I found myself very excited while watching the Bethesda conferences during last week’s E3. Mostly, I just wanted to see some more details about the world of Fallout 76. At the time I wasn’t really thinking about why I was so excited about a new game in the Fallout universe. When I think about the kinds of games that I enjoy I tend to forget about Bethesda games. At this point Bethesda has created its own genre of video games that includes a first person perspective, role playing and leveling systems, and a heavy emphasis on exploration and player freedom. A lot of those elements fit right into my view of the perfect video game, especially the freedom to explore where you want and interact with the world in the way that you want. But I never got into Skyrim and I really dislike Fallout 3.
The original Xbox included a massive hit in the form of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I loved this game. I remember playing it and exploring the world and leveling up my character. Increasing skills like stamina, endurance, strength, and magic just by doing skills associated with the attributes was revolutionary at the time. I remember running towards the second town and noticing that that my skills were slowly increasing, just from running along the road. I spent about an hour running back and forth just to see how high I could get the skill. I never beat Morrowind, in fact I do not think that I ever started the main story quest. I spent the majority of my time in the game stealing from towns and fighting with the guards, unsuccessfully.
My gameplay habits changed with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I nearly completed all of the questlines in the game. Except for the mages guild quest line, which became corrupt on my game state and I could not continue the introductory quest! After Oblivion I was hooked on Bethesda’s unique take on role playing worlds. I preordered the Fallout 3 collectors edition that game inside a lunch box and included a Vault-Tec bobblehead. However, I never played a lot of the game, even though I attempted multiple playthroughs. There was something about the combat and the difficulty that just turned me off from the entire game. To this day, I have not completed Fallout 3 even though I own multiple copies of the game.
I decided to give the Fallout universe another chance with Fallout: New Vegas. The game was released in October of 2010, but I did not start playing it until the following summer. It was my summer love. I remember exploring every nook and cranny of the game. There was so much to do and so much to explore and so many interesting people to talk to. Maybe the setting of Las Vegas spoke to me more than Washington D.C., or maybe the shooting mechanics were more refined, or maybe the game just came at the right time for me. In any case I nearly completed every questline and explored every area.
I think the inclusion of the factions made a big difference for this game. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself and I could choose the way the story would unfold. The final battle at the Hoover Dam was incredible and rather challenging. And the final choice that the player can make regarding the Vegas strip still weighs heavily on my mind. Plus, I love a good gambling mini game within a bigger video game, and New Vegas was filled with casinos and tons of side quests. The best part about these Bethesda games usually comes from just picking a direction and running until you find something. I could just run towards an empty spot on the map and find an unopened Vault or hidden cache.
This game introduced me to the Fallout universe. The quirks and cold humor perfectly resonate with my style. The Fallout games are smart and the writing is a great reflection on some of the pitfalls of society. Maybe that is why I really enjoy apocalyptic video games. Maybe I should go back and play Fallout 3 again, or maybe I will start a new playthrough in Fallout 4. Because of the freedom found in these games and the multiple factions questlines that really feel like a complete story, Bethesda games have created some of my favorite worlds. That is why I was so excited to watch their E3 press conference, I want to play the next generation of games!
Tomorrow we finally wrap up 27 days of my favorite games with Catherine.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks