Red Dead Redemption by Matt Margini
First garnering both dismissal and intrigue as “Grand Theft Horse,” Rockstar Games’ 2010 action-adventure Red Dead Redemption was met on its release with critical acclaim for its open-world gameplay, its immersive environments, and its authenticity to the experience of the Wild West. Well, the simulated Wild West, that is.
Boss Fight invites you to find out how the West was created, sold, and marketed to readers, moviegoers, and gamers as a space where “freedom” and “progress” duel for control of the dry, punishing frontier. Join writer and scholar Matt Margini as he journeys across the broad and expansive genre known as the Western, tracing the lineage of the familiar self-sufficient loner cowboy from prototypes like Buffalo Bill, through golden age icons like John Wayne and antiheroes like Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name,” up to Red Dead’s John Marston.
With a critical reading of Red Dead’s narrative, setting, and gameplay through the lens of the rich and ever-shifting genre of the Western, Margini reveals its connections to a long legacy of mythmaking that has colored not only the stories we love to consume, but the histories we tell about America.
Matt Margini is a writer whose essays on games, books, and movies have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Kill Screen, and Public Books, where he serves as video game editor. In 2018, he earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He currently lives in Miami, FL, with his wife, Christina, and two sons, Raymond and Nicholas. This is his first book.