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Waiting for the Fallout

Posted by joeabbott on October 10, 2010

imageWell, I’ve taken a bad turn and am actually waiting on a video game. Yup, a childhood spent running through “the swamp”, years of after school sports and work, my later life interest in hiking\climbing\mountaineering … and I’m waiting on a video game.

imageNow, Fallout is hardly “just another video game”, but the distinction is minimal: how popular it was\is, seems to be the crux of my argument. But still, it’s a lotta fun.

It will come out October 19 or something like that … next Tuesday … and Amazon says they’ll have my copy waiting on the doorstep when I get home. While I’m pretty geeked, the reality is that I’ll probably get home, deal with the cats and chickens, take care of dishes, the paper, and tidy up what needs tidying, have dinner with Suzanne … and then, get a chance to play around a bit. Until I have to get to bed because, well, because 5 AM comes awfully early. And while I like a game, I like employment better.


I really liked Fallout 3 because it did a couple things really well. It told a moderately compelling story, built it in a realistic world, based that world on our world (I can’t tell you how often I referenced Bing\Google Maps while playing that game), and incorporated it into an RPG.imageimageimageimage

Frst and foremost, I read. I read a lot. When I drop into Costco for weekly groceries, I always cruise the book aisle (right now I have Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern at my elbow as my “while I wait for the computer” reading). When we go on vacation, we always pick up books from where we travel (my bedtime reading is The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes … I wrote about this book last July and I’m only half way through … hey, it’s a big book and I only read a few pages a night!) … when we were in Colorado recently I did a little hiking and found Roadside Geology of Colorado by Halka Chronic and Felicie Williams; it’s a bit of dry reading by fascinating to learn where all that pink granite came from! And my morning bus-reading is a weekly news periodical called The Week.

Anyhow, I read a lot and so a good story is pretty important. And in Fallout 3 the story went something like: a 1950s-based world saw the US and China at war that went (literally) nuclear, insurance in the form of fallout shelters (Vaults) was available, those who made it into the shelter lived a good but insular life, and those outside suffered a hardscrabble life at best and terrible mutations at worst. Enter your protagonist: the son of a Vault 101 scientist. Your father was trying to create a clean water source for the people living outside the vault when he mysteriously disappeared and you soon followed him out the hatch into the blasted and devastated world.

The interesting thing about Fallout (for me) is that it wasn’t the story that pulled me in as much as the world in which it was based. And this was post-apocalyptic Washington D.C.

imageimageOnce you leave the hatch you find a nearby settlement called Megaton, after the unexploded bomb that sits at the center of town. But, once you start branching out you can walk the DC Mall, head into the Capitol, and find the Whitehouse. Streets are the same, the layout of the world is as in real life DC, and the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial even play a role. It’s a lot of fun to see these details in the game.

But I think I just like RPGs. Not sure why I do. I had a passing interest in D&D in high school (that was never realized as I never found others of similar interests), but when I have played games they’re typically based on heading into a dungeon, whacking apart some animated and ill-intentioned skeleton, and finding a bit of loot. Yup, I can spend a lotta time playing stuff like that. And Fallout was just that sorta game … except you’re taking out “raiders”, “mutants”, and any number of mutated ants, dogs, and bears.

And so now comes Fallout: New Vegas.

I hope it has the same compelling story (lots of “factions” and interesting quests), fun gameplay (I actually like VATS … who doesn’t like to stop time to figure out what to do?), and it will be entertaining to head to Bing Maps again and follow the hero through The Strip, out to Hoover Dam, and Nellis Air Force Base.

Yup, I’m waiting for a video game but that’s probably not the worst thing I could do with my time. Or is it?


One Response to “Waiting for the Fallout”

  1. […] stayed up late last night taming the Wasteland and woke up, tossed about, and dozed off again until it was nearly 9:30! I’m almost always up […]

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