Mobile Menu

I’m Playing the Original Fallout (And It Hurts)

When the original Fallout came out in 1997, I was not even close to being able to play it. And multiple attempts in the years since have proven fruitless.

Why? Various reasons. When I was a teenager, I guess it was down to the fact that it was just too damn dense to hold my attention. Things aren’t obvious, and that isn’t a good thing. Even today, hours into the experience, I’m still noticing buttons and finding new ways of doing things. That’s pretty annoying, and while Difficult Game Daves might say the more vague the better, I would rather see the game work with me than against me.

I like to know the rules. Fallout keeps them hidden between 25-year-old UI.

So what made me play it? I guess seeing all this Baldur’s Gate 3 talk made me think about the genre, and how often I’d managed to miss it. And I downloaded it, played it and, surprise of surprises, I’m enjoying it. But here’s the point of the article: I’m terrible. I’m dying every 30 seconds. I looked up a 15-year-old Reddit thread to tell me where I was going wrong, and they listed off a bunch of stats and perks that were just needed if you were a first-time player. It’s as simple as that. Do anything else at your peril.

Playing Fallout in the age of Starfield

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the last few decades. The user experience has become so smooth that you barely even notice it is there. Start a new game, and you probably know the controls. Remember when twin sticks for shooters were novel and unusual? Yeah, me too. But not any more. Hand me a controller and an FPS and I’ll rock it without even thinking.

And despite what the Difficult Game Daves will say, this is a good thing. The perfect example of this is just a few weeks away. Starfield will do everything Fallout did, but on so much bigger a scale. It must be billions of times bigger. It will be epic, and unknowable and there will be a seemingly endless amount of content for those of us who aren’t obsessively digging over every inch of every planet. And even those people will take their time to see it all.

And none of that will come from needing to have the perfectly specced character. None of it will come from there being a button on screen that doesn’t really explain itself (because you were supposed to read the manual 25 years ago). It will come from pure worldbuilding. Oh, and a constant state of awe. Because now that we know how to control these characters and explore these worlds, we can take the time to actually see what is being offered.

It must be a fantastic time to be a developer, especially those who are passionate about storytelling. For those who remember working on the original Fallout and will soon see Starfield hit Xbox and PC, the journey must feel as epic as any Bethesda adventure.


Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

Follow on:
Twitter: @matgrowcott