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Beyond the Vault
November 23, 2012 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
posted by Artw (88 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was good.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:03 AM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Very good. I can remember in my very young teenage years getting a bit "tee hee aren't I being so naughty" if an RPG allowed for a M/M relationship, early pressure valve release. See look! there are people I identify with in the media I'm consuming. That is important!

New Vegas has a surprising number of LGBT characters and that was wonderful to find out. I mean Confirmed Bachelor is a perk that allows you hit on dudes how awesome is that?
posted by The Whelk at 11:07 AM on November 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


That was excellent but also served to remind me that I was 23 when FO2 came out. Damn kids.

New Vegas has a surprising number of LGBT characters

New Vegas is vastly superior to FO3 in virtually every way. I couldn't believe how much of an improvement it was.
posted by Justinian at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


New Vegas is vastly superior to FO3 in virtually every way. I couldn't believe how much of an improvement it was.

New Vegas is a Fallout game made by Fallout people (including Chris Avellone, who is my personal hero). FO3 is an Elder Scrolls game wearing Fallout's skin.

Not that Elder Scrolls games are bad or anything, but... they're not Fallout.
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, I've been trying to think of what game I could write a Gaming Made Me about, and there are just too many choices. Part of that is probably Good Old Days syndrome but part is that when I was coming up it was possible for one or two guys to write an entire awesome game from the ground up. It didn't take what amounts to a movie studio with a $50,000,000 budget, so people took more chances.

Perhaps Starflight?
posted by Justinian at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I mean Confirmed Bachelor is a perk that allows you hit on dudes how awesome is that?

And its female counterpart, Cherze La Femme. I appreciate that you never really know when these perks are going to come in handy. Maybe you can flirt with a robotic light switch to get better items; maybe you'll just use it to learn a bit more about one of your companions. I think its handled maturely, in that it's not really treated as a joke or something that's incongruous- its just there.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:21 AM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


That was good - thank you for posting.

It probably says something bad about me that I preferred FO3 to FO:NV, massive power trip and all. It took a spate of boredom and the casual purchase of 'Old World Blues' to redeem FO:NV in my eyes.
posted by YAMWAK at 11:22 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a great article.
posted by codacorolla at 11:23 AM on November 23, 2012


Zork made me. That's why I'm all about INVENTORY and HELLO SAILOR and not getting eaten by a grue.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:23 AM on November 23, 2012 [20 favorites]


It probably says something bad about me that I preferred FO3 to FO:NV

There are people for whom "post-apocalyptic western" is the best thing ever. I am one of them.
posted by spaltavian at 11:28 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was terrific! Much better than I was expecting.
posted by JHarris at 11:30 AM on November 23, 2012


You could say that FO3 is a better ES game than FO:NV; The people who made FO3 were better aware of the limits of their engine, and as a result the game tends to fill much fuller than FO:NV, at least to me.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:33 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The music in Fo3 was better, as was the settling and style of it all, for me. It was a good game.

New Vegas on the other-hand, I developed like a co-dependent relationship with that game.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I've been trying to think of what game I could write a Gaming Made Me about,[...]Perhaps Starflight?

The Ancients are petroleum!
posted by JHarris at 11:35 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


If they didn't want me to burn them in my starship engine they shouldn't have been made out of fuel.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, I've been trying to think of what game I could write a Gaming Made Me about, and there are just too many choices.

I don't know if I could pick a particular game - beyond the first in these genres, simply for formative reasons - but firstly adventure games, and secondly SimCity/Civ/"god" games. Deeply-held beliefs that: there is always a solution to a problem (even if you have to try a lot of verbs/click a lot of pixels), and everything impacts everything else (and the computer is a cheating bastard).
posted by curious nu at 11:39 AM on November 23, 2012


It's funny, I was just talking about FO3 versus FO:NV on another board. The tl;dr version: FO3 was about despair, exploration, and looting a ruined civilization. NV was about starting to rebuild a new one.

