No RPG for Old Men
Posted by Troll Racials are Overpowered [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 September 2012, 7:00 am
I watched No Country for Old Men on the way back to school.  It felt like an RPG.  Of course the scenery is that of New Vegas, or rather, both take place in the southeast (though I suppose Texas is its own region, but the land looked similar enough).  The character felt a bit like an RPG character.  He wandered the desert, hunting, and scavenging.  Find a corpse?  Check for a decent weapon.  Of course there is a weight limit to carry.  But that feeling of the lone wanderer, out in the wilderness, with nothing but bandits and insufficient police to keep him company, that felt familiar.

A small bit that really increased the feeling that I was watching Fallout: New Vegas was when he fired, and picks up the casing.  Apparently brass casings in real life are expensive enough to justify that.  Within the game that happens automatically and you might not even notice, though I did because I was in the habit of making my own ammo.  Those casings were as good as loot off a corpse.

I have no doubt that they were not aiming for an RPG feel.  Yet I think the movie and the game genre aim in the same direction, of the lone almost-hero, out there staying alive and maybe slowly, slightly, getting somewhere.  The risks are great, not just from the other people around, but from the land itself.  While I'm sure the man in the truck wanted water mostly because of the bleeding, being in the middle of a hot, dry land didn't help the matter.

Later on the theme developed of the recurring enemy and that nagging question: How does the heartless AI keep finding me?  That's followed up with a healthy dose of greater forces attempting to manipulate the player to their own ends.  Going along with them may be the easiest path, but of course has no guarantee of safety.

That man alone with no allies is a recurring theme in a lot of media, particularly American set in the West, of the lone man roughing it, taking on all odds.  They might be breaking the law or just barely following it, but we set that aside and we root for them.  In America we like to talk about self-made men, a mythical creature.  Yet out there, with no one around, perhaps they can exist, and did.  Just like in real life we yearn for heroes and yet know there are no true, perfect heroes, so we make them in fiction.  We yearn for that self-creation and so we look to the place where maybe it can happen and if it doesn't, we make a fiction where it can happen in the place where it can happen.  And then we make games where that fiction in that place can happen.

I greatly enjoyed the movie.  Though I was sad that he never got that antelope.



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