I took the day off to play Red Dead Redemption 2, but I’ve spent all of it watching a bar slowly fill. It’s been wild. Kill me now.
Dear whoever reads this, know that I’ve been a fool. Whoever you are, just know that I existed, and know that I wasted an entire day’s leave waiting for Red Dead Redemption 2 to install. I’m not sure what time it is. Time has no meaning anymore. I deal in minute percentages. I know that the day is 75% complete, and my install is half that.
I wanted to say something prophetic, something towering, but I fear I failed, as there are only so many ways you can say the f-word. What follows is an encyclopedia of my pain. Yeehaw.
Stage one: Shock
ONE HUNDRED GIG?
Surely not. No. I don’t look it up online, because it’d slow down your already slow-for-Australian-standards-internet. One hundred seems like a lot. Maybe I’ll do that thing where you turn the system off, mysterious halving the download…
One. Hundred. Gig.
Is this the cost of progress? Our youth? At least we can still we laugh at those who still play cards. Wait. Does Uno on my phone need internet access? Shit.
oNe HuNdReD gIg.
Stage two: Denial
Hey! An hour and a bit? Not bad. It doesn’t look right, but maybe it’s not as bad as all that.
Stage three: Anger
FUCK. Seven pissing per cent. How? How could it be so large? How much individual dust did the Rockstar devs recreate? Is the entirety of Mexico on this disk? I just want to shoot some people in the head. I don’t want to annex Texas, or sift through the requisite paperwork to ensure the take over of the land is constitutional. Mind you, I remember my twelfth birthday. I caught the bus to the game shop. I bought Aladdin for the Mega Drive, I put it in the Mega Drive. I pressed play on the control, and I played the fucking Aladdin game…and that had a whole movie in it. It even had an entire orchestra, condensed down to 8-bit versions of the original soundtrack, and it was great. What happened to us? Why are we now subject to this? I’m not getting this time back, Rockstar.
Stage four: Bargaining
It’s now 1 pm, I’m +6 hours in. It’ll be nightfall soon. There’s no food in the house. I can’t Uber Eats, because internet. Tell you what, I’ll do all my washing, and by the time that’s done, it’ll be done. Done.
Stage five: Depression
Five hours left.
What? I’ve been a fool. My house is clean, but I’m dirty on the inside. I don’t even want to play it anymore. It’s too far in to stop, surely. Why, Rockstar, why? I regret cleaning out my games library to make space for this disappointment. All those people I shot on Battlefield, all those laps on Gran Turismo, all those settlers I saved from a radioactive creepy-crawly death on Fallout. Give me a settlement that needs my help. Give me anything but this…nothing.
Hmm. Maybe not. Fuck you Preston, you did this. And I did too.
Stage six: Testing
Maybe I could read. I certainly can’t watch anything. Do I have that much time? Has it come to this? Maybe if I don’t look at it. I’m turning around now, Red Dead…no? Ok, I’ll go outside, I’ll do it…fine.
*Door slam in background*
Stage seven: Acceptance
See, I understand now. This is the game. It’s a true simulator of the crushing slow death of the Old West. It wasn’t just one big gunfight, it was a glacial shift into normalcy, law and order. No-one said out loud that it was over, it was just no longer the Wild West, decided on some unheralded weekday. Quietly, it became the Mild Western Hemisphere. I see you, Rockstar. Very bold.
Four hours to go.
While I’m excited to see the end of the Old West, I will admit that this new world scares me. If this is the end, so be it. I want to have no part of it. Too long have I lived solely by my wits and threats of extreme violence. This prairie of slow internet, crushing ennui and chewin’ whatever was left in the fridge is my home on the range. I’m an outlaw, kept behind a cell made of five bars of ADSL+2. I like it here. I can’t make it outside.
All is lost. My time has passed.
Four hours to go…