your giant-assed, former prostitute wife gives you a mission that's nothing more than driving her to another woman's house while she jealously harps in your ear. Jesus, Red Dead Redemption, I haven't seen anything hate women in so many directions since yeast.
Whatever fashionista designed the underwear in the Old West knew as much about style as a drag queen's size 16 high heels and as much about comfort as his dick tape. Every prostitute wears a thick, dust-catching diaper that goes from her neck to her knees, making them all look like bags of potting soil with cold sores. I have no doubt frontier prostitutes were a mess in 1911, but this is a game where bears attack in squadron formations of 30 and the cure for a bullet wound is beef jerky. Is hooker hygiene really where you want to make your stand for historical accuracy?
It is if you hate women.
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