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If you know me at all, you probably don’t even remotely think of me as a role-player. I never sat around a table playing D&D, and in MMOs I’m pretty quiet as a general rule. I tend to keep to my own company, in games and in ‘real life’ as well.

But the truth is, I’m a pretty hardcore role-player. I just never externalize it.

What spurred (ha! watch this) this self-revelation was playing Red Dead Redemption last night. I’d been riding a horse that was divinely gifted to me (aka I saved my game while horseless and suddenly an equine companion appeared). These magic horses are better than walking it, but they’re not too fast. So I decided to get myself a better horse.

I rode up north of Armadillo where I knew there was a herd of wild horses. I choose one that seemed pretty fast. Really I can’t tell how fast they are, but in my mind’s eye, this beautiful mare seemed faster than the rest. I went after her. I was still fumbling with the lasso controls so it took me a long time to rope her. [The (now obvious to me) trick is to keep the left trigger held down… as soon as you let it up you ‘release’ the lasso and your quarry gets free.] I chased her all over the area. She almost got away a few times but eventually I got a rope around her neck and managed to break her. She settled down nicely, I gave her a reassuring pat on the neck.

At that point, I spotted some herbs, so I climbed down and picked them. When I looked up, it dawned on me that I now had two horses. My old faithful companion who wasn’t too fast, and this new speedy wild mare. I whistled and old faithful came running up. This horse had been with me a long time. He was loyal enough that he followed me around like a puppy. What was I to do with him?

I needed the faster horse, though. I climbed up on the mare and looked at my old companion, standing at the ready. Loyal as always, waiting to serve his master. Maybe get an apple as a reward.

I thought maybe I could lead him back to town. I took out my lasso and tossed it at him and missed. The lasso spooked him and he tore off across the prairie. I watched him go, a little bit relieved that he was no longer a problem, but a little bit worried about what would happen to him.

Then I chuckled at myself for being so silly… what would happened to him is that he’d de-spawn as soon as I left the area, of course. I headed back to town on my new horse..but still couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d betrayed a loyal companion. I found myself wishing Rockstar had given us a way to stable horses, or even to give them to a good home. I’m sure Miss MacFarlane would have room in her stables for a loyal, trustworthy steed!

So that’s my style of role-playing. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, but I just can’t, even when I want to. It’s why I can’t often bring myself to play ‘evil’ in games; that feeling of malice clings to me long after I stop playing if I’m at all immersed in a game. If the game has anything to hang a role-play hook on, I stick to following my moral compass as much as possible.



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