I thought the base FO3 was much better than NV; it accomplished what it set out to do almost flawlessly, where NV was too constraining on the player, with too many factions, and that silly faction reputation thing. And it was (and still is) buggy as shit. But then two of the DLC packs for NV, Dead Money and Old World Blues, were miles better than either of the original base games, where the DLC for the original was kind of nonsensical and, at least in one case, a little bit game-breaking.

So, at this point, I think of the relatively yucky NV (I don't particularly like ANY of the factions in that game; I guess the Boomers are okay, but they're not a major player) as being the price to get to the fantastic DLC. I think of the original FO3 as being a gem that stands alone, best without its DLC.
posted by Malor at 11:40 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dead Money was somehow moving. All of the DLC told one part of a longer story. Amazing. (okay Lonesome Road is a bit .....eeeeeeehhhh)

I always said adventure games shaped my worldview: Talk to everyone. Try Everything. There is always a solution.
posted by The Whelk at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


adventure games shaped my worldview: Talk to everyone. Try Everything. There is always a solution.

Definitely a post-sierra worldview.
posted by ethansr at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2012 [28 favorites]


that banana isn't going to stick itself up the robot's exhaust pipe you know.
posted by The Whelk at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


The story in Fallout 3 is awful. It's a copy of 2's story, only done poorly.

It also breaks a lot of Fallout
conventions that had made the series interesting: they made the Brotherhood a purely good force and the super mutants too dumb to be anything but purely evil.

And I'm really surprised to hear complaints about the factions in NV; the lack of factions in 3 made the game feel shallower than it's predecessors and successor.
posted by spaltavian at 11:59 AM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


where NV was too constraining on the player, with too many factions, and that silly faction reputation thing.

Faction reputation is a million times better than FO3's stupid Karma system. In New Vegas, people like you or hate you because you have acted for or against their interests. In Fallout 3, moral objectivism is a real thing and everybody you meet can read your Karma meter. New Vegas doesn't abolish the Karma meter, but it might as well; if memory serves, the only thing it affects is whether or not Cass will team up with you, and even that's stupid.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the base FO3 was much better than NV; it accomplished what it set out to do almost flawlessly, where NV was too constraining on the player, with too many factions, and that silly faction reputation thing.

I don't understand this. NV is much less constraining on the player. What you're describing as "too many factions" is the ability to actually make some decisions about who your character is and how he or she relates to the world, while FO3 dictates the arc of your character and who he or she is almost entirely.

I guess you could say that it's not that big of a deal since there aren't any choices to make in the Capital Wasteland anyway; the DC detachment of the Brotherhood of Steel are super-noble righteous good guys and obviously you must ally with them against the super-sinister vicious evil guys, etc. It's a much simpler game (morally and intellectually), which is why I say it's more of an Elder Scrolls game than a Fallout game. There's a relatively long central plot that you are dragged through with no really major choices to make and you're along for the epic ride, and then there's a huge amount of exploration and other stuff to do outside of that but none of it has as much meaning to your character as the main plot. Fallout is exactly the opposite, with the main plot (consisting of 3 plot points) mostly meaningful to the big players in the area and really only relevant to your character because of the way that it shapes the place in which he or she will have to live. The stuff of your character in Fallout is what happens in the rest of the world, which is peopled by characters that are a lot more human, which is to say selfish, short-sighted, flawed, etc.

The Elder Scrolls games (and FO3) are filled with epic forces of abstract good and evil doing battle in a beautiful world that feels like it's beyond a wall of unbreakable glass. The things you do may have an effect superficially, but the world's not really going to change at your behest which makes the incredible scale of your adventures feel... false, I guess. In the Fallout games, the fact that the world doesn't change at your behest is the point. The Elder Scrolls games are about changing the world (but they don't allow you to actually do that in any way except for the one way specified by the script) while the Fallout games are about making a little place for yourself in a world that largely does not care about you.

