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"Pop Culture Often Mocks My Faith, But Fallout Treated It Right."
March 6, 2013 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Skip Cameron, a Mormon, writes for Kotaku on the respectful treatment of Mormons and Mormonism in Fallout: New Vegas.
posted by Pope Guilty (81 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The comments over at Kotaku are depressingly predictable. I loves me some Fallout NV but never really got enough into the game to see most of the references Cameron discusses. I'm not terribly surprised that Obsidian's writing team did a good job writing believable characters who were based on the actual milieu of the game.

...but...I don't know, something about the article bugs me. Like I think he's overstating his case. I agree that there are a lot of misconceptions about Mormons and modern Mormonism in general, I just haven't had the impression in a very long time that the negativity and mocking is as widespread in pop culture as Cameron claims. Maybe I've just become desensitized to it?
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honest Hearts is such a werid, distinctive add-on, from the peaceful Edenic setting to the complex, nakedly religious storyline to the fact that the player is mostly just an observer to the action. Like most of the New Vegas add ons,it occupies a distinct genre headspace away from the main game, but I've never been able to pin down which genre that was.

Also I think it's the only add on not to feature the song "Begin Again" anywhere in it nor does it share characters with the other add-ons like the others do.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the article makes it's point fine, Mormonism exists As A Thing in the New Vegas universe and they take it reasonably seriously and not as an excuse for cheap jokes . Honest Hearts is pretty upfront about being religion/redemption and the concept of " civilization " for good and for ill.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on March 6, 2013


Didn't play Honest Hearts, but his talk of the Followers of the Apocalypse is just so infuriatingly appropriative. "These people are doing charity, and that makes them Mormons in my mind!"
posted by kafziel at 10:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you don't know who the Followers are because you didn't play Fallout 1, I can totally understand why you'd find them in the Mormon Fort and assume they were religious folks.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:37 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


He mentions Starship Troopers: the Mormon gag was pretty much the only clever thing in that piece of shit. It's the only part I remember not hating, anyway.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:38 PM on March 6, 2013


Bigotry in the name of religion is not a "lazy cliche". It's a real thing that hurts people, and Mormons hurt a lot of people with prop 8.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:40 PM on March 6, 2013 [32 favorites]


I just haven't had the impression in a very long time that the negativity and mocking is as widespread in pop culture as Cameron claims.

Well, probably the most popular Broadway musical in recent history is all about parodying them, and Mitt Romney caused a lot of magic underwear jokes. I'd say they're pretty heavily mocked.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:41 PM on March 6, 2013


Prior to Prop 8, I defended them, as most of the anti-Mormon stuff was ancient history. Since Prop 8, sorry, hate mongers get to reap as they sew, same as in town.
posted by Goofyy at 10:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [21 favorites]


Well, probably the most popular Broadway musical in recent history is all about parodying them, and Mitt Romney caused a lot of magic underwear jokes. I'd say they're pretty heavily mocked.

If reacting to ridiculousness without reverence counts as mockery, then Mormons deserve mockery. The magic underwear jokes don't arise ex nihilo - they arise because Mitt Romney does wear underwear that he thinks wards off evil ghosts.
posted by kafziel at 10:46 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


In many media depictions, religious people are xenophobic and intolerant of the "other."

Also in, you know, reality. Not all religious people, but many. Including Mormans - I see Prop 8 has already been cited above.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Whelk : I have a vague sense of Honest Hearts as a counterpoint to Dead Money. Not just in terms of environment and play-style, but also thematically. Dead Money is all about what happens when you can't let go of your obsessions, Honest Hearts mostly features people who have been forced to, one way or the other, and what having to start again did to them.

I'll have to think about this. Sinclair's story and the Survivalist's story don't exactly parallel, but I feel like there's a link there both in the way they're used in the larger narriative of the game and in the stories themselves. Joshua and Elijah as well; their stories line up together too.

I need to play this game again but have too much else to do right now.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bigotry in the name of religion is not a "lazy cliche". It's a real thing that hurts people, and Mormons hurt a lot of people with prop 8.

Yes, but it's one thing to reject wholeheartedly the bigotry Mormonism endorses, and another thing to refuse to portray Mormons as complex, multifaceted individuals because you're convinced that idiocy is the only possible thing that could lead to somebody's becoming a bigot and possessing a whole bunch of wrongheaded thoughts.

If you don't want to go to the bother of understanding problematic people and problematic faiths, hey, it's not your place, but you should also not write such characters into the stories you tell. Plenty of writers use religious faith as a blanket reason to portray people as intolerant, evil people, and that's just not how your average religious person acts – even the ones who say and do the most grotesque things are doing so because the headspace they come from is profoundly different from the one we're used to. Writers who aren't willing to understand this are resorting to lazy cliches, and it's okay for a Mormon to call them out for that shit, or to praise Fallout for doing a better job than most. God knows video game writers are the absolute dregs of the world.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [31 favorites]


Well put, Rory.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:55 PM on March 6, 2013


God knows video game writers are the absolute dregs of the world.

Ouch.
posted by jaduncan at 10:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


even the ones who say and do the most grotesque things are doing so because the headspace they come from is profoundly different from the one we're used to.

You can understand them. I'm so glad that there are others who will stop them.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:02 PM on March 6, 2013


Actually, thinking about it, I can see that the shallow portrayal of religion in gaming could be actually a real issue for religious gamers.

For example, the villians in Halo (the Covenant) are basically religious zealots worshiping a false god.

Alternatively, in Dishonoured, there's a religious element but it's essentially just an excuse to have magic in the game [look, a rune/powerup!], and isn't really explored narratively in any way.

