A Tip of the Ol’ Hat
I had one of those great moments of symbiosis with Red Dead Redemption when I started playing it. I’d been walking around for some time noting that the people in the towns and along the roads would say “howdy” and the like to me. It was becoming a very serious issue in my mind that I was mute in response. I wrote in some of my notes on the game: “I’d love a “hat tip” button so I could acknowledge people.”
The next session I found out through experimentation that there is a hat tip button (the “B” button for what it’s worth). In some ways, this is pretty much a “oh, right” situation… but it also blew my mind. That little thing changes the game radically – it allows you to enter into the social milieux of the world. It’s similar to the post the other day about the difference in representing a city versus the “Wild West”. The designers again leverage a nice feature of their setting – the idea that people (at least in the movies) casually say hi to each other as they pass, without necessarily expecting more. This allows a very low-interaction gesture which adds “realism” and richness to the experience.
Also, I can easily imagine a secondary playing in which I take offense easily and duel/kill anyone who doesn’t “howdy” me back.