Again, I'm not saying Elder Scrolls games are bad. The thing they do is something that I enjoy quite a lot at times, and I can definitely see why lots of other people enjoy it too. I do, however, think it's hard to argue that they're better than the Fallout games as anything other than comfort food when you feel that the real world is just a little too big and unfair.

(On preview: Beaten twice by people who know how to make a point concisely.)
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:20 PM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have never played a Fallout game. I just don't have any interest in the setting.

As far as what game made me: GemStone III. It was a definite turning point in my life. Changed my career (my roleplaying got the attention of a couple of devs who got me a job with them), helped me understand my gender identity, found me new friends, through those friends a religion, through that religion a wife, and basically there is nothing about my life today that I can separate from having played that game. Granted, a lot of it was indirect and not a result of the "art" of the game, but even directly it has a surprising amount of influence. And pagan that I am now, one of the gods that bounces around gleefully in the back of my head is one of the ones from that game's fiction.
posted by Foosnark at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


New Vegas is vastly superior to FO3 in virtually every way. I couldn't believe how much of an improvement it was.

As someone who adored FO3 but has yet to play New Vegas, I am thrilled by these types of statements. I can't wait to play it, but I'm not going to until I have a big chunk of time I can dedicate to it. I loved the Fallout games when I was a kid, but haven't had a computer capable of running FO3 until just recently, so getting back into the series has been a blast.

I have a hard time imagining that there can be a better setting for the Fallout universe than DC though. The cloying patriotism and kitschy Americana history and cold war propaganda fits so well into the World of Tomorrow aesthetic that it's hard for me to imagine that the Western aesthetic will be better. Maybe it's an east coast/west coast thing. Still, I'm stoked to find out.

And yeah, the story of the main questline and the karma system were obviously not that great, but they made up so little of my experience that I don't really care. That game excelled at lonesome exploration. I don't really like karma/faction systems, and the fact that more emphasis is placed on the player characters story in FO:NV is actually a little concerning to me. It seems like those might detract from the the things about FO3 that I liked. But I'll find out soon enough.
posted by painquale at 12:37 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


it took me a while to warm up to New Vegas but when it did hook me it shook me and never let me go.
posted by The Whelk at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2012


I always find it interesting that these FO3/NV comparisons tend to center on things such as factions, themes, music and whatnot when the big difference for me is: NV just has more stuff. I mean, I love a lot of things about these two games, but NV indulges my desire for loot like no other RPG. Remember how great the sniper rifle was in FO3? Well, now there's five or six different kinds!

Maybe I'm just a crass materialist, or just too shallow to appreciate the other stuff, but the prospect of picking the 100-level locked case to get the Gobi Scout Rifle, or finally finding a merchant that sells the scope for the hunting rifle makes me want to start my dozenth playthrough right now.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh - one of the things that annoyed me about NV was the absence of stuff. FO3 always made exploration worth your while - there was always a skill book or a quantum or a schematic or something in every location.

There were too many areas in NV where there just didn't seem to be any point in exploring. The factions were interesting, but choosing between slavers, a selfish force of stagnation, mere anarchy and a bunch of well-meaning bureaucrats didn't seem that much of a choice to me (okay, maybe other people would react differently, but bureaucrats for the win!).
posted by YAMWAK at 1:13 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


First, great article. I like the fact that Fallout 2 offered a little bit of subversion just when a young player needed it.

Then, F3 versus FNV! I'm surprised at the people who thought FNV was way better, because my experience was so much the opposite. Though I like the Western setting, FNV has some terrible voice acting, a very limited set of quests beyond the main quest, and for me, it bogs down terribly once I get to Freeside-- too much running around for snippets of dialog. Plus, moral objectivism? The Legion is just pure evil with nothing to say for itself, not even the honeyed words of President Eden.

Plus, New Vegas itself is unconvincing-- huge dead spaces with little sense of fun or sin, and how does the Wasteland support such an extravagance anyway?

