I grew up with the films of the late 80s and early 90s. The staple of the time consisted of slasher flicks, cornball 80s action movies with Seagal and Van Damme and the Governor, and the comedies starring Bill Murray or John Candy, many of which were regulars on Sunday afternoon television. Not the greatest bunch of movies, but at ten you’re not expected to have the greatest of tastes.
Westerns were never in the picture. They seemed like a long lost relic of the past, not suited to the pre-teen late-80s sensibilities.
Now that I’m older and slightly wiser, I’m finding myself increasingly interested in the Westerns of yore. Lucky for me, Showcase Action’s Western Weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up; and catch up I did, with A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Unforgiven. A good start if I say so myself. Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name films, in particular, appeal to my loner habitualness.
Naturally, I started thinking about how interesting a Western-homage could be in video game form (cause I am a nerd and I think of such things), but contemplating how a game like that would work convinced me of the fact that such a game — as far as so-called “A” titles are concerned — will never happen. It would require a lot of minor changes to the “formula”, like having every single bullet count and making the drawing and holstering of the gun an important play mechanic (none of this stiff-arm always carrying a gun in front of you garbage), but with dozens of such minor ideas a game like that could be pulled off.
But it won’t. There’s a lot that could be done, and it would be fresh to do it because few have tried, but I doubt it. Maybe some independents here or there, but no major developers (the ones with their heads up the ass of FPS convention). With the current industry’s fixation with anti-heros, you’d think that it might turn its collective eye to the genre chock full of them instead of the world of rappers and 70s gangster movie licenses. But they won’t.
Instead, we might just get a mindless blow-em-up bullet fest or a Western with Vampires or Zombies or something else exceedingly retarded without the slightest inkling of humour. My pessimism and cynicism for original “top-tier” games knows no bounds.
Newsflash for High Moon Studios: if your game was a movie, it would not be near the top of this list of Westerns, alongsideThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly. No, it would be at the bottom, right beside Billy the Kid versus Dracula.