War Never Changes

fallout 3 poster

The third game in the Fallout series is once again in development and thus I will renew my computer gaming career. Since around the eighth grade, I haven’t played many computer games. Of course, I don’t count diversions like minesweeper and bookworm adventures, love them though I might. I may briefly dabble in illicit new editions of old favorites, like Civilization 4 or something, but probably haven’t bought a computer game since a Playstation arrived in my home I’m not averse to computer gaming. My memories of playing Marathon on my dad’s Quadra 800 are still close to my heart. It’s just that through the years my computers haven’t kept up with the demands of technology, and it’s a bit hard to get excited about a system when you can’t play the newest, shiniest games for it. So, generally speaking, PC gaming news doesn’t exactly keep me on the edge of my seat. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Fallout 1 and 2 are two of the few games that I bought and played around the time that they came out.

Now, the first two Fallout games are pretty fucking great. If you have played either game and don’t like them, I would probably disagree with you on a variety of things, video games and otherwise.

fallout 2

Although it inexplicably has since fallen out of favor, the post-apocalyptic era once had a firm place in American entertainment. I know the generic reasons (end of the Cold War arms race, etc.) for this change, but I’m surprised that we don’t hang on to more post-apocalyptism in our culture that doesn’t revolve around zombies or natural disasters. Perhaps, these fears already have too explicit of an outlet in the mainstream media these days for a strong demand for fictional works on the issue. I don’t mean to imply that post-apocalyptism is dead. I just miss the more humorous expressions of it of the eighties and early nineties. Maybe, bio-terrorism is a bit too realistic these days. Back to Fallout, new and old.

The intellectual property behind the series is a familiar 1950’s take on the end of the world. Nuclear bombs have fallen throughout the world, the few survivors fight for power with religious, racial or selfish motivations, and you a lone survivor are trying to make things a bit better for yourself and your village. The game is replete with fading atomic age propaganda, decaying technology and irradiated mutants. The protagonist wanders from ruined town to fortified fallout shelter, completing tasks garnered from local crime lords and corrupt mayors, gaining experience and items as he goes. The combat is turn-based and the humor is dark. It’s pretty much awesome.

fallout line art

While I know that the new game is almost certainly going to be a significant departure from the first two games, I hope that new developer, Bethesda, is true to their promise to stay true to the core Fallout experience. I know that the new game utilizes some sort of pauseable active battle system instead of a true turn-based system. As much as I intend to resist this trend at every available opportunity, I accept that game companies have some reason for believing that turn based games don’t sell. That discussion can be left for another day. Bethesda does seem to be getting the stylistic elements right. Familiar Fallout elements, like rotgut, a bluesy opening theme and Ron Perlman’s narration appear in the recently released trailer. So, that’s encouraging. I admit that Bethesda has made some good games that I would definitely play if an xbox 360 magically appeared in my apartment. I, like many Fallout fans, just hope that they do more than make a Fallout version of Oblivion.

Fallout 3 is still a long way from completion; the release is 4th quarter of next year. So, my recent replaying of Fallout 2 is probably a bit premature. Then again, I take these games slowly and there’s never a bad time for wandering through an irradiated wasteland. Anyway, if you’ve never played a Fallout game, you might want to consider checking them out some time in the next 18 or so months.

vault 15

Here are your links.
No Mutants Allowed – The oldest Fallout fansite.
Fallout 3 Official Site – Bethesda’s Fallout 3 site. (actually goes to Fallout 3 teaser, then site)
The Vault – A Fallout wiki.

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Published in: on July 2, 2007 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment