As many times as I have seen fantasy and science fiction online games, it always surprises me how few western style games have been attempted. One of my best gaming moments came out with one of the very few games to get the genre right. It was a game that mixed great graphics (especially the cut scenes) with a great story that was set on fire with a soundtrack that feels like it came from a great spaghetti western movie like Django or the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The game was called Outlaws by Lucas Arts back in 1997 and it did not seem to get its just due despite also having a lively multiplayer community to back up the already great single player mode. The fact that it never received a sequel or probably even an expansion of any kind seems to be a missed opportunity.
Yes, Outlaws is far from being the only Wild West Game and they have some that were very popular like of course Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption by Rockstar. However, those games did not seem to be quite the full package that the much older Outlaws game was. Outlaws was the first game to make me feel like I was in a movie. The Red Dead games felt more like Grand Theft Auto on a horse since it did not quite have the spirit of Outlaws. It also should be noted that Red Dead Redemption was only on consoles and is ranked as one of the best games on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010.
A few other notable wild west games on the PC include Call of Juarez, Lead and Gold, and Desperados. Most Wild West PC games are either single player or multiplayer as very few have both modes like the aforementioned western classic did. That brings the discussion to two free online games with multiplayer only modes, Bang Howdy and Fistful of Frags. Surprisingly, both games came out close to each other. Bang Howdy has been around since 2006 and uses a very cartoonish approach to the Wild West and uses a blend of strategy and other genres. Fistful of Frags from 2007, on the other hand, is more on the right track with the weapons and environments. FoF also has a level editor like Outlaws did. Still, it would be great to see more of a story and a single player mode to bring the game world to life more.
Lastly, I think the biggest mistake developers have made is not going for a full Wild West MMORPG. There was one being developed in Asia many years ago, but it was unfortunately canceled and could not tell much since the website was not in English. With regular fantasy MMORPGs being beyond saturated in 2014, would be nice if somebody breathed some fresh air into MMOs with an epic Wild West MMORPG. Django Unchained showed how that westerns like that are still relevant as it paid homage to spaghetti westerns with music from several old movies. Imagine the possibilities in a wild west open world. There could be gunfighters, lawmen, saloon keepers, high rollers etc. Anyway, sign me up to play if a game like that ever does arrive.