Many a critic will discuss a game’s verbs: the things you do in the game. That’s too general an approach for me. I’m here to praise Red Dead Redemption 2’s present participles.
If you’ve played Red Dead Redemption 2, you may have not noticed them. You may have not noticed them because you can’t see them while playing Red Dead Redemption 2. Unlike the Rockstar western’s excellent implementation of deep snow, its instructional take on hair growth and its generally compelling depiction of a crumbling micro-society, this new Red Dead’s superb present participles appear outside the game.
I saw them when I checked my PS4 dashboard (I’m told this can also be seen on Xbox.)
A friend who is playing Red Dead Redemption 2 might have a status report next to their name that states they are “moseying in Horseshoe Overlook” or “ambling in Clemens Point.”
Recently I saw that a colleague was “tarrying in Rhodes” and that a former co-worker was “sauntering in the wilderness.”
This is, of course, a tiny thing, the kind of added touch that shows a game has been made with extra resources and attention to detail.
It’s also the mildest counterbalance to all those cutesy pun-filled trophy and achievement names that show up in so many games, tiresome lines that suggest that the only creative tone game makers can muster for their meta-text is embarrassing dad. (Looking at you, Tomb Raider trophy writers.)
“Sauntering” and “Moseying” are good words. They are also great words to describe the languid pace that one commits to when playing Red Dead Redemption 2.
Rockstar games have long been known for having tiny, unexpectedly well-crafted touches. Some are in the game. But one of my favourites, this time, is outside of it. Appreciating it.