on Mar 4, 2013
In this episode we discuss games where you’re given a friend / companion / family member in a game, only to have them killed off two minutes later. It’s interesting because we were just talking about this in relation to Dishonored.
So here we are, in the very depths of the bowels of the pits of the dungeons of the bottom of Fallout 3’s barrel. This is the part of the game where the writers thumb their noses at the player while blowing raspberries and taunt, “Stop degrading yourself! Stop degrading yourself!” This is the most ludicrous, poorly-justified, aggravating, lazy railroad job in the entire game.
These parent-less kids live in in a self-sustaining society ruled by the youngest, inhabiting caves between the wasteland and the irradiated caves filled with super mutants. They have no food, no supplies, no income, no obvious source of new kids to replace the ones that are forcibly booted out by the younger kids at sixteen, even though that’s not how kids behave or organize themselves. And somehow these ultra bad-ass children become the biggest losers in the wasteland when they graduate, moving to Bigtown and getting eaten or enslaved. Their plywood plot door stands between you and your mandated quest goal, with no alternate route for stealth, force, bribery, bartering, trap-evasion, explosives use, or any of the other dozens of skills in the game. The only way around besides doing the quest is to take a perk which has basically no other use than to skip this quest.
The quest has no humor, no meaningful themes, nothing to say, and doesn’t advance the plot other than to let you pass through a door. It creates an awful tonal clash with the recent passing of your father, which was intended to be, somber, or bitter, or poignant, whatever the writers were going for.
This is an affront to the name of Fallout, which began as a game with strong world-building, dark comedy, a gritty mood, and lots of ways to solve different problems. This quest is like splicing twenty minutes of a late-period Adam Sandler movie into a Michael Bay droolfest and claiming you’ve made a Terry Gilliam film. This is beyond infantile. This isn’t just a spot of bad writing, or a dumb sidequest, or a bad plot-hole. This is an act of hostility against the audience. This is a quest so offensive and horrible that players began demanding the ability to murder children.
I didn’t like the quest, is what I’m getting at.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.