Admittedly I started with Fallout 3, so it could blow me away with its visceral, immersive depiction of a destroyed America. But there was also so much to do-- it always seemed like you could wander into an area and find a story. I did a playthrough where I only did much of the main quest because I needed to to get a bobblehead.

(The mechanics of FNV are superior, of course, but that's because it's a later game. On the other hand, some of the terrain design is just absurdly bad. Getting to the Khan encampment, for instance; I wish I had a hundred caps for every invisible wall or unclimbable chest-high boulder I ran into.)

But! I've been playing the DLC for FNV the last few weeks, and they're great. Old World Blues is clever, fun, and goofy. Just started Lonesome Road, and I'm far more interested in that than in defeating Caesar.
posted by zompist at 1:15 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


IT'S A WALKING EYE
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fallout and Fallout 2 have been on my must-play list for a while. Perhaps I should get into isometric turn-based RPG mode for a month or so. This article certainly tips it in favor of putting time into it.

I like both F3 and F:NV for different reasons. Both are loaded with little bits of exploratory storytelling, little tableaus and relationships that you discover by talking to people, or paying attention to the way in which a site is set-dressed: skeletons embracing each other on a bed, a super mutant in a Kate Pierson wig and pink sunglasses, the email messages left on company computers, the guy who keeps lingerie in a locked safe, the brothel with the jail cells, the scene of cyberdogs playing poker.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:40 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Elder Scrolls games (and FO3) are filled with epic forces of abstract good and evil doing battle in a beautiful world that feels like it's beyond a wall of unbreakable glass.

I think this is largely spot on, though if you pay attention to the background, it tends not to be so much "good" vs. "evil" as siding with the jerks who don't want to destroy the world. Except Oblivion and maybe Arena. But Oblivion was insipidly written all around.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:53 PM on November 23, 2012


Really good article. Gaming hasn't quite rocked my world like it did hers, but it's an important part of who I am, and it's driven me to learn a lot about myself and the world. Her realizations about the American dream and herself through gaming are touching.
posted by jiawen at 1:57 PM on November 23, 2012


As far as what game made me: GemStone III. It was a definite turning point in my life. Changed my career (my roleplaying got the attention of a couple of devs who got me a job with them)

Nothing will ever rival the roleplaying in Gemstone. Ever. Did I say ever? Maybe that shoulda been my Gaming Made Me, also, except I was already in high school and college.

I will admit that my one bit of evil game griefing occurred in GS3 when I would deliberately explode chests in Town Square to make a toxic cloud or firestorm or whatever to murder all the AOL noobs. God that was great seeing all their ugly, ugly bodies.

helped me understand my gender identity, found me new friends, through those friends a religion, through that religion a wife

Chandra et al were great. I was a GM in DR rather than Gemstone but unfortunately got burned out on it FAST for a variety of non-game related reasons. The hours were crazypants.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2012


adventure games shaped my worldview: Talk to everyone. Try Everything. There is always a solution.

steal everything that's not nailed down
posted by speicus at 3:02 PM on November 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't know if it made me, but I do truly miss the packed days of Gemstone III, as well. I was one of the first people to punch into Icemule when they opened it and stumbling around this new pristine city when I was way too low level to make the run from the Landing by any reasonable standards (a bunch of oldbies heading up took me along for grins, as I recall) was some amazing exploration I've never equaled. I was fortunate they set it up as a new starting town, otherwise I would've been really screwed, but hanging out en masse mowing down waves of thyrils for ridiculous experience was beautiful.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:03 PM on November 23, 2012


adventure games shaped my worldview: Talk to everyone. Try Everything. There is always a solution.

steal everything that's not nailed down


if it's nailed down, look for a cat and some tape to jury rig a fake moustache nail remover.
posted by juv3nal at 3:14 PM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


>CLICK ALL THE PIXELS
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Never, under any circumstances, throw a potion away.
posted by The Whelk at 3:24 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


NV is tops because it had that one abandoned vault that turned out to be a failed botany experiment filled with suitably terrifying plant demons and lush green evil
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:50 PM on November 23, 2012


NV is tops because Arcade Ganon is DREAMY.
posted by The Whelk at 3:54 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


NV is tops because you walk into a vault covered in campaign posters. Interesting enough. But then you get closer and you see they say things like "I Hate Kate" and "James Cares About Family Values: Vote Bill."