Offhand, I actually can't think of any games that deal with religion in a nuanced fashion, although I'm sure that someone with better knowledge can prove me wrong.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:04 PM on March 6, 2013


He's sort of missed the point that Fallout never says much of anything about Mormonism per se, but rather appropriates all these things from it for verisimilitude, and to explore whatever theme it feels like exploring. Like, he's just so shocked that the writers of video games are even capable of that, he has write an article about it that will almost entirely be read by people who already aware of it.
posted by Nomiconic at 11:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


you're convinced that idiocy is the only possible thing that could lead to somebody's becoming a bigot and possessing a whole bunch of wrongheaded thoughts.
Ironically, the most bigoted people I have known are also among the most intelligent people I have known. Unfortunately, they choose to use their intelligence to make up stories about the people they hate, spreading that hate around.

Interestingly enough, the vast family of Abrahamic religions is full of these kinds of stories! That certainly doesn't make everyone who follows an Abrahamic religion a hatemonger, but it does provide a useful set of templates for hateful stories.

I'm not sure religion is the problem or even Abrahmic religions. For many people, religion can be a powerful force for good in their lives. The real problem is the creation and telling of stories that are full of hate. It isn't an easy problem because there are plenty of evil situations in the world that can't be related without pointing out their inherent hate. The tricky thing is building stories that identify and comment on hate without perpetuating it.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Plenty of writers use religious faith as a blanket reason to portray people as intolerant, evil people, and that's just not how your average religious person acts – even the ones who say and do the most grotesque things are doing so because the headspace they come from is profoundly different from the one we're used to.

Yeah, exactly. I sometimes find myself in weird, convoluted internet arguments on the side of "just writing x off as a loony cult isn't very useful", where x is often Mormonism.

Is Mormonism a loony cult? Well, on the evidence I've seen, yes, of course it is. It's probably a bunch of different ones. It's also a culture with a history and a bunch of communities with a whole bunch of people in them. I get the same vibe from conversations where people let me know that there are no meaningful or interesting distinctions to be drawn between religious traditions and experiences, because, say, Scientology and this or that portion of Christianity are "equally false", as if everything we mean by those words can be reduced to some sort of straightforward proposition in Boolean logic and then dismissed. (You get this, of course, from religious folks with reference to things outside their affiliations as much as from the nonreligious.)

You can understand them. I'm so glad that there are others who will stop them.

I'm less than impressed with the idea that this is a dichotomy, but I think this is where I check out of this thread. Anyway, I read the article, but I don't know shit about Fallout.
posted by brennen at 11:10 PM on March 6, 2013


Oh, so pop culture mocks your faith? Big deal. Yeah, I'm an intolerant jerk, but I worked for several years "among the Mormons" overseas. I lived with LDS folks, worked with them, hung out with them, all that stuff, and they're very nice, but if you are a member of a religion that is relentlessly focused on proselytizing (I've had missionaries come up to my door with their little name badges and white shirts and bike helmets who, upon being turned away nicely by me, have the gall to ask me if I know of anyone who I think they should visit), well, then, you should get used to people mocking your faith.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sure, it's "okay" to call them out, just don't expect me to sympathize with them. Anyway, I think you missed the point. Religious bigotry is a major cause of widespread human suffering and has been for centuries. Is that a "lazy cliche" perpetuated by video game writers?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, probably the most popular Broadway musical in recent history is all about parodying them, and Mitt Romney caused a lot of magic underwear jokes. I'd say they're pretty heavily mocked.

Meh. I own the soundtrack and while I never got a chance to see it on broadway I've read lots of reviews. It's really not that bad. In fact it's pretty accurate, about Mormons anyway. I know some folks objected to the way the show portrays Ugandans, but not very many actual for-reals Mormons who saw the show had major problems with the way it portrayed them or the religion.

As for Mitt Romney, I followed the election pretty closely and I don't recall "a lot of magic underwear jokes." Maybe a few, which is to be expected. We do actually wear sacred undergarments. I may not joke about them but I really don't think it's so mocking and horrible that other people find it peculiar and humorous.

American Mormon culture has a persecution complex. Early Mormons endured some pretty dire circumstances in the church's formative years. Some of that we brought on ourselves, some of it was the result of misunderstanding and general human awfulness. And even though that's pretty much all ancient history, those stories of persecution are threaded into nearly every aspect of Mormonism. Speaking from personal experience, I think a lot Mormons have a tendency to seek out persecution so we can correct it.

It's very difficult for some Mormons to even talk about their faith in a critical way amongst each other. For an outsider to do it (like a Hollywood film or a broadway show) is automatically viewed with suspicion. The drive to always be faith promoting and positive is incredibly strong. I suspect this is true of many religions. It's difficult to separate criticism from mean-spiritedness and negativity, but I think it's important to point out that they are different things.

I wonder if Skip Cameron is a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I know a LOT of Mormons how love that show (myself included), which is a bit hypocritical if we then go on and on about negative or mocking portrayals of Mormonism in the media.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


For all the mockery mormons are subjected to, I don't think I've ever seen one try to address or even acknowledge the criticisms of the bedrock of their religion. "uh.. so you actually believe this obviously made up story from a known con man?" is always met with indignation, even when asked without malice.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


American Mormon culture has a persecution complex.

I'd say that's true of American Christian culture in general.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 PM on March 6, 2013 [20 favorites]


Oh goodie, it only took a few replies for someone to call out Mormonism as a "made up" religion. As though all the other religions were somehow NOT made up too.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:42 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


To be fair, qxntpqbbbqxl, a loaded question asked without malice is still a loaded question.

I'd be happy to answer your question in a memail if you really want to know. I promise to not get huffy or indignant.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh goodie, it only took a few replies for someone to call out Mormonism as a "made up" religion. As though all the other religions were somehow NOT made up too.

It's recent enough, though, that we know exactly who made it up and how. Not to disrespect any Mormons personally, but honestly I think the only reason it's considered a legitimate religion is because it's been around long enough. If it had started in the 1940s instead of the 1840s, it would be Scientology. There's certainly a comparable amount of wackiness (Planet Kolob, translating golden plates from a magic hat, etc.)
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


For all the mockery mormons are subjected to, I don't think I've ever seen one try to address or even acknowledge the criticisms of the bedrock of their religion.

