On a hot day, it can be nice to go out to a park, hit up the local swimming pool, or even go camping with friends. Sometimes though, you just want to stay on the couch, marinating in a puddle of your own sweat, and you know what? That’s fine, too. That’s how I spent my last Sunday afternoon after a long time roasting in a hot car. Out of my entire library, I found the best game to play while I slowly melted away was Red Dead Redemption 2. I didn’t understand when my subconscious first pushed the idea into my brain, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
There were a few ways I used Rockstar’s weary western world to cope with the evil that is the British summer. Firstly, I used the heat as a roleplaying element, and sauntered around the scorching streets of Lemoyne. I wanted to venture to the deserts in the south, but it was too humid in my flat for that to make any sense. No, to capture the true spirit of my warm dampness, it had to be the swamps. This backfired a bit though, as I deliriously thought the buzzing in the game was coming from insects in my lounge – horrifying.
To stave off the encroaching fear of a mosquito attack, I journeyed west to the snowy mountains. Here I sought icy solace, hoping to immerse myself so fiercely in the virtual atmosphere that I might actually feel the crisp, mountain air on my face. Instead I just grew jealous, so I made Arthur strip down to his tighty whities and frolic in the snow to amuse myself. Unfortunately, dear reader, I can confirm that it is only the horses who suffer from, er, shrinkage, in the cold. I know I said I’d be kinder to Arthur, but his smug aura mocks me.
I opted for a happy middle ground and decided to take Arthur swimming. Sometimes I go for a real life swim in the river near me, but I just couldn’t face the walk in this heat. Arthur has a horse, so getting to a nice, cool stream was a cinch. Apart from a close call with a bear (not a problem in Leamington), this was by far the most fun activity I did while trying to will the digital world to cool off my corporeal form. Alas, it still didn’t work. Arthur seemed happy though, and it did relax me seeing him swim in the still bay just outside of Blackwater – until watching the sun reflect off the water put me into a sort of trance that almost led to Arthur accidentally drowning as his stamina depleted.
What I loved most about playing Red Dead that afternoon was just ambling about. It’s a great world to mosey around in. My time strolling from place to place, casually, because I couldn’t be bothered to tap X to run, was incredibly pleasant, and really pulled me out of the sun and into my TV. The game deliberately makes you take your time with everything, and that pacing helped to slow me down and cool me off. I can’t say the same for my PS4, however. The poor thing sounded like it was about to self-immolate.
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