Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Fallout (or how I stopped worrying and loved the bomb)

As I have mentioned before, I have been playing Fallout 3.  It is my second time playing it.  Before, it just wasn't what I needed and though I enjoyed it, it just never clicked with me.  For some reason, I decided that the end of summer was the perfect time to start over with it again and I am glad I did in many ways but it just didn't click with me as to why until the other night.  In the game, I meet up with my father.  It seems to be the entire crux of the game is getting to and there it was...middle of the game, I meet up with Liam Neisson.  It was one of those things that I wasn't expecting so soon and I figured that this would cool and we would have adventures together.  Not so much.  A mission later, he was dead and there I was left to either finish his work or walk away from everything.  It was pretty emotional for me for a lot of reasons.  First off, just from the point of the game, your father is built up as a great, smart man who is trying to make the wasteland a better place for everyone...his son included.  He is really the first character you meet in the game and his kind, loving nature really sets the tone for who you want to become in the game.  I honestly found it hard to be a dick in the game because I was afraid that my fictional dad would find out and not be proud of me.  The other reason it hit me so hard was that I did in fact lose my father last year after a long struggle with a blood disorder.  Though he didn't sacrifice himself to bring clean water to the wasteland, he was a very principled man who devoted his life to his family.  He was constantly putting others before himself and it was an odd parallel between fantasy and reality that I wasn't expecting to find in the middle of a RPG involving nuclear holocaust.  I ended up losing some sleep for the next few nights after, just thinking about and missing Dad.

Where am I going with all this?  I think that too often the story of some video games are too throw away.  I am not saying that all games need to be classical literature, but I think that when a game gets it right, it is one of those moments in your life that make you stop and think about your own existence and think about things other than shooting or racing.  Needless to say, this is a gaming experience that is going to stick with me for a long time and I can't wait to see where things go in the remaining parts of the game and I am hoping that I get to make a mark for my digital dad and that my actual Dad would have been proud of in some way.  I think that if more games tried to connect with people on a more intimate level, the genre as a whole to ascend to the level of respect that it rightfully deserves.

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