How long have you been on MetaFilter? There are several Mormons who post here frequently who are very willing to spend their time answering such questions, both w.r.t. their personal beliefs and their assessment of Mormons in general.

On preview: Oh, hi, Doleful Creature.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Moving on from Prop 8? They are still dealing with profound racism post-78.
"This is a good time to remind ourselves that most Mormons are still in denial about the ban, unwilling to talk in Church settings about it, and that some Mormons still believe that Blacks were cursed by descent from Cain through Ham. Even more believe that Blacks, as well as other non-white people, come color-coded into the world, their lineage and even their class a direct indication of failures in a previous life.... I check occasionally in classes at BYU and find that still, twenty years after the revelation, a majority of bright, well-educated Mormon students say they believe that Blacks are descendants of Cain and Ham and thereby cursed and that skin color is an indication of righteousness in the pre-mortal life. They tell me these ideas came from their parents or Seminary and Sunday School teachers, and they have never questioned them. They seem largely untroubled by the implicit contradiction to basic gospel teachings."

-- England, Eugene (June 1998). Sunstone: 54–58

"Even though the priesthood ban was repealed in 1978, the discourse that constructs what blackness means is still very much intact today. Under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball, the First Presidency and the Twelve removed the policy that denied black people the priesthood but did very little to disrupt the multiple discourses that had fostered the policy in the first place. Hence there are Church members today who continue to summon and teach at every level of Church education the racial discourse that black people are descendants of Cain, that they merited lesser earthly privilege because they were "fence-sitters" in the War in Heaven, and that, science and climatic factors aside, there is a link between skin color and righteousness"

-- Smith, Darron (March 2003). "The Persistence of Racialized Discourse in Mormonism". Sunstone.
posted by jaduncan at 11:56 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Maybe we can stick a little more to the thread topic? It's not like we haven't had the whole criticize/deconstruct-the-Mormon-faith in hundreds of other posts, and this post has a specific, potentially more interesting point of view.]
posted by taz at 11:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


>You can understand them. I'm so glad that there are others who will stop them.

I'm less than impressed with the idea that this is a dichotomy.


As would I. I'm glad I didn't say they were. But it's understandable that someone might interpret it that way. So to clarify: for me, the second part is mandatory, the first is optional. And the only reason why I bothered to say so is that in other places on MetaFilter I've seen people complain about actions taken to stop bad things before they are completely understood. (I'm not saying that RM feels this way, as his comment only addressed uses in artistic creations.)

Maybe I've just been over-exposed to concern trolling.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:03 AM on March 7, 2013


His other example, Big Love, doesn't strike as particularly disrespectful either. It's not particularly favorable to the LDS church as an institution, and focuses a lot on the failings of Mormon groups far worse than LDS, but the faith of the characters is taken seriously. I mean, a number of the plotlines in the show are based around doctrinal issues and the character's efforts to reconcile disagreements over them or seeking to better live by them. You can't do that and make it have any weight without taking it seriously as a religion, even if the characters didn't have faith in the mormon institutions that they dealt with for the most part.

I get that disrespect to the LDS church feels like disrespect to Momonism to a lot of it's members. Catholics feel the same away about their church, a lot of the time. But when that's your main charge, you're not really looking for nuanced characters handled respectfully; you're ignoring the nuance that is there. With a lot of Mormon critics of Big Love I do feel like that's a lot of it, or they're unhappy about portrayals of non-LDS Mormons generally.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:11 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Q: How many Mormons does it take to play Fallout: New Vegas?


A: 31. One to play the game and thirty to bring refreshments.
posted by loquacious at 12:30 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bigotry in the name of religion is not a "lazy cliche". It's a real thing that hurts people, and Mormons hurt a lot of people with prop 8.

I haven't played Honest Hearts yet (so I'm skipping the article) but based on playing a gay character in New Vegas (with the Comfirmed Bachelor perk) and meeting Arcade Gannon I'd like to think the writers are not bigoted in the slightest. NV is probably one of the few games with writing that stands up easily to other mediums. I'm thinking back on Dead Money now and still getting chills.
Plus it lets me carry out my beliefs and ally with both transhumanists and literal rock and roll worshippers.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:46 AM on March 7, 2013


Offhand, I actually can't think of any games that deal with religion in a nuanced fashion, although I'm sure that someone with better knowledge can prove me wrong.

A lot of games make a serious attempt to model the political impact of religion. Beliefs modify the loyalty of provinces, monasteries boost research, fanatical units are less likely to break in combat, etc. You couldn't have a halfway plausible game in a medieval setting without doing something like that. What's interesting is that many games do this without any concern whatsoever about what believers actually believe. We see this most clearly in a game like Civilizations, where the worlds various religions are mechanically identical to one another.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:47 AM on March 7, 2013


Yeah, exactly. I sometimes find myself in weird, convoluted internet arguments on the side of "just writing x off as a loony cult isn't very useful", where x is often Mormonism.

There are weirder cults in the Wasteland. I wish Fallout 3 had expanded on the group who worship the Atom Bomb. I still can't decide how I feel about NV's version of the Brotherhood of Steel, and somehow a group of slaveowning, rapist Romans almost makes sense. Society has crumbled. You need to cling to SOMETHING to keep on going or crate your own meaning from the dust.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:51 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


You need to cling to SOMETHING to keep on going or crate your own meaning from the dust.