And then you hear the tape. And then you find out what was going on in Vault 11.

Do you hear it? ...Good.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:59 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I played FO:NV before FO3 (I'd played the original two games years ago). My problem with FO3 was that it was way too cramped - after the wide open spaces of NV, the Capital region just seemed far too compressed. Having grown up in southern Maryland (roughly where "Adams Air Force Base" is), FO3's geography also threw me for a little bit of a loop (Germantown and Olney are not really where I would expect them to be, for example). I did enjoy the alternate-universe Metro, though.

I knew I'd been playing FO3 and NV too long when I was walking into my apartment building one night, saw a bobby pin on the ground, and almost picked it up because "I might need that to pick a lock later".
posted by hanov3r at 4:02 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was a MUCK that made me. FurryMUCK, to be precise. I started playing a black dragon "for a joke". I named her Peganthyrus because I liked the sound of the name "Peggy"; I just kinda tacked syllables onto that until I had something that sounded "dragony" to my twenty-four-year-old self. Little did I realize that I was picking what would end up being my name a few years down the road.

The name I post to most of the net under is an anagram of that name. So's the occasionally-used alternate identity where I get drunk and draw weird porn for money.
posted by egypturnash at 4:11 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sigh, even on an article on Fallout 2 the discussion is about FO3 and NV. Honest, guys, gals and and deathclaws: get Fallout 2 from GOG. The dialogue is genuinely funny; you can customise your character and finish the game without using a weapon once, you can rely on your companions or go solo, dominate the wastes with your minigun or make do with a spear. Speech and science skills are useful; the descriptions are good; the factions are fun to play with; the world is vibrant and you can become a boxing champion//spy/ porn star/slaver/anti-slaver/get involved in a shotgun wedding. You can change the wastes. Yes, the graphics are 2D and the game is 15-years-old, but for my money it's squarely in the top-10 games ever. Do you want to wonder in your deathbed if that guy on MeFi was right about Fallout 2 and you didn't have the chance to play it?

PS The restoration mod is quite good too.
posted by ersatz at 4:26 PM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


roger ackroyd : Zork made me. That's why I'm all about INVENTORY and HELLO SAILOR and not getting eaten by a grue.

No joke, I have "Hello sailor!" as the "welcome" message on my phone.

Sadly, no one gets it. Most people from my generation didn't play computer games back then (not "video" games - Plenty of NES junkies, but not many PC gamers), and "modern" video games have totally killed the text-based-IF genre.

/ Of course, I also have the theme from SMB as my ring-tone, so, take that as you will.
// Oh, and Wasteland FTW. All you whipper-snappers playing your fancy "Fallout" - Bah! Git offa mah lawn!
posted by pla at 4:42 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I prefer Fallout: New Vegas, though as I've said before I also prefer Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords. I may just be a mark for Obsidian games.

Still, New Vegas felt like it was trying to be about something. It was saying, here's the Mojave, here's the last wasteland, here's where the future of civilization in the southwest will be decided. Here are the people driven by visions of the past or trapped by their own history, some fighting for the power to control the future, some trying just to survive, and here's you: The Courier, risen from the dead and born into a new life, tied to no place or history. You're free from the past and you're the one who's going to get to decide the future.

And then it let you become a brainless super intelligent drug addicted kleptomaniac cannibal who beats people to death with her bear hand.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:48 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


New Vegas seems like the natural end of the Fallout Series.

