THE VIDEO GAME WEST ? PT.2

(Week 13)? VIDEO CLIPS:Students can view the embedded video or press CTRL and left-click on the provided link to view on the host website. NOTE: The document may need to be viewed in enable editing mode to view the clips. Note: After viewing a clip, students may need to manually use the mouse to move the document via the right-hand scrolling bar or re-click their mouse within the document. LESSON OBJECTIVES? Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to relate examples of the Western genre within the medium of video games.INTRODUCTIONWestern novels, films and TV series, comic books/graphic novels would be joined by video games beginning in the 1980s as part of the overall Western genre. (Note: The following clips may contain mature themes and/or violence.)RED DEAD REDEMPTION (2010)The launch of Rockstar Games? Red Dead Redemption in 2010 ? for Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation3 platforms ? may be the definitive Western to date for the video game generation.http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a7/Red_Dead_Redemption.jpgThe central narrative is set in 1911 and has the player as John Marston, a previous outlaw who is forced by the federal government to track down his former gang. The government holds his wife and son until Marston does so.This game is what is deemed open world or sandbox in that the player can simply ride off as he or she chooses to explore areas that completing sections of the narrative will open up.This was the first rural-based game for the makers of the urban Grand Theft Auto series and the varied landscape is indeed immersive. Regions parallel that of the American Great Plains, mountain areas and the Southwest ? players will also enter Mexico itself. Additionally, there are a number of locations that draw upon sets from pre-existing Western films, including that of Italian filmmakers like Sergio Leone.Red Dead Redemption (2010) trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gBctl1h_2oThis video game may in fact be the most important work of the Western genre ? be it film, fiction or art ? in a generation as it is now drawing a newer and younger audience to the genre. This game is serving as both an enticement toward and a framework for interpreting Westerns ? that is significant.http://livingwithanerd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/red-dead-redemption-environment.jpgThere are a number of major ideas that serve as ideological framework for a time period in which the Old West was fading ? these ideas include:? the encroachment of central government and corporate industry into rural areas? Indigenous territorial rights and the presumption that Christianity was necessary for the betterment of Amerindian peoples? that both government and revolution in the name of the people can be co-opted by those seeking personal gainOpening scene:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJEryWi_apIWithin the single player game, Marston can also choose to assist in side-missions to help strangers and complete tasks not directly related to the main storyline such as herb collecting, hunting animals and bounty hunting.Living in the West:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afhcpsLIh_4The game uses an honor system whereby the moral choices players make will attach either positive or negative honor.The level of honor works in conjunction with a fame system ? people react to the fame level of the player/Marston.The player can acquire a bandana to hide his face and prevent Marston?s honor and fame from being affected by the chosen actions.Life in the West / Honor:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GXEqv8dxLgRed Dead Redemption also gives players with Internet access the option of online multiplayer play with other gamers.Multiplayer trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYaC2cDxor8RED DEAD REDEMPTION AS VIDEO GAME GENRE HYBRIDIn October of 2010, Rockstar Games launched the Undead Nightmare companion DLC (downloadable content) for Red Dead Redemption. In this companion to the Red Dead Redemptionstoryline, John Marston searches for a cure to zombie plague that has spread the American West and Mexico. This game represents a mixing of the Western and zombie/horror/supernatural genres.Undead Nightmare (2010)trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Di2eOr-kqsVIDEO GAME AS CINEMAIn support of the Rockstar Games launch of their 2010 video game, Red Dead Redemption, feature film director John Hillcoat created a 30 minute short film using content from the game.Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater (2010)premiered on television on May 29, 2010. Here is the trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJfBIhQdDzcComplete Short FilmRed Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater (2010)(warning-adult themes & graphic images):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZUUVV2rjocTHE VOICE BEHIND THE MAN ? ACTOR ROB WIETHOFFThe video game website Polygon showcased a 12-part series entitled Human Angle in 2013 ? this series took a look at the people behind a given video game. In its last episode (June 19th), the series profiled actor Rob Wiethoff and his journey from small town Indiana to becoming the voice of lead character John Marston in Red Dead Redemption (2010).Following the game?s release and subsequent success, Wiethoff returned with his family to his hometown of Seymour, Indiana. Here is the Human Angle feature on Rob Wiethoff, entitled Finding John Marston (2013): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZUUVV2rjocSUMMARYWestern video games are the most recent cultural expression of the Western genre.Red Dead Redemption (2010) ? released for Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation3 ? is a Western open world or sandbox video game.This award-winning game draws on the Italian Western film tradition in a number of aspects (art style / music).REFLECTIVE JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT#10 (FINAL JOURNAL)Which of the content (text and/or video clips) in the Week 13 lecture did you find the most interesting and/or surprising and why?What topics/areas/issues not covered by this Westernscourse would you like to see discussed? Why?Entry to be 1 ? 2 pages (250 to 300 words).

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