This in and of itself is THE theme of New Vegas.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:06 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am not at all surprised that Obsidian took a nuanced and non-condemnatory view of any cultural group featured in one of their games. That said:
Graham had to learn a new language in order to preach to the Arizona tribals and, like most real-life Mormon missionaries, was able to do so. I myself served a Spanish-speaking mission to the Mojave wastelands of San Bernardino county, California.
Woah.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:44 AM on March 7, 2013


I think that was a joke.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:49 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd imagine so - I'd certainly hope it was. I just think you're on slightly tricky ground if you make a joke comparison between the Spanish-speaking inhabitants of the San Bernadino Valley and the raiders and cannibals of the Mojave Wasteland in the middle of your plea for greater acceptance. It's not bad, it's just a little thoughtless.

(As an aside, how the heck do you swing a peach of a Mission like that? SoCal? Really?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:02 AM on March 7, 2013


I think that was a joke.

I wouldn't be so sure. I've heard returned missionaries talk in tone deaf terms just like that about their missions more than a few times. In my direct experience there's a lot of screwy colonialism going on and hushed, understated "tut-tutting" or whatever about going to "poor places" and "living with the natives with humility" and doing "good works" like - mainly - building churches and baptising people.

I remember being silently furious when I was a kid still being forced to go to church and hearing about these stories in church in one of the richest areas of the USA, like "We built them such a beautiful church! So many people love us and come to us for food/clean water/playing basketball!" even while Mormons are on record for actually giving the least per raised dollar to charity.

Of course they come to you for water. You drilled the deepest well in town in a place where they don't have running water and they usually have to buy it by the gallon at the local purification and filtering plant.


And even if it is a joke, it's not a very good one. It's pretty racist on any reading or interpretation. It's incredibly tone deaf and just the sort of clueless, tone deaf foot-tasting that used to drive me nuts about the Mormons.

(As an aside, how the heck do you swing a peach of a Mission like that? SoCal? Really?)

Wait, have you been to San Bernardino? It's not Disneyland. It's basically just a couple of missed paychecks and a nuclear airburst away from being the Thunderdome. The place is rough, and I'm not just talking about the terrain or weather. The only reason the place exists is because fossil fuels are still cheap enough and somehow people can afford giant trucks and long commutes.
posted by loquacious at 3:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, he said San Bernadino County, loquacious, not San Bernadino the city. But I was thinking more in terms of travel time. I imagine missionary work as involving, pretty much ipso facto being sent somewhere, and by implication somewhere distant - like, Mitt Romney going to Paris (a sweeter deal than San Bernardino, almost certainly) or Africa. A mission to somewhere a couple of hours on an internal flight to Ontario from the writer's home in Salt Lake City just seems kind of ... local, geographically if not culturally.

(OTOH, if you grew in Salt Lake City, and you are doing your missionary work in the actual city of San Bernardino, that is going to be a culture shock. Which does bring us back to the "Mojave Wasteland" thing...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:52 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was speaking of the entire county as well. It has pockets and gems mainly along the western edge, but the county as a whole (all twenty gazillion acres of it) is pretty rough and messed up, and if he's talking about the Mojave it's not likely he was having a plush time up in the Sierra resort communities of Big Bear or Arrowhead, or points farther west where it's more civilized.

And I like the Mojave that the county straddles. It's just not a very good place for a lot of people to be living a sprawling, traditionally suburban lifestyle.

Anyway, I probably shouldn't be here derailing the thread because of some recent bitter experiences trying to approach the LDS/Mormon church for support and charity last fall when I was at the end of my critical rope again and my mom begged me to ask my local ward for help. They dropped me like a sack of garbage and basically left me for dead when I told the I wasn't ever going to be a missionary opportunity and when I came out as transgender. All I got was a "Aww, that sucks. You're very brave. Well, see you around!"

By contrast I've been working with a local Catholic NGO and they actually specifically ask about (and accept) your orientation or identity to serve people better, and not once have they tried to push any religious material or viewpoints on me or ask me to attend services. And that's the basically first thing the Mormons did.

Argh, ranting. Leaving thread.
posted by loquacious at 4:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


There's Mormon history in San Bernadino, going back to its settlement, and linked to the Mormon Battalion and Mormon Trail. LDS settlers would eventually purchase Rancho San Bernadino from the Lugo family, and put it to agricultural use. It wouldn't surprise me if the LDS maintained a missionary presence in the outlying areas as a tribute to that past.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:52 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of most video game writing in that someone spends way too many words only to say something barely worth a sentence.
posted by mean cheez at 6:20 AM on March 7, 2013


Speaking from personal experience, I think a lot Mormons have a tendency to seek out persecution so we can correct it.

I think the correct word is "create", not "seek". For example, the funding of anti-equality movements does not correct persecution, it creates and amplifies it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


American Mormon culture has a persecution complex.

I'd say that's true of American Christian culture in general.


Fixed.

Yeah, some kinds of Christianity have their "if you're not being persecuted you're not doing it right" mentality.

On the other hand, reading some atheists' rants, and even more so, pagans who think every place in the US is "the buckle of the Bible Belt" and they'll be coming to burn them at the stake any day now, I don't think Christians really have a monopoly on paranoia and persecution complex.
posted by Foosnark at 6:35 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Getting back to the game....

I have a vague sense of Honest Hearts as a counterpoint to Dead Money. Not just in terms of environment and play-style, but also thematically. Dead Money is all about what happens when you can't let go of your obsessions, Honest Hearts mostly features people who have been forced to, one way or the other, and what having to start again did to them.

I'll have to think about this. Sinclair's story and the Survivalist's story don't exactly parallel, but I feel like there's a link there both in the way they're used in the larger narriative of the game and in the stories themselves. Joshua and Elijah as well; their stories line up together too.


That's an interesting parallel I hadn't considered, the interconnected nature of the add-ons is one of my favorite things about the game and finding new points of interaction, in narrative or thematically, is always fun. It helped the background feeling I always get in NV that while I'm important cause I'm the player character, there's a whole bunch of STUFF going on that doesn't effect me or I'm coming in on the 3rd act to. You could play the entire game and not be aware of the epic struggle of Father Elijah and the BoS and that's okay, maybe it doesn't concern you.