I mean it got so civilized that they added in hardcore mode and Dead Money in an attempt to bring back that Every Last Stimpak counts feeling from the previous games and boy howdy compared to everything that came before Dead Money is fucking terrifying and creepy.
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 PM on November 23, 2012


ersatz: "Sigh, even on an article on Fallout 2 the discussion is about FO3 and NV."

Actually, the article wasn't primarily about Fallout 2. It was about how gaming (and Fallout 2 in particular) affected her life, and helped her make realizations about her life.
posted by jiawen at 5:10 PM on November 23, 2012


I mean it got so civilized that they added in hardcore mode and Dead Money in an attempt to bring back that Every Last Stimpak counts feeling

Even hardcore mode was Pretty Dang Easy. I went through the whole game on the highest difficulty + hardcore mode and used stimpaks like three times the whole game. Jsawyer's mod helps a lot and I've been using that in my final DLC playthrough. Though even there I think it is far too easy to stay fed and hydrated.

They made these awesome systems for food, water, radiation, etc but then were not allowed to actually use them to make the game challenging. They've flat out said this; Jsawyer's mod is how he wanted the game to go but was not allowed to because the Powers That Be were afraid players would be scared away.
posted by Justinian at 5:13 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, the article wasn't primarily about Fallout 2. It was about how gaming (and Fallout 2 in particular) affected her life, and helped her make realizations about her life.

Through the lens of Fallout 2, but your point stands. I posted my comment before reading the article (which I did later), but I wouldn't know where to start commenting on her experiences and the thread seems too far gone. One thing I can say is that one never knows what can shape someone's identity.
posted by ersatz at 5:22 PM on November 23, 2012


I played a bunch of video games, mostly RPGs and platformers, in the 16-bit console era. And, well, the only thing they gave me was ideas about interior decor.
posted by Nomyte at 5:29 PM on November 23, 2012


It's quite interesting that she discovered bisexuality through gaming. I wonder how many people that's true for.
posted by jiawen at 5:39 PM on November 23, 2012


As derails go, a FO3/NV knife fight is one I'll gladly accept.
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on November 23, 2012


Yeah, gaming made me too.

It made me, every once in a while when I'm walking across a room and no one's watching, try to walk like Simon Belmont does in Castlevania. And when going down steps, I sometimes throw my arms up like Mega Man jumping.

Gaming made me a NERD.
posted by JHarris at 6:29 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's this or getting into model trains.
posted by The Whelk at 6:32 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The pointless purple coins in Mario Galaxy taught me that we are all standing at the edge of an Abyss, and there is no reason to keep going on.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:37 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paradroid made me, which is why I roam office buildings running into janitors and interns at full speed, challenging them to puzzle-duels, and stealing their equipment. (On good days I can work my way up the chain to junior VPs.)
posted by No-sword at 6:58 PM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have such a crush on Paradroid...
posted by Packed Lunch at 7:07 PM on November 23, 2012


This was neat. I had much the same reaction to playing through Ultima VII: Serpent Isle as a female character and getting seduced by the randy blonde chick. I was a little older, and aware that girls sometimes liked girls that way (and if I remember the timing correctly, I probably had a clue that *I* liked girls that way) but I can't even describe how validating it was to have that as an option. Just knowing that this was a real thing that even Lord British knew about and was apparently just fine with gave me a tremendous amount of support in a time when that was very much lacking in the media. (And, having since met Lord British, I am pretty confident in saying that he is in fact just fine with it. Which is, you know, nice.)

And somewhere I think I still have the .txt file with every possible chance to get laid in Fallout 2 and the requirements and results thereof.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I played a bunch of video games, mostly RPGs and platformers, in the 16-bit console era. And, well, the only thing they gave me was ideas about interior decor.

I admit that I want to fill my house with wooden floor chests, each containing a single item.

Also a desire to stash shiny things and/or beverages in my dresser drawers.
posted by curious nu at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's got to be how Donald Trump made it. He got a lucky setup on his side of the board in the circuit takeover minigame.
posted by JHarris at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ghostbusters C64 made me, which accounts for my terrible speech impediment.
posted by Artw at 7:09 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great article. It would be interesting to compare the willingness of video game designers and players to challenge social norms with the Gutenberg Bible and later Bibles mass printed in vernacular languages.

