Robert Thompson, Syracuse University’s Director for Television and Popular Culture, described the Western as the American epic. He likened the genre to The Iliad or The Odyssey for the New World. That might sound fanciful, but there is no denying the Western is a genre that is deeply embedded in the American psyche.
Today, gaming is as important a form of entertainment as movies were 50 years ago or books 50 years before that. And as we will see from the following three examples, the Western has influenced this medium as much as it has those that came before it.
Red Dead Redemption / Red Dead Redemption 2
The word epic can certainly be applied to this wild west adventure, which took five years to create. It was, at the time, the most expensive video game ever made, with a total cost approaching $100 million. Set in the declining years of the American Frontier, it puts the player in the role of John Marston, an unwilling gunslinger who must bring his former gang members to justice in order to save his family.
When the sequel came out in 2018, it was actually a prequel, set 12 years earlier. The story and gameplay are fabulous in both versions of the game, but the thing that really stands out is the open world format. It makes the game’s universe a place where you can happily hang out, lassoing cattle, riding the plains and maybe even getting into the occasional bar brawl before pressing on with your mission.
Sometimes you want to immerse yourself in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. On other occasions, all you want is to catch an episode of Gunsmoke. The gaming equivalent of the latter can be encapsulated in a range of wild west-inspired slot games you can play online. The best-known is probably Dead or Alive, which was released back in 2009. It has inspired plenty more in the genre, and one worth trying is Tombstone.
It’s a product of Nolimit City, a relatively small developer and is available to play instantly at Mr Gold Casino Canada. Coming from a smaller development house means it delivers a playing experience that is a little different to the cookie cutter approach from the mega developers like NetEnt and Microgaming. However, the rewards are still significant, and the 96 percent RTP is up there with the best.
Call of Juarez – Gunslinger
The Call of Juarez series has released a handful of western games that have a dedicated following. As with the slots, we have eschewed the most famous title, Bound in Blood, for this more recent update.
In Gunslinger, it is all about the story, and in particular, the way the levels mold themselves around the evolving narrative. It is games like this that make you see why the movie business needs to be looking over its shoulder – imagine being placed in the middle of a Hollywood blockbuster and your actions dictating how the plot progresses. Clearly, the American epic is alive and well in the 21st century.
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