Gamin’ like it’s 1997!

Gamin’ like it’s 1997!

You’d think with all the modern games on my never-ending steam backlog, I wouldn’t be booting up and playing games from 1997.  When Steam had a sale on the older Fallout games over the weekend, I couldn’t resist picking up Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics. Usually I’m paying five bucks just to have the game on my Steam library list, destined to be grayed out for all eternity. That’s when you own a game on Steam, but it isn’t downloaded and installed for play; a fate of many of the games I own on Steam. However, I found myself actually booting the game up, determined to at least give it a try.

That ‘rad’ scorpion sure is ‘dope’!

Well, I didn’t simply just boot it up… the game is so old it was necessary to find some unofficial game modifications to unlock higher resolutions and just make the game halfway attractive to look at.  Fortunately, I stumbled upon a very helpful guide that told me exactly what I needed in order to play the game at a ridiculous resolution that was never intended to be played on, thus making reading text a squint fest. Such is the price of beauty!  I mean, I could reduce the resolution, but I’m a crazy person after all. (Maybe I’ll just find a mod that makes the text bigger!)

Graphics aren’t the only hurdle to get over when playing such an old game. You also have to contend with how clunky user interfaces were back then.  When I first started, I was just fumbling around.  However, with time, I got the hang of the silly restrictiveness of such an old interface, though it really does make you appreciate the modern user interface and how far we’ve come in game development.

That vault 13 is so ‘fresh’!

Initially, I told myself I was only going to try it out for an hour or so, just to check it out.  Four hours later, I found myself still hunched over, reading a grateful dialogue between my character and the local mayor, after saving him from a would-be assassin with my newly purchased Desert Eagle (that I had just bartered from him a moment ago!)  Yup, I’m hooked.

I’m a huge fan of the new iterations of Fallout: Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.  Besides the fact that I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic anything, the Fallout universe is steeped in fascinating lore and an expansive world. Playing the first iteration of the series really shows me why Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas were so good.  The style, the level advancement, and the art assets range back from the first Fallout, almost exactly. Naturally, Bethesda altered some of these things in order to modernize the gameplay mechanics and the level advancement.

Get ‘crunk’ about stats!

The gameplay of the original Fallout is quite a bit different from the FPS-RPG we know of now, however. The gameplay consists of an isometric third person view, and combat is turn-based where your character is allotted so much AP (action points) each round to move, open inventory, and attack with.  While it may seem simple at first, the combat becomes more nuanced as you learn to take advantage of enemy weaknesses.  I found myself taking advantage of the low movement of a super mutant early on; I would shoot him once each round and run away. He never did catch me, poor Harry.

I can see myself playing this game to completion now, which does not bode well for the tide of new games we’ll be seeing in the coming months.  Naturally, if I’m going to play Fallout 1 all the way through, I may as well play the second, too! I’m excited to delve deeper into the expansive Fallout lore, and maybe, by the time I finish it all, we’ll finally get some news on the newest iteration!  One can only hope… In the meantime, I’ll be sportin’ my air pump Nikes and baggy Jnco jeans, and a fly hoodie, while I explore the wastes with my vault dweller; Ryan the Ugly. (His charisma score is way low!)

Relevant Links:

  1. Directions to mod Fallout 1 to modern resolutions
  2. Fashion in the 1990’s
  3. Terms of the 1990’s (may be needed to decipher captions)

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