Gaming Moments of 2010 #1: Red Dead Redemption

All the big guns have come and gone. The best games are all now on shelves and we’ve just decided on our game of the year. Now we’re taking a look at our 10 favourite gaming moments of 2010. Be aware that these are just my subjective choices – feel free to let us know some of your favourites in the comments below.

Riding Into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption Music affects things. I could be walking towards the train station, iPhone blaring. All it takes is the right song to pop in and I start swaggering down the street like a modern day John Shaft. Suddenly I get my swagger. My mood instantly changes. That's the power of music.

And the movie industry has been manipulating its audience for decades. Try watching Beaches minus the Wind Beneath My Wings. Somehow it becomes a comedy. Try imagining The Lion King without Akuna Matata? Music is important - it affects things.

But in the movies you expect it - the surprise factor, to an extent, is gone.

Riding into Mexico for the first time in Red Dead Redemption is an incredible moment in and of itself. Arguably the Mexico section is the weakest part of the game, but when you first enter the sparse, desolate environment it's a revelatory experience. Vistas gape in front of you, and peel into the distance. The sun could be rising, it could be setting depending on the time of day, but regardless of context the scale is staggering. And it immediately becomes apparent as you slowly ride towards the vanishing point.

When José González's 'Far Away' slowly starts to play, at first you become startled. 'What the hell is a song doing in a video game,' you wonder - especially in open play. But eventually it starts to makes sense. It feels seamless - perfect. You remain in control and no matter what you do it somehow seems to fit. Your rhythm adjusts to the song and you start to play along.

Games often shoot for the cinematic, but Red Dead Redemption actually manages to eclipse the cinematic, it obliterates it. In a Western the viewer is forced to watch the protagonist ride into the sunset, as you remain static, but Red Dead Redemption takes you beyond the sunset into the unknown. You are the one riding into the sunset. You are the focal point. In a game that somehow eschews magic moments, and attempts to replace them with unscripted moments of spontaneity, riding into Mexico is the one moment where everything seems to coalesce into something calculated - and it's awesome.


Comments

    Yeah I'll pay that.

    Merry Xmas.

    Agree.. When I did it, the sun was just rising.. That + the music.. I don't think I've ever been so amazed at anything in a game...

    I have to admit, when the song started playing I was like 'holy crap this is awesome' but then I began wondering why they did it only once, and it started to seem a bit out of place. Maybe if they had done something similar with cinematics/audio in a few other major plot turns in the game, it would have felt more truthful, but as it was, it just kinda felt tacked on.

      I agree. The game blew me away. I totally had the same moment when I went into Mexico, my mind went 'WTF?!?! is this a bug?.... No they put this in... this is a bit weird but...God... this is amazing'

      However, Mexico wasn't my fav bit.

      What happened to John at the end is undoubtedly my moment of the year. They could have done the normal thing and had the heroic ending but they didn't they went with the far more ballsy classic western ending in the vein of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

      Ballsy move and it capped off what was a truly compelling game.

    Yeah the music was great and I heard the first 30 seconds of the music and then my horsey managed to fall of the river bank into the river and John Marston drowned. So not as Epic as I would have hoped!

    But then again, in Heavy Rain, I manged to botch the ending up and it was a depressing ending with the killer escaping! Sigh... I was at Tokyo Disney during the week and Yoko said I most resembled Goofy in my personality, so there you go, clumsy!

    It's settled - I'm gonna buy a new stereo to put in my horse for Christmas, so I can ride around blasting Far Away.

    This is bs, I'm sorry but you and other game company's have been sucked in by a game that is average. Overall game of the year should of went to, Super Meat Boy, Halo Reach or Mass Effect 2.

      Halo Reach durp hurp derp herp gerk.

      Just another halulz gaem. Donkey Kong country returns man, ftw.

      Mass Effect 2 was my favorite game of 2010... having said that, Red Dead Redemption was hardly an "Avergae" game. RDR is easily my #2 for 2010, but it was hairline thin between ME2 and RDR. RDR certainly deserves to be in one of those top spots.

      Yeah! How dare Mark express his own opinion! No more opinions for you Mark!

      Wow, you just cited RDR as being an average game, then went on to recommend an average...er series such as Halo? ... yeah. That makes sense.

      hey look it's that guy that doesn't know anything about video games. Mass Effect 1 was better than 2...

    Yeah, I think it was my #1 for the year too.

    It was an incredible gaming moment. Love that game!

    Of all the things I missed in gaming this year, this one pains me the most. I adored Red Dead, got completely and utterly lost in the world, and all that jazz.

    But when I entered Mexico, I didn't get the song. I think I may have accidently cut it off, or shot a horse or something. But I'm shattered I missed it. :(

    Awesome with Awesome sauce and a side order of Chilli Cheese Fries!!!!
    RDR totally blew me away. ME2 was GREAT, don't get me wrong, but so was ME1. ME2 was just a continuation of ME1 with slightly better gameplay and less customization. People will say that RDR was "Grand Theft Carriage" but it felt such a different experience to GTAIV, and thats what makes it stand out.

    RDR easily gets my #1 spot - but for the ending not Mexico regardless of how spectacular it is.

    I'm not ashamed to say the eyes got a little watery when "bury me not on the lone prarie" kicked in.

