For just a few hundred bucks you can get an Asus T100- a PC/tablet hybrid with specs that would have been top of the line a decade ago. Really it’s a perfect internet/typing machine which is why I picked it up. I figured it would help with my writing hobby. No newfangled processors or graphics cards so there was no threat of downloading the newest games to distract me. No diversions- just me and a blank page.
Nope! I’d stumbled into a classic gaming machine and the biggest possible source of distractions. So let’s write about it!
Today on Nostalgia Wednesdays (which may or may not be a running segment depending on if this is a pain in the ass to write) I’ve got that interplay classic Fallout. Yes, the first in that classic series of post-apocalyptic role-playing games. No, it’s not first person and it’s not made by Bethesda. Though I genuinely thought the Elder Scrolls studio nailed the vibe, ya just can’t beat that old isometric view.
Back in the Day…
This is the section where I wax poetic about the “good old days” when I was just a chillen blowing away radscorpions in my dad’s study. Ah Fallout.
Let’s just drink this pic of the pipboy in for a second shall we?
Great. I remember when my older brother came home with a shiny new copy of Fallout when I was like 12. What really struck me was the setting. I think that I had seen the post-apocalyptic thing before but never had I seen it done so well. The song by The Ink Spots juxtaposed with the images of a war gone insane, the intro to the game is just superb.
The story drew me in too. In Fallout’s world, the impending nuclear apocalypse was choreographed, and the more affluent members of society found time to whole up in gigantic underground vaults. They basically became small, self-regulating societies. Your vault’s essential piece of tech, the water chip, is malfunctioning and you’re sent out to get it. With only the location of another vault and a pistol, you’re expected to save your home. I remember the open-endedness really blew my mind back then.
It was also, quite possibly, my first real intro to Western PC rpgs. I was a big Nintendo kid but was getting bored with the Final Fantasy’s and 7th Saga’s of the time. I wanted something deeper. And did Fallout scratch that itch.
What Made the Gameplay so Great?
Fallout has deep rpg mechanics reminiscent of D&D. It gives you the option to use sample characters when you start, but the real fun is using the character generator. The great writing and 50’s nostalgia is prevalent in even this aspect of the game as your attributes make you S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck). You’re given a host of skills to choose from, as well, from Small Guns to Energy Weapons; Lock-Picking to Bartering; First-Aid to Repair. And though Fallout doesn’t do as well as its protégé Fallout 2 at making these skills essential- there’s always a place to use even the most obscure skill for great rewards.
My big thing when I was younger was starting the game over and over again with different characters and playing just a few hours of it. Now that I’ve matured (ha), I’m going to finally take the time to beat it.
My character for this play though is Navin Johnson: An unarmed combatant with a variety of thieving skills. Let’s take a look at the kind of stuff Navin’s punched to death shall we?
Didn’t mean to kill him. I mean I just punched him. But there’s a puddle of blood so, yea, punched to death.
And oh how my young, impressionable mind was shocked by all the bad stuff you can do! Breaking and entering, soliciting a prostitute, Shady Sands genocide! This wasn’t the on the rails, “save the village” fair of Final Fantasy. This was a world you could explore and you could interact with almost EVERYTHING.
Should You Play It?
I just got done telling you how incredible it was, but should you actually take the time to play it?
Honestly, no. What you should play is Fallout 2. The sequel fixes a lot of the problems that you’ll run into in the first. For instance: there’s a limited amount of ammo in Fallout. If your survival against the super-mutant menace is dependent on a certain gun, then you’re fucked in the later game. Also, the party system is waaay better in Fallout 2. You can more expertly equip your guys and they level up with you.
But for me, Fallout is one of the games of my youth I was obsessed with… but I barely tried when it came to progressing in it. So, I will soldier on, save a vault (until they decide to kill me) and wipe the super-mutant menace from Southern California once and for all! (Sorry just in the game I can’t do anything about the super-mutants that actually reside in So-Cal.)