Today, we don't think of printed Bibles as subversive, but they dramatically changed the way religion was practiced in Europe not long after their introduction. They allowed individuals to study their religious text on their own, and apply their own critical thinking. Much like the role playing of gender roles in (some) video games.

Gaming had a big impact on my life - I got into software development. Thankfully, I never got into game development.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:55 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm totally linking to this article the next time someone dismisses games as having no artistic merit. The thing about the game offering her the option of same-sex flirting is a great example of the the sort of thing games do that you can't find in other artistic media like books or movies or ballet or architecture.
posted by straight at 8:49 PM on November 23, 2012


Fallout and Fallout 2 have been on my must-play list for a while. Perhaps I should get into isometric turn-based RPG mode for a month or so. This article certainly tips it in favor of putting time into it.

They're both on sale on Steam until the 27th. And they're definitely worth the time.
posted by cmonkey at 9:08 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Still haven't finished NV.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:18 PM on November 23, 2012


Police Quest made me.

I can't get into a car without walking around to check for flat tires first.
posted by davejay at 9:30 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I suppose Gaming made me, in a roundabout way. I spent most of my time trading games. The rest of the time I spent sector editing games to cheat. Figuring out which bytes to patch in order to change my health, or inventory, or stats was much more interesting to me. Some games, like the Bard's Tale series, I spent weeks patching the disk and reloading to figure out which codes corresponded to which items. I sent a comprehensive list into a c64 magazine and I seem to remember it got partially published. I kinda wish I had played some of those games.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:31 PM on November 23, 2012


I wasn't into games growing up so I guess I don't understand this whole "gaming made me" thing. I just see games as something fun to pass the time, not life-changing and life-shaping events.
posted by Malice at 10:03 PM on November 23, 2012


I wasn't into games growing up so I guess I don't understand this whole "gaming made me" thing. I just see games as something fun to pass the time, not life-changing and life-shaping events.
Games can be every bit as immersive as novels. While novels require the reader to imagine many details on their own, games typically provide everything: visuals, audio, story, interactions, etc. The difference is that some games are more open-ended in terms of the path you take through the game.

One situation described in the article is a sort of Gordian-knot situation. The player encounters a character which instructs the player to go solve a puzzle. But the player discovers that you can just kill that character and bypass the puzzle. Similarly, some games intentionally or unintentionally allow you to gender-bend in various ways.

Bringing this full circle, many novels are just cheap entertainment and won't change your life. Some are truly exceptional and can change the way you think. Video games are just like that. Most of the time it is a lot of senseless violence. Sometimes there is real depth.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:49 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


On hacking Bard's Tale: I only ever completed the fiendishly huge Commodore 64 exploration game Phantoms of the Asteroid by figuring out which bytes in the save file corresponded to the various "Uranium Cubes" you had to find, then hacking them all into my inventory. But that game had way too many inescapable traps: accidentally use up the wrong refill station, or step on the wrong pad, or be in the wrong area when a timed beam turned back on and you were screwed. (The final exit to the game was in just such an inescapable area, in fact.)

But, to put a happy face on it, I think that experience taught me an important lesson about seeking out unusual solutions, because no one told me how to edit that save file, and not accepting a bad situation just because someone decreed it must be that way. And I'd almost be willing to bet that more people beat that game by cheating than by searching throughout that damn asteroid for the *64* widely scattered cubes, with no automap, while fighting off constantly appearing fruit monsters, and having to keep your Oxygen, Energy and Fuel gauges refilled from the all-to-finite resupply stations, AND figuring out what all those damn colored pads to. SHEESH.
posted by JHarris at 11:26 PM on November 23, 2012


(But lest it sound like i'm too far down on the game, it's still a classic of the platform. Wonderful atmosphere, fruit monsters notwithstanding.)
posted by JHarris at 11:26 PM on November 23, 2012


My politics and sexuality were formed by Yar's Revenge.
posted by kyrademon at 3:30 AM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


FNV has some terrible voice acting, a very limited set of quests beyond the main quest

Fallout 3 with all DLCs has around 100 quests. New Vegas has 220.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 4:09 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I only ever completed the fiendishly huge Commodore 64 exploration game Phantoms of the Asteroid by figuring out which bytes in the save file corresponded to the various "Uranium Cubes" you had to find, then hacking them all into my inventory.

