Red Dead Redemption. We’ve only been able to put about 15 hours of playtime in and split between three this means we really haven’t seen much of the world yet. Why do every day things like family and house moving and assignments come in between us and our wicky-wicky-wild-wild-west?

I dig the tutorial lessons and it balances the lessons with introducing back story quite effectively. You’re thrown right in after an animated train ride into town and you have to work out what’s going on as you go. It’s not a beginners game because it assumes some familiarity with the way a game, and in particular a Rockstar game, works.

The animation is pretty smooth on our Xbox (bought on the platform so the boys can all multiplay with each other) and the colours are muted and grimy. The landscape looks like it’s just rained – all green instead of the dry reds and browns in Australian winters. And there are lots of little touches to show the stage of history it’s set in – the mythical west but turn of the century. Railways and electrical wires and mentions of cars.

Straight up we’re introduced to a female character, Bonnie McFarlane and she speaks and has her own agenda. She runs the ranch that her father and her own and Ian reckon’s she’s a lot like a character from The Man from Laramie. My biggest gripe, on the whole heteronormativity front is that John Marston constantly harping on his missing wife. ‘I’m not having sex with a prostitute, I have a wife;’ ‘I’m not interested, I have a wife;’ and while it adds to back story, it’s also a little tedious. On the other hand you get honour points for preventing the rape of a ‘woman of the night’.

And to my Australian readers, which yes is probably all three of you, I was really disappointed when we finally got to Hanging Rock, one of the subplots of the story. There were no girls in white dresses, there were no alien abductions, just a big rock with a tree… you know, a HANGING rock. uh huh, I totally went somewhere else ;)

We will talk about it more as it gets played, but my first impression says it’s definitely not a disappointment.

Also, my brother-in-law came back from his honeymoon and brought me back magic cards from germany, so their playable but in german which can be confusing. I got a Kometenhagel (Comet Storm) which is one of my favourite burn cards and a wald (forest), insel (island), and a shiny sumpf (swamp).

Talking of MTG, the new deck builder’s toolkit was my wage-gift to myself this week: $25 for 4 boosters, 100 basic lands and 125 randomized cards. The instructions are pretty simple but I really think this is a great pack to start with. I also had the affirmation that I live in an uber geek household when I went to find a three-ring binder to put my plastic card holding pages in only to find one with a bunch of empty card holding pages already in it. Win!

And a link from Ian: Good Old Games. Working with a bunch of companies, including ubisoft, Good Old Games is releasing old games in a modern playable way. Heroes of Might and MagicFalloutMasters of Orion and King’s Quest 4+5+6 are among the choices. They’re pretty cheap at between $5 and $10 for a DRM-free game. Hopefully Bard’s Tale may get the nostalgia redress ;)

We’re having a bunch of guests on this week’s show: Amy from King George Square Games Night is coming in to talk about why you should go along and what you can expect to find and also Phil Larsen from Halfbrick, a local game developer who are having great success with their Iphone gameFruit Ninja.