I started playing Fallout 4 a couple of weeks ago, partially to fill my gnawing need for an RPG before Andromeda launches, and partially as a way to show off my fancy new video card. It’s been fun so far — as I ranted about on the last podcast, Bethesda’s UI choices make my teeth itch sometimes, but I have a live-in Fallout tour guide in the form of the feller and I really enjoy how packed the wasteland is with little treats for explorers. There’s always something new to check out, some neat bit of environmental story-telling, some strange character who wants to talk to you about life after the war.
Or so I’ve been lead to believe. I wouldn’t really know, because for the last 10 days my Wasteland Adventurer has been perpetually stuck in an abandoned subway tunnel, right before an encounter with a bunch of armed thugs in natty suits. I saved my game and logged off there because I didn’t want to take on a big exciting battle right before bed, but I’ve been avoiding returning to the scene because .. I’m scared of dying.
Honestly, I’ve always been a little worried about dying in games. Not only is it a sign of failing to do something correctly, but also I often feel genuinely bad for leading my character to her doom. It may only be temporary, but seeing her crumple to the floor while the sad “you died” music plays.. it’s upsetting. (Thank goodness that Dogmeat, faithful dog companion in Fallout 4, is effectively immortal. Even with that in mind, on more than one occasion I’ve pulled out my mini-gun in-game and shouted at my monitor, “DID YOU JUST SHOOT AT MY DOG?!”)
Weirdly enough the exception to this rule is MMOs. Perhaps I’ve just been desensitized to dying from years of progression raiding, but I’m not emotionally affected at all by WoW Liore dying. I just sigh at the 30 seconds of my life lost to a corpse run, and get on with things.
It definitely shapes how I play other games, though. The feller, for instance, keeps encouraging me to check out interesting things on the horizon in Fallout 4. It gives me the vapors. “What do you mean, I should go investigate that abandoned factory? That’s how people get hurt! I think I’ll just stick to hiding in this shrubbery and eating raw mole meat, thanks.”
It’s hard to become the Champion of the Wasteland if you never leave the house, I guess, so I’ll have to suck it up and go die in a filthy underground headquarters if I’m ever going to save Nick Valentine. Probably. I very likely will. I promise, Nick, I’ll be there.. eventually.