Yeah I kinda wish the article went deeper into HH, which is really steeped in early Mormon/Native interaction stories (and cause mentioning the Followers in the Old Mormon Fort really is reaching, it's an actual Vegas location and the kind of place they would be holed up in). Apparently there is much scripture quoting that went over my head.

And yes it is a sad state on the writing in games that just not making a horrible mess out of religion or religious themes is praiseworthy but here we are.

Interesting that the article dipped into the cut content to dig out the cut storyline with Driver Nephi - in the game you have to kill the three Fiends and return their heads (unmangled, so no headshotting or bombs!) for a bounty but in the dev notes and cut content they indicate you could solve it peacefully and end up having conversations with them, which seems more in keeping with the game's overall tone of "going in and shooting first is a bad idea and you really should try to get to know people first."

Which is a shame, for as ambitious as NV is, the cut content is even bigger: Legion companions, East Of The Colorado locations, etc. Story wise the game's biggest flaw is making Caesar an all around one-dimensional villain, you really have to dig to get any information or motivation out of him and while the Joshua storyline in HH fixes this a bit - It's mostly wallpapering over a bigger problem and the Legion is underdeveloped cause a majority of their planned content was cut. Although this does lead to some fun truncated conversations - Caesar's firm belief that the NCR will devalue their currency and the people will vote themselves into laxity and idle pleasure is so taken from actual right-wing rants that I was kind of agog.
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could play the entire game and not be aware of the epic struggle of Father Elijah and the BoS and that's okay, maybe it doesn't concern you.

Speaking of which, I wonder what people who came to the series in FO3 or NV think of the BoS. In the original they seem like the best-placed group to deal with the nuclear aftermath, but in FO2 their influence is greatly reduced in favor of NCR (in Tactics they end up pacifying the wastes, but that's non-canonical probably). Sometimes they are bigots and sometimes they aren't. I mostly view their appearances as variations on a theme: varying degrees of guns, of isolation and of external threats.
posted by ersatz at 9:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


justsomebodythatyouyousedtoknow: What's interesting is that many games do this without any concern whatsoever about what believers actually believe. We see this most clearly in a game like Civilizations, where the worlds various religions are mechanically identical to one another.

Hi. I've been thinking way too hard lately about the relationship between game mechanics and the aesthetic/cultural effects of games. Brace for severe beanplating1.

So the only recent-ish Civilization game I know well is Civilization 4, but in that one the statement above, about all religions being the same within the game, is absolutely, positively not true. Yes, yes, I know: in the in-game documentation it says that all the religions are mechanically identical. The in-game documentation is wrong: the different religions actually have significantly different effects on gameplay. It's worth digging up the exact quote from the manual2:
We know that people have extremely strong opinions about religions – in fact, many a war has arisen when these beliefs collide. We at Firaxis have no desire to offend anyone. However, given the importance that religions have had in human development, we didn’t want to just leave them out of the game altogether; instead we have tried to handle them in as respectful, fair and even-handed manner as possible. (All religions in the game have the same effects, the only difference being their technological requirements.)
In terms of actual gameplay, every word outside of the parentheses is total bunk. The only thing that this paragraph actually says, as far as game mechanics are concerned, is "religions have different effects in the game because they have different technological requirements."

Having a state religion allows you certain bonuses, and those bonuses are (in an abstract sense) indeed the same from religion to religion. So, having Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam as your state religion gets you the same bonuses (cultural bonuses in each city that has that religion, faster production of buildings in cities with that religion if your civilization is using organized religion, and so forth), but in practice, because of the different technological requirements, they have totally different concrete effects.

For example: There are two main sources of technology in Civilization 4.3 The most obvious one is from your cities directly: every turn each city produces a bit of science, with (generally speaking) bigger cities with fancier buildings like libraries and universities and religious monasteries making more science per capita. The other major way of getting technological advancements is "great people" — every so often (based on what buildings you have and what specialists you have) your city pops out a Great Prophet, a Great Scientist, a Great Engineer or whatever (so if you've got a lot of engineer specialists, you're more likely to pop out a Great Engineer, if you have a lot of priest specialists you get Great Prophets every so often, and so forth). These "Great People" can be spent to auto-discover a technology in their domain of practice.

The prerequisite technology for founding Christianity in the game is "Theology" — if your civilization is the first to discover Theology, one of your cities becomes the Christian holy city and you get a missionary to start spreading it through your empire / other empires. Theology is pretty expensive to research the regular way, but because of subtle quirks in how the tech tree is set up, you can get to it much, much faster by making and using up a Great Prophet. In practice, this means that at the higher difficulty levels, Christianity is always discovered by a messiah, and moreover, by the sort of civilization that tends to manufacture messiahs.

Hinduism, on the other hand, requires Polytheism, a cheaper technology that comes much earlier. In fact, if your civilization starts with Mysticism, you can research Hinduism right off the bat. In practice, this means that at the higher difficulty levels, you can only plausibly found Hinduism if your civilization is born mystical.

I don't assert that the developers are necessarily making political claims by the way they set up these emergent properties, because they're not necessarily coherent when seen as metaphorical representations of actual historical events — most jarringly, Confucianism will generally be discovered by the civilization that builds the Oracle of Delphi. Nevertheless, because of the different ways you get to each religion, and because of the intense pressure to be efficient imposed by your competition with the other civilizations, a civilization that discovers Christianity is going to be fundamentally different from a civilization that discovers Confucianism or Taoism. This is because getting to each of those different religions requires configuring your civilization in a different way (for example, setting up your civilization to manufacture Great Prophets instead of gunning for the Oracle wonder).

