I Played That! #37: Fallout 3 (PC)

I am a huge fan of the Fallout series, but when the third installment was announced, I was crushed. The announcement and screenshot showed that instead of an isometric, third-person RPG, it was going to be a first-person shooter. As I’ve discussed before, the types of games I loved had all vanished and now one of the few franchises that had been there for me was going to the dark side. No, I was not happy.

For four years I sulked and had nothing to do with it. But then in 2012, out of the blue, I bought a PC game I’ll talk about later (I haven’t approached this series in even an optimal non-chronological fashion, sorry), and the fact that I enjoyed it and that it ran fine on my laptop made me think that maybe I could take a crack at PC games I’d assumed my machine couldn’t run. So I bought Fallout 3.

It was a revelation. I loved playing it. I loved the sense of exploration, I loved the immersion, and I loved the combat. Hunting down feral ghouls and raiders with a sniper rifle was exciting and fun. I couldn’t get enough of it. I DO like FPSes, Sam I Am! And I will play them on a boat, and I will play them with a G.O.A.T.!

Here’s a little something about people in the world: sometimes they change their minds about things. They get new information. They are turned on to a different point of view. They realize their old views were sheltered or prejudiced or ill-informed and re-evaluate past statements and decisions. Sometimes it involves something minor like realizing you actually do enjoy a certain type of videogame you had declared contempt for. Sometimes it’s something much larger and more important. But it happens. It’s the point of growing up and gaining maturity.

It helped that the actual game of Fallout 3 was a lot of fun, with an interesting mix of excitement, humor, pathos, and mystery. The world was huge, and interesting finds awaited the intrepid explorer. The main storyline was kind of dull, absurd, and had an unbelievably stupid end to it, but the side missions were excellent, fleshing out the world and giving lovely story beats without simply dumping a bunch of text into a “book” or a baobab-sized conversation tree. A lot of thought was put into it beyond the weapons and the combat, and the whole thing works very well. It’s a world where you just don’t want to be a jerk, unlike a lot of other games I’ve played.

Fallout 3 was a gateway drug for me, and before long I was trying other FPSes and then moved to the Xbox. In fact, this really should be the final entry in this series, since this game directly led to me jumping back to consoles and eschewing the PC as a gaming platform, at least for the moment.

As you know, Fallout 4 dropped this past week and while I haven’t played it yet (I foolishly “pre-“ordered mine from Amazon, and it only shipped out yesterday) I can’t wait. It looks and sounds great, and even the aspects of it that I’m kind of wary about I’m keeping an open mind about because hey, I’ve been wrong before.

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