Saturday Morning Gaming: Choice Paralysis

Old El Paso commercial – 1990

Guadalcanal Diary was one of those skinny-tie bands from the 80s that nobody listens to anymore. They had a really awesome song called “Always Saturday“. The song had the same theme, kinda, as The Talking Heads’ Heaven but was a hair more existential. As “Heaven” was a place where “nothing ever happened”, Guadalcanal’s place where it was always Saturday had a little more bustle:

A chorus of laughter fills the air.
Everyone’s going everywhere.
So many choices it’s not fair!
I hop in the car and I just sit there.

I bring that up because that is exactly how Red Dead Redemption 2 feels: So many choices! It’s not fair!

I get on my horse and I just sit there.

Get this. The game has:
178 animals to discover
30 fish to discover (wait, aren’t fish animals? Maybe that’s 208 animals to discover, then)
19 different horses (don’t see them as animals, see them as vehicles, I guess)
43 different plants
144 different tobacco cards
You meet a guy who sells you a treasure map (or you can rob him, I guess, and get it)
You meet a lady who asks you to find dinosaur bones
You meet a guy who is writing a book about a very particular gunslinger and he asks you to go out and visit the people in the stories he’s writing about so he can finish the book
And that’s not counting the different pieces of equipment or guns or whathaveyou.

You can play dominoes.
You can play poker.
You can play blackjack.
You can play Five Finger Filet (though you shouldn’t).

I sit down to play the game and get on my horse and I have *NO IDEA* what I should do. So I normally go out and find a turkey or a deer or a couple of rabbits and make sure that the people in the camp are fed. I feed the horses. I chop wood. I carry water. I have short conversations with my campmates. Sometimes I play dominoes or poker with them. By then it’s afternoon and I have enough time left before dark to go out and maybe do *ONE* thing.

And, inevitably, it’s something like finding a poster that says that a museum in town is looking for two perfect rabbit specimens.

There are too many things to do. It’s not fair.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is promotional image for Red Dead Redemption 2 from Rockstar’s twitter feed.)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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6 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Gaming: Choice Paralysis

  1. Is it a violation of Mindless Diversions policy to ask what the deal is with the suffragette minigame and/or quest?

    (That is, I’ve not played the game, but seen stuff about it on the internet, and am wondering if the complaints are valid or are people taking things out of context)

    (I mean, my main thing is that women out in the Old West got the right to vote before just about anyone else, so why is there even suffragette activism in the first place in this milieu, much less backlash)

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    • I have not yet encountered that character.

      I will instead talk about the guy who had the treasure map. You are out and about. There is a guy who says “I am the world famous explorer Joey Bagadonuts. Surely you’ve heard of me! Unfortunately, I leave for more world exploration tomorrow and I have no time to complete the search for the treasure at the end of this treasure map. I will sell it to you for $10!”

      You then have the option of giving him $10 for the map or robbing him for the map. (If he’s not *THAT* different from other people you can rob, you can shoot him when you have finished robbing him.)

      *I* purchased the map from him because *I* am an honorable man. In the game, I mean.

      I do not see the fact that you can rob/shoot this guy as an indictment of the game.

      Another story:

      I got Grand Theft Auto III when it first came out (the one where you were a silent protagonist) and there was a part of the game where I was out driving around and I stopped at a red light. I looked left, I looked right, no cars were coming…

      I drove through the red light.

      And nothing happened.

      I found that moment particularly unsettling.

      All that to say:

      Any theological discussion of human freedom will usually wander through how it’s a failure on the part of the Creator(s) to allow people to do things.

      The usual counter-argument takes the form “OH YEAH WHAT ABOUT FREE WILL!”

      And things devolve from there.

      Which is why it’s probably best to avoid discussions of religion in the Mindless Diversions comments.

      (But if you think that it’d be fruitful, I can put something up where we can scream at each other with more freedom to throw down. Should I?)

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    • (Okay, to answer your question, I don’t think that there is a Suffragette quest, per se (though I haven’t completed the game). There *IS* an interaction with a Suffragette but, as far as I can tell, there is not a quest. There is also a quest called “Further Questions of Female Suffrage” but, as far as I can tell, that’s not the thing that is currently kicking up drama on the internet.)

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  2. I finished Fist of the North Star, which was so mindbendingly stupid that I absolutely fell in love with it, finished the all the sidequests except beating the ludicrous secret super boss, and then immediately started Yakuza Kiwami which was available gratis from PS Plus.

    So far it’s pretty interesting. Soooo many cut scenes, though. It’s a remake of a mid-aughts game, so I guess it kind of figures, since that was the era of Xenosaga and Metal Gear Solid 3/

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