Plus, the sheer fact that different religions come at different stages in the game means that the game encourages you to play each religion differently. For example: no matter what your religion is, you're incentivized in a number of different ways to spread it throughout the world, but in practice, the incentives work subtly differently for each religion. Okay, so what are the incentives? Hindu or Muslim, you want to spread your religion far and wide — but if you're Hindu, you don't have to work at it that hard. Hinduism comes while the world is empty of religion, and therefore you can spread it pretty much effortlessly. You don't have to even momentarily reconfigure your civilization around churning out missionaries. Islam, though, comes much, much later than the other religions, when most cities are already filled up with them and when every civilization already has a state religion. If you want the world to become Islamic, you have to work at it. Hard. It's generally not worth it; if you try, someone else might come by and beat your brains in while you're busy building missionaries instead of military units.

As such, I tend not to bother with Islam; if I discover it, I spread it around a bit in my empire but never make it my state religion. But that's probably because I'm a total peacenik. I find the military part of the game boring (lots of tedious futzing around with moving units across the map), and prefer trying to win with science or culture (which is all about building up cities, which I enjoy). If I discover Islam and convert to it, I run the risk of pissing off the rest of the world, and being plunged back into the game I don't like, where I have to build a ton of catapults and war elephants or whatever and slowly kill off everyone who wants to kill me. So I don't do it. Even if it's the only religion I've discovered, I tend to forego the advantages of holding the holy city of my state religion and just use someone else's religion instead.

I suspect (and I'm cutting serious corners here, because I literally have never played a thoroughgoingly warlike game), I suspect that if I enjoyed the military part of the game more, and thought of the game's narrative as being one of conquest rather than discovery, I'd be much, much more likely to use Islam. Who cares if you piss off the world, if they're already all angry at you for pillaging their cities? Might as well top it off by becoming Muslim, right?

This is an emergent property of the game rules, rather than something written into it. And it requires some deep, deep interrogation of the play mechanics to find — but this is an interrogation the game encourages you to do, because, on the higher difficultly levels, if you're not thinking very, very hard about what you're doing, you're dead. These emergent properties may be accidental (like the "build the Oracle, get Confucianism" effect seems accidental). But nevertheless, they're there.

In short: Civilization 4 models different religions as different based on their concrete contexts, without regard for the abstract theological content of the religions (which is left out of the game entirely).

Here's where I swerve back to the topic of conversation: what Internet people typically want to know from Mormons is how one deals cognitively with the abstract metaphysics of Mormonism (which, admittedly, can seem silly and sci-fi-ish), while the question that Mormons prefer to answer is one about the concrete effects of growing up in / participating a specific, concrete social formation called "Mormonism," one with a concrete worldly history, associated with a set of concrete practices. I think we can make a case for the important thing about a religion being not the metaphysics4, but the practices and history of that religion — that maybe the strategy that Civilization 4 uses to differentiate religions is actually really smart, even though the content of the statements the game makes are gibberish.5 Internet people asking about Kolob are missing the point of religion altogether, and Mormons who prefer to talk about Mormon life instead of Mormon metaphysics kinda, well, understand religion in a way the people of r/atheism (or whatever) don't.6


[1]: Let me say in advance that I am glossing over a ton of details here, and serious civ players will find that I'm cutting a lot of corners. Sorry. It would take way too long to do otherwise.
[2]: I had to dig this up from an online reference rather than the in-game Civilopedia, because in the interest of actually finishing my degree I had to:
  1. delete all the Civilization games from my computer
  2. delete Steam, and
  3. block the ports that Steam uses to download games, with the only way to unblock it being to spend like a half hour resetting my router.
Addictive personality, I has it.
[3]: Okay, you can also trade for technology, but I don't think that changes the argument very much. You can't trade for a religion, not exactly, because the religion always goes to the first civilization to discover the prerequisite technology. Moreover, religions other than Islam and Taoism tend to come before you get Alphabet, the technology that allows for technology trading.
[4]: And all metaphysics seem ridiculous, because devising a metaphysics means acknowledging how fundamentally ridiculous the human condition is.
[5]: And boy howdy please don't attribute my reading of religions in context in Civilization 4 as indicative of my beliefs about religions in the world. I do not in any way think that Islam is warlike, that Christianity is elitist, or that Confucianism is Oracular.
[6]: For whatever it's worth, I think the Mormon missionary system is total garbage — it involves sending out a bunch of kids who probably would rather like to have a conversation about what it means to be a Mormon, and then shoving them into social situations where any sane person would respond "wait, aren't you those Kolob loons? I've got better things to do with my time than listen to you bye." This is because understanding another person's lived experience takes time and empathy, and the sorts of encounters missionaries are taught to arrange ensure that they're talking to people without any inclination or incentive to spare that time or empathy. The concrete experience of being in a religion is something that you can only spread carefully, thoughtfully, and slowly, with people who have a reason to see you as a person and the time to engage with that person. Friends or potential friends, basically. And you can't build that sort of relationship by panhandling or doorknocking.

Each time the prearranged failure to communicate the experience of being Mormon happens, I have to figure that the Mormon missionary sees it as a non-Mormon questioning the veracity of their total experience, rather than their metaphysics, which, as I see it, serves to isolate the missionary from the broader community.

I pass in respectful silence over the question of whether this is a feature or a bug.

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


I had an idea for Fallout: Utah with Mormons that preceded Fallout: NV by about 5 years or so. Except my idea was more conventional: Mormons were prepared for the post-apocalypse and afterwards created a theocratic state called "New Deseret". Because of their excessive preparation for the end times, they were well established in the Wasteland, and were attempting to rid of slavery from their lands. Their long range mission was to see if they could send an expedition to Missouri, otherwise considered the Garden of Eden in the Book of Mormon.

Salt Lake City was destroyed, and the only inhabitants were these weird "gill men" that looked like the monster from "Creature from the Black Lagoon" that lurked around the Great Salt Marsh. I wanted to make it that the gill men were not actually mutants, but actual vault dwellers with scuba gear on. The only exit from their vault was underwater, so the weird sightings were just vault dwellers exploring the surface. The PC would discover their secret if they pursued this mystery.

