A few nights ago, I stood in line to pick up Red Dead Redemption at the midnight launch. As the minutes ticked by slower and slower, Game Informer's Nick Ahrens and I decided that we would forego playing single player, and would instead form a posse to terrorize other players. Along with Nick, my friends Phil Hoff, Adam Retzer, and Darnel (he believes only having one name will make him the next Madonna) decided to join in on our shenanigans. Big mistake.

We all learned that jumping into Red Dead Redemption's gameplay without first learning the basics in the single player tutorial is a bad idea. It also doesn't help that the game starts you with a donkey. My first donkey ride began innocently enough. My steed and I were roaring across the plains, almost delivering the illusion that I could be the greatest cowboy to ever saddle up. A bridge revealed the truth behind my riding abilities.

Why not run across the bridge? What could possibly go wrong? Thanks to the angle I took in my approach, my donkey and I only managed to get two feet up on the bridge, at full gallop mind you. The other two feet flew through the air for a few seconds before giving way to gravity. My donkey and I tumbled embarrassingly to the canyon bed, where death loomed just as heavily as laughter from other players.

I'd like to say this is the only time my donkey and I could be nominated for a Darwin Award. Within the span of a few hours, however, my actions stripped Red Dead Redemption of nearly all of its realism, almost transforming the game into a Looney Tunes episode. I ran into houses full tilt (not realizing that Right Button pull ups on the reins to slow the steed). In my first hunting endeavor, my donkey walked right in front of the barrel of my gun just as I pulled the trigger. I have no proof to back up this next statement, but I believe I am the only cowboy who can say he accidentally shot his donkey in the eye.

I also shot Phil in the back of the head. Again…an accident. A cougar darted down a hill toward him. What was I supposed to do? I panicked, and fired as quickly as I could. Mistakes happen.

Everyone in the posse can thump their chest over the one challenge we managed to complete: killing five birds. Other than this amazing accomplishment, most of the wild life ended up killing us.

Nick spent a good portion of his time trapped in a canyon. Darnel ran me over with a stagecoach. Adam drowned in a lake. Almost everything we attempted ended in tragedy. We did accomplish our original goal of killing others players, but only because they were engaged in one of the game’s random bandit encounters. We shot them in their backs.

Long story short, if you haven’t started playing Red Dead Redemption yet, don’t jump into the open world multiplayer without first having a few hours in single player under your belt. Charging into this experience cold turkey will only shame the cowboy name, and make donkeys look more pathetic than they already are.