Fallout Retrospective – Summary and Mission Statment

I recently started this blog because I noticed I was writing way too much for forums, other people’s blogs, and reddit. Given that I usually just dash off a few hundred words whenever the mood strikes me, it would stand to reason that the smart thing to do would be to start with short posts on whatever I’ve been thinking about when I feel like writing.

On that note, I’m writing a long-form retrospective on the Fallout series. This can only end well.

In all seriousness, this has been brewing in the back of my mind for a long time. Fallout is an effective flame war generator, for the same reasons that make these kinds of retrospectives so interesting to begin with. My current favorite examples of the form include:

What do these games, and the Fallout games, have in common?

  • They’re all relatively long-running CRPGs
  • They all experienced substantial overhauls between installments

For Fallout in particular, a lot of people, even people who played the games, and possibly even the people making the games, don’t fully understand or appreciate the degree of changes between installments. For Fallout in particular, I’ll be covering five games across two engines (three if we’re going to count Creation Engine as separate from Gamebryo) and I’ll be making the argument that no two games are the same or even really have the same goals.

As a result, any discussion of Fallout necessarily degenerates into people arguing over which Fallout is better. Frequently someone will even say their favored game is better “in every way,” without realizing that what they mean is “better in every way I personally care about.” I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past, so I’ll be examining what each game tried to do before discussing what I think of those goals and how well they were met.

Games I’ll be covering:

(I’ll add links once I’ve started their respective pieces)

What I Won’t Be Covering

  • Fallout: Tactics – As much as I love this series and isometric games, 2D Fallout combat + Real Time = My Personal Hell. I tried one mission and uninstalled upon finding out that friendly fire is still a thing.
  • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel – I ran into emulation problems that exceeded my time and patience in trying to get it running. I didn’t have much patience to begin with given that this was Black Isle’s last Fallout before going under, and had a near-universal reputation as the worst Fallout thing ever until Fallout 76 came along.
  • Fallout Shelter – I’m here to write about a WRPG series and Upside-Down Sim Tower has no real relation to that.
  • Fallout 76 – Even if this game were good at what it’s trying to do, it would still be in the same boat as Fallout Shelter.

I’ll be setting out to replay each game, at least for a cursory run through of the main plot, just to make sure I remember everything I want to say. Because ideally when this is done I will be out of things to say about these games.

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