Dugway Proving Grounds, is a real life chemical and biological testing facility in Utah. So, when the bombs hit, the soldiers were exposed to radiation and all the nasty stuff they were testing. Of course, they all turned into ghouls. Their commander became nuts and believed they were still defending the US from invasion, so it's basically a base full of ghouls in power armor and armed to the teeth that the PC could figure out how to get in and get some good loot. Oh yeah, I'm not sure what the status of ghouls are these days in Fallout. I remember reading at one point that only FEV causes it, and I made all this before that, so that's why it might not fit.

Then there was also a town where there was a majority of Chinese people. So, the reason why they're in Utah was they were political prisoners interned during the war with China, similar to Japanese internment during WWII. The last order of the camp was to terminate the prisoners (the soldiers didn't know the bombs fell, because they were in the middle of nowhere). Not all the soldiers agreed with the order, but they didn't have the numbers or the necessary weapons to succeed in a "putsch" or a rebellion. So they fabricated a false order to transfer like a hundred prisoners to another camp, because they were fitted with better termination and disposal facilities. It was a bullshit reason, but it got them transports that got out of the camp and they kept driving until they ran out of gas in Utah. There they set up a small town, but there was always the fear of the US coming after them, so the town is very xenophobic, particularly to anyone that looks like a military type (like Brotherhood of Steel).

That's what I remember, and my papers are somewhere in my pile...
posted by FJT at 12:19 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mitt Romney does wear underwear that he thinks wards off evil ghosts

Yeah, did he tell you that? In fact, do you have firsthand information from any garment-wearing Mormons about what they do and don't think it accomplishes?
posted by eritain at 12:27 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


FJT, I've been working on an extensive post-apocalyptic Mormon tale for quite some time. There are wealth of ideas to be mined from that vein.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:37 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Definitely Doleful Creature. I remember stumbling upon Porter Rockwell, the "Destroying Angel of Mormondom". He belonged to the Danites, which was like some secret Mormon vigilante group.

My first thought was "that guy and that group would fit RIGHT in Fallout".

Yeah, I was really into Fallout as a teen, early 20s.
posted by FJT at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are Chinese internment camps in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but I think they're confined to DLC. It's implied or outright stated that the Americans experimented on them in horrible ways.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:24 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Little Yangetze at Big Mountain is where they stored the chinese test subjects and yeah, pretty much full on horrible human experimentation. ( Granted everything in Big Mountain is horrible, it's the goofy b-movie tone and dark comdey that keeps that add on from being the most terrifying cause dear fucking gods the Think Tank is a bunch of amoral bastards).
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Interesting, I did not know that. I lost interest after Fallout: Tactics and pretty much wrote off Fallout after Fallout: BOS.

And with some wiki-ing, I found they put gill-men in the game, but they're not guys in suits they're actual gill-men.

Okay, I guess I'm officially Hipster Fallout Guy. Or Bethesda has been tapping my emails for nearly a decade.
posted by FJT at 1:47 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's implied or outright stated that the Americans experimented on them in horrible ways.

Ooh, I just thought of something. Were there shades of Unit 731, or were the developers not aware of that particular sensitive Chinese issue?
posted by FJT at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it was more the Dear God The US Govt Was Creepy Right Before The War.

They did testing on American towns to, and the Big Mountain ( which is a cross between Area 51 and ...Venture Industries) is a handy excuse for any assorted weirdness you find in the wastes.
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, since we're on the topic of Fallout, should I play the new ones?

Now that I'm thinking about it again, one of the reasons I got turned off the new Fallouts was that they seemed to just retread the old Fallouts. I mean, the Vaults, okay, I can see that since they're a nationwide sheltering system (that was actually a experimentation). But, I just couldn't believe that the Brotherhood of Steel would be both in LA and DC. I mean, even Fallout 1 admitted that before the Brotherhood's dominance, there were other post-War military groups like the Union of Atomic Workers. And it really turned me off the series to make every game have the Brotherhood involved. I could see similar military groups developing throughout the Wasteland, but to have all of them be offshoots of the BoS? Meh.
posted by FJT at 2:38 PM on March 7, 2013


Yes because New Vegas made me emotionally co-dependent on it and the Brotherhood's role is really, really reduced ( they're basically stuck in constant quasi civil war with the other BoS factions and don't talk to each other and the Vegas branch has become super paranoid and xenophobic, partly due to the actions of its insane and obsessed former Elder, which if you decide to pursue it, becomes A Thing in a companion quest and ties into the add-ons, but the Brotherhood is depicted as being barely hanging on). It really feels like the logical end of the Fallout universe, cause everything has gotten so comparatively civilized. It's post post apocalyptic, and now were just arguing over the last bits of frontier left, so all the cowboy/western tropes really feel like they fit. The Vaults are played down, the new factions are played up, and more than almost any other RPG I can think of in recent memory - it feels lived in. Like I can imagine all the communities going off and doing their own thing even if I wasn't there and there are all these little silent tableaux and short stories. It's much more in the tone of the older Fallout games cause 3 was a bit uuuuh, ghoulish and humorless , everyone was a cannibal. New Vegas has a sniper sitting in the mouth of a huge novelty T-Rex and Wayne Newton on the radio.
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Completely agree with The Whelk's mini-review. New Vegas is a really good Fallout game. For a long time Fallout 2 was my favorite game of any genre and I must have played it over a dozen times all the way to completion. I tried Fallout 3 but ultimately it just fell flat for me.

New Vegas, on the other hand, felt very close in spirit to what I loved about Fallout 2 and in fact just reading this thread is really making me want to re-install it and lose another 50 hours. But I have projects to do so I won't.

BTW: My absolute favorite side-quest in New Vegas is the vault with all the overgrown vegetation. It was like a little mini-survival horror game in the middle of my post-apocalyptic RPG! So cool.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:10 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doleful, have you checked out the Dead Money add-on? It's pretty much survival horror all the way, designed to recreate the desperate " only one stimpak left" feeling of the older games.

