What Fallout Means to Me

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This morning my alarm woke me up and I was about to turn it off and go back to sleep for another hour when I remembered that the Fallout 4 trailer had been released. I jumped out of bed and before I even went to the bathroom I turned on my computer and watched it. The trailer was everything I hoped it would be – the hauntingly beautiful 40’s music, the wasteland, the mid-century American aesthetic, and the Vaults. It was all there.

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I first played Fallout 3 back in the 9th grade. I don’t know if I have ever been immersed in a game quite like I have in that one. For over 200 hours across three different playthroughs in the span of about a year, I lived in the Capital Wasteland. I may have been a bit too young for it at the time, but Fallout 3 helped me to understand the depth that video games could truly have. Before Fallout 3 my favorite game was probably Call of Duty or Halo 3. But when I walked out of Vault 101 for the first time and the sunlight hit my eyes and I saw the wasteland, I knew this game was different. There wasn’t a hallway to walk down, or an obnoxious mission marker leading me somewhere; there was just the beautifully destroyed world that used to be Washington D.C. I had never before felt a sense of wonder when playing a video game. 9th grade wasn’t a good year for me. I had just started a new school and didn’t really have any friends, but the Capital Wasteland was a nice place to be.

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The more I played Fallout 3 the more I experienced and understood the brilliance of its story and atmosphere. Bethesda had created a world that was both 1950’s America and post-apocalyptic. The music was the beautiful jazz, swing, and big band music from that era. Fallout 3 made me fall in love with the music of that era; I bought and downloaded every song from the Fallout 3 soundtrack and now, years later, I swing dance to them. Then there was the incredible section of the game that took place in a VR recreation of actual 1950’s America. There was a pleasant little neighborhood, white picket fences, cultural and racial homogeny. And the game also had something to say. Everywhere you looked in that world society was trying to rebuild itself. The micro-societies all looked different. The iconic Vaults were a remnant of the old world and thus, most were collapsing if they were even still around. Places like Rivet City and Megaton were trying to start anew in this world. There were the isolationist places like Oasis. There was the Republic of Dave, a town of four, ruled by President Dave. And of course, there was President Eden, the artificially intelligent computer that presided as President of what remained of the United States. For the people of the Capital Wasteland, in the face of the harshness of the post-apocalypse, society was what they made it. The Capital Wasteland was a microcosm of our own world.

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Excited doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings for Fallout 4. I want to live in that world again. I want to experience that sense of wonder. I want to meet the colorful characters of a post-apocalyptic Boston. I want to be challenged by the ideas and themes Bethesda imbues into the game. Just like the trailer bounced back and forth between the old world and the wasteland,

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I want to see the ways Bethesda will once again use Fallout to comment on today. And I want to hear those words once more: “War. War never changes.”

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Does Fallout mean something to you? What do you hope for in Fallout 4? Comment below! And if you enjoyed this piece stay tuned here, GamesWithFriendsWrites.wordpress.com, for more writings and reviews and you can check out my YouTube channel, Games With Friends (link at top of page), for my Let’s Plays and commentary on great games, both recent and old.

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