    Great gaming moment yes. But overall game of the year???!!! You guys are so full of it. You even admit it was "weak" after that. Shouldn't game of the year be strong all the way through. An overall masterpiece. Sorry but ME2 and Reach were much stronger games overall. This is a toss!!!!!

      "So full of it"? So full of what?

      You might want to reread the first paragraph before attacking someone for their opinion. "Be aware that these are just my subjective choices". For example, I considered Halo Reach and ME2 to be overall weaker games. Doesn't make me right, doesn't make you wrong, it just means we have differing opinions.

      Welcome to the wild world of tolerance.

        I'm so sick of people on these blogs saying people are 'full of it' or that they've been 'sucked in to the hype' or something. For fucks sake, it's a blog and blogs are primarily opinion based so stop attacking the author because you disagree, it's immature or something. Merry Christmas!

      And this isn't even a game of the year piece. It's a "Gaming moment" one. Sure, there may be other games that have a more consistant high quality, but that doesn't mean that this one moment eclipses any one moment in another game.

      Perhaps you need to read the title of this series again. It IS "gaming moments of 2010" not "best game of 2010".

    This moment and the ending for RDR pushed it past the other awesome games this year to be my number 1.

    Overall I probbably liked ME2 better, but this bit plus the two songs at the end... dear god those are moments I'll never forget.

    I was surprised by how many songs had Lyrics to them in RDR, 4 out of the 19 or 20 so songs in the game. Far Away was best exicuted but my personal fave would be Deadman's Gun which plays over typical Bland Credits yet still fits the mood left by the games classic still ending.

    Hmm am I the only one who enjoyed Mexico? The north had too much Childs play. Herding horses and mini shooting bird missions. I loved each side for the differences they had but I didn't hate Mexico one bit.

    Has been a great year for gaming IMO. evened out well with ME2 then RDR bit of Halo then AC Brotherhood. I don't think I can decide on an overall winner with RDR. AC and ME2. Each are open-world/action adventure but all so different even with gameplay.

    I'm a lover of games, not just another hater, but I'm about 8 hours into RDR and I'm just not feeling it :(

    The story that I've encountered so far is an engaging slow build, I'll give you that. But the game itself still just feels like a GTA, and I haven't been compelled to finish any of them since Vice City. Town-based activities are just thinly veiled (and pointless) mini-games. Doing anything other than standing still during gun fights is awkward. Exploring the vistas can be exhilarating (when they don't look exactly like the place you just left), but that is tempered by the frustration of wasted time due to random deaths by posse or bobcat - which make me less inclined to go exploring in the first place.

    Also doesn't help that random comments on this site have ruined the end for me...

    Basically I just feel like I'm wandering around a wasteland doing random stuff aimlessly, and it's killing my motivation to continue. I realise that this sort of game is meant to be immersive, but maybe I would be better off avoiding the side quests and plowing through the main plot instead? Maybe there's some end-game items/abilities that reduce the frustration of exploring? Or maybe there's some key point in the game where it all clicks in place?

    Thoughts? I'd be very interested to hear from people who have found themselves in the same situation, but managed to overcome it to go on to love the game. There's obviously something there, so I think I just need some help to discover it!

    All the end of year Top 5 games articles prompted me to go back and finish Red Dead Redemption, which I did last week. It was a really enjoyable game; I really loved being in that world.

    I'm not sure If I enjoyed it as much as my first playthrough of GTA4 though. Nico Bellic was a much more fleshed out character, and I actually felt motivated to finish that to complete his story. By comparison John Marston felt a little hollow; you spent 2/3 of the game trying to redeem yourself from a past you know nothing about and rescue a family whom you haven't met.

    And the endgame was completely bizarre. Just as you kill the final badguy and you expect a happy sunset ending reunited with your family, the game reverts back to tutorial mode. It's time to play farm for two hours, although admitedly you do then learn about and gain some attachment to the characters in your family. The showdown in the barn was pretty great though; quite unexpected and a little bit shocking.

    The real sour taste was the final final mission, that you need to complete before getting the end credits. I had to look it up on the internet to realise that I needed to ride into town to trigger the random conversation that would lead me to the final mission. It was a shame that such a great game had to have such a ham-fisted and awkward end-game experience.

      Really? It wasn't completely obvious to you that the reason the game continued on is to complete the certain task, committed by a certain person who was a certain agent who was based in a certain city?

      I have a feeling that it wasn't the games fault that the real ending felt ham-fisted and awkward. No offense.

    I want Red Dead for PC, I'm so Redemptionless. And I know all the spoilers by now ;-;-;

    I remember riding into Mexico clearly and thinking, YES! JOSE GONZALEZ!

    Red Dead Redemption had more emotive segues than any game since Ocarina of Time. Some even come close to that first time you walk out into Hyrule Field... *swoon*

    And yes so much of the feel of this brilliant game is thanks to the flawless score. They really have set the bar high for those that follow.

    I wholeheartedly agree. That moment was definitely one of the most memorable gaming moments for me this year. There are actually @ least 3 songs used in the game, and I also felt the emotional connection between the game and the music when John rides back to his family for the first time. As you say, films have been doing this for decades. But for a game, the moments are powerful all over again.

    WTB for PC !

    I'm surprised Minecraft isn't a top gaming moment. For an alpha indie game to catch on like it did was impressive.

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