Plus it has the option for a truly great O. Henry ironic punishment ending if you play your cards right.
posted by The Whelk at 3:21 PM on March 7, 2013


I also may have demanded a detour to Goodsprings the last time I was in Nevada cause most of the locations in the game are based on real Nevada spots and LOOK LOOK ITS JUST LIKE IN THE GAME AHHHHHH.

Which is also why I went here to see Vicky & Vance's Bonnie & Clyde's fake death car.
posted by The Whelk at 3:28 PM on March 7, 2013


You Can't Tip a Buick, but I'd like to after that comment. You may want to steer clear of Crusader Kings 2.

Interesting, I did not know that. I lost interest after Fallout: Tactics and pretty much wrote off Fallout after Fallout: BOS.

I'm certain that there is no such software as this 'Fallout: BOS'. Probably a bad dream caused by excess consumption of Nuka Cola. Fallout: POS

Yeah, I'd also recommend giving NV a try. If you didn't like the retreading aspects of FO, FO3 might not be for you because apart from the DC locales, there are a lot of commonalities with the former games. The soundtrack is great though and it has a quite meaty vault. OTOH New Vegas is more soulful, focuses more on characters, and that Big Mountain DLC is a hilarious Bad 50s Sci Fi Film pastiche and might be the best DLC I've ever played. Mutants and the Enclave are demoted from major antagonists, so it should feel fresher for you (FO3 has a lot more of both). Besides, as CiS alluded to, there is a gang of Elvis impersonators, and it's hard to turn down Elvis asking for help with his hound dog.
posted by ersatz at 3:37 PM on March 7, 2013


Old Word Blues basically has Doctor Venture in it, just saying.

( IT'S A WALKING EYE)
posted by The Whelk at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2013


I'd skip Fallout 3 because Fallout 3 is basically Bethesda not really understanding how to build a world and instead building a bunch of barely connected locations and doing a bunch of things because it sounds cool. New Vegas, on the other hand, was made in part by people who worked on the original Fallouts and is quite excellent.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:55 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah I didn't love FO3. Well, except for the fact that for most of the game I used the Chinese stealth armour, killed enemies solely via the deathclaw gauntlet and wore the ghoul mask. And picked up the Mister Sandman perk.l

IOW, I was Freddy Krueger. That was awesome.

Still haven't played NV, should get on that.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:18 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also may have demanded a detour to Goodsprings the last time I was in Nevada cause most of the locations in the game are based on real Nevada spots and LOOK LOOK ITS JUST LIKE IN THE GAME AHHHHHH.

I've got a friend who visited all the locations in New Vegas when he went to Las Vegas. I also had a friend who never played New Vegas but had been to Primm and Novac and seen the giant dinosaur and the roller coaster.

I enjoyed Fallout 3, but in retrospect the story was horrible. It's only worth it for the atmosphere and even New Vegas does that better. I'd pick up New Vegas if anyone likes the first two. It's one of the few games with really well-written characters, even if it is buggy as hell.

One of the developers posts on another forum I'm on, and will answer pretty much any question, even random 'which gun should I use?' ones.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:53 PM on March 7, 2013


It may be a distinction in search of a difference, but I think it's just fine to mock an -ism but less fine to mock the people themselves.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:31 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


On yeah Whelk I played blood money. I really liked it but it kind of tedious toward the end...
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:49 PM on March 7, 2013


Yeah I didn't love FO3. Well, except for the fact that for most of the game I used the Chinese stealth armour, killed enemies solely via the deathclaw gauntlet and wore the ghoul mask.

I'm going to guess that mod community shenanigans were involved here. The Chinese Stealth Armor in the stock retail release has an integrated helmet that'd displace the ghoul mask. Not that that is a bad thing, I just like to call it out to remind console players what they miss out on. (PC users don't buy Bethesda games, they buy comprehensive example/tutorial files for the development kits that Bethesda gives out for free.)

And on an unrelated note, it's still ok to mock the -Scientologists- Hubologists in Fallout 2, right?
posted by radwolf76 at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


radwolf76, I didn't have any mods iirc (bought the GOTY edition on steam). I'm pretty sure I don't have a false memory (although it's possible), and a look at wikia seems to imply that it's just a known glitch. Hence.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2013


Huh. I thought Bethesda had fixed that glitch shortly after Operation Anchorage was released. That must have been in the Unofficial Patch instead.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:01 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm replaying cause I'm a massive nerd and it just hit me.

Honest Hearts is the only DLC you can totally end if you kill someone important to the story.
posted by The Whelk at 10:26 PM on March 12, 2013


Yeah, the first time I saw that I blasted him with an Anti-Materiel Rifle loading .50MG Explosive rounds. I have no idea how he didn't die and ruin the DLC.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:16 AM on March 13, 2013


Also I forget how pretty Zion is compared to the rest to the game. I mean that's the point, it's a Eden in the wasteland that the Sorrows are being forced to leave or defend and "protecting their innocence" is a very white-man's-burdey goal there Daniel. I totally do not side with you in this quest! Hell it's name-checked in the quest's NAME. I think this is why Jousha is bent over backwards to be sympathetic otherwise he'd come off as a fanatic (well more so) and you wouldn't question Daniel's more-than-a-bit-questionable goals.

It's not an easy moral question and in a game that tries like the dickens to avoid happy endings, notably not as clear cut.
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on March 13, 2013


Honest Hearts was Josh "ropekid" Sawyer's baby (he passionately loves Zion) and it's a shame he wasn't given more time to work on it. Stupid development cycles.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Best detail: the ambient sounds in Zion where recorded ....from his bicycle trip to Zion National Park.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


how pretty Zion is compared to the rest to the game.

This tends to be true in real life as well. Seriously it's a stunning place. Some people go there and never leave.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:53 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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