You Kobayashi Maru'd it. /NERD
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:21 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always said adventure games shaped my worldview: Talk to everyone. Try Everything. There is always a solution.

Leigh Alexander has a Gaming Made Me about Colossal Cave which is quite touching.
posted by Sparx at 4:51 AM on November 24, 2012


Gaming made me able to pack all my books into their exact corresponding volume of bookcase, though I still am somewhat surprised and relieved with they don't disappear every time I finish a row.
posted by Jilder at 5:17 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


FYI Amazon has NV: Ultimate edition for PS3 for $20, and it's on Steam for $18.

Just bought a copy even though I already own the regular game. Really annoying how DLC always ends up being more expensive than just buying the GOTY edition. Like do you think I'm not going to notice? The prices are right there!
posted by danny the boy at 11:33 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article is awesome. I played Fallout 2 as a kid! I remember those places, those characters, those choices!

That game to this day the only game I played repeatedly, going through different options, trying different ways of solving things ... I must have had at least five characters. On my last run, I went for Power Armor right out of my home village. The trick was, the place you get Power Armor is fairly close to Arroyo, but the walk is perilous because everything kills you in a single turn - so you creep in, one square at a time, saving repeatedly, and eventually you get in and sneak into the base and steal a suit of Power Armor and then the entire game becomes very simple.

(I never worked up the nerve to marry anyone, though, because I was playing it with my little brother, and it felt too transgressive to even flirt with anyone. Also by the point we discovered that option we'd also been reading about it on GameFAQs and knew Davin/Miria were useless.)

Gaming made me, too. Now I have to dust it off and play it again.
posted by Xany at 5:19 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I very rarely wish I still have a windows machine laying around.

This is one of those times :(
posted by flaterik at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2012


FWIW, Fallout 2 works nicely on Crossover for Linux. (Or it did the last time I checked, anyway.)
posted by suetanvil at 6:43 PM on November 24, 2012


Fallout and Fallout 2 both work well in Crossover for Mac. Be careful, though - the latest Crossover has a known bug with displaying many older games (FO and FO2 among them) that will require you to set the bottle they're stored in to display as a 'virtual desktop', forcing you into windowed mode rather than full screen.
posted by hanov3r at 8:12 PM on November 24, 2012


Can you crossover things from steam?
posted by flaterik at 8:20 PM on November 24, 2012


flaterik: Can you crossover things from steam?

Many games, yep. The Steam client itself has a pre-configured bottle. I installed that earlier today and was able to get FO:NV installed from within the Steam client and running under Crossover on my MBP with no problem.
posted by hanov3r at 8:42 PM on November 24, 2012


It should be noted that the FO and FO2 I was referring to here were the GOG.com versions, not the Steam versions, but I have no doubt the Steam versions will work well.
posted by hanov3r at 8:43 PM on November 24, 2012


Despite the frightfully poor performance of steam itself via crossover on my MBP, I sunk the whole $6.79 into the Fallout pack. I can always abuse my faster work MBP if I need to, right?
posted by flaterik at 9:26 PM on November 24, 2012


Tetris made me a blockhead.

Enjoyed the article, thanks for posting it. I'm slowly making my way through FO3, and after this thread's back-and-forth on FO3 vs FONV I'm really pleased that I get to play FONV next. It's a great time to be a gamer.
posted by vanar sena at 5:18 AM on November 26, 2012


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