Just before Christmas, the RPS Treehouse got together for a marathon livestream to raise money for the British Red Cross. There was a Nidhogg tournament, a session of Blindfolded Hitman 2, and even a thrilling bout of competitive MS Paint. My role in all of this, however, was a bit more… rustic. I was summoned from my homestead in the Wild West Midlands, armed only with a head full of dreams and a saddlebag full of tinned peaches, to play some good ol’ Red Dead Redemption 2.
It all started so wholesomely. The Cowboy Game (to call it by its true name) is famed for its obsessively recreated Western landscapes – and for the legions of beautifully modelled critters and varmints which populate them. And since you can’t say “Nature” without also saying “Nate”, Video Sheriff Matthew thought I’d be the perfect guide for a nice, relaxing wildlife tour through this digital wilderness. Alas, no plan survives contact with the Cowboy, and soon enough, the only nature involved was the cry of “Nate, ur treating that alligator horribly”, from horrified observer Alice Liguori.
I couldn’t help it, I swear. As I wrote in the advent calendar, I find RDR2 is a surprisingly effective horror game, if you play it aimlessly enough. The liquid, overstuffed control scheme means that a nice stroll is only ever a thumb-twitch away from harrowing violence, and even the briefest failure of impulse control can send the Cowboy spiralling into an irreversible orgy of rootin’ and brutin’.
So… yeah, content warning. The tour doesn’t even make it to the one-minute mark before a bird gets annihilated, and seconds later, I’m desperately trying to stab a moth over the ruins of a snapping turtle. It’s all downhill from there, until it reaches the moment I describe as “the nadir of streaming”. But stick it out, and you’ll learn all sorts about what’s inside reptiles – and you might even pick up some fun facts about the philosopher Diogenes along the way. Giddy up!
This video was produced by my mate Mark, who I think you will agree is pretty good at capturing the rough & tumble fun of Cowboy Living. He’s made two more, which will be going up later in the week – and if you fancy some snacks in between, he also chronicled my RDR2 solo streams in 2018.
In Episode Two, the Cowboy – having found he no longer feels any thrill from the demolition of carnivorous reptiles* – crawls out of the swamp and into the squalor of the city, where he seeks out more deserving prey: his fellow man.
If you had fun with this video, or just feel bad for all the imaginary herons and such which were obliterated, it’s not too late to donate to the livestream’s JustGiving page, which is still live. Donate £5 or more and let me know in the comments, and I’ll respond with a genuine, unique animal fact just for you.
*and yes, I know the alligators in the game are alligators. But there was someone in the stream chat getting increasingly furious that I was calling them crocodiles, and I wanted to see how angry they would become.