Random Thoughts

The Fallout: New Vegas Amnesia Theory

I appear to have made a grave mistake.

I appear to have made a grave mistake.

I’ve been watching the New Vegas season of Spoiler Warning recently because eh, why not. And in episode 4 they talk about the Courier’s amnesia, at least briefly (around 12:30). This is an interesting topic to me because a lot of people seem to assume the Courier has this affliction when in reality… he/she kind of doesn’t.

It’s clear from dialogue choices later in the game that the Courier doesn’t in fact have amnesia, but it’s pretty easy to see why people might assume they do. For starters, you have dialogue options in the opening area (Goodsprings) that sort of indicate you don’t know the major factions in the region. You also have options to ask about your job, the very one that led you to getting shot in the head.

These speech options aren’t there for the Courier. They’re there for the player’s benefit, in order to inform them as to several important aspects of the outer world and the main story hook (the platinum chip/Benny).

Later on, if you visit… let’s say the caravan in the North Passage before heading off to play Honest Hearts (or the New Reno singer in Novac for a base game example), you’ll get a speech option clearly showing that the Courier in fact has all their faculties intact. There are several situations like this where you can ask questions the Courier could only know if they still have their memory. (more…)

Mess Effect: The Reapers

Messy. Very messy.

Messy. Very messy.

I’m writing this long and rambling post as a direct consequence of a retrospective series I read not long ago on the Mass Effect games. If you’re interested, go check it out, it’s a great read: Mass Effect Retrospective at Twenty-sided. And the specific entry this post is in response to: Part 34. The specific passage that triggered the idea for my post is as follows:

“The Cthulhu idea was abandoned. The Reapers are reduced from gods to bullies. This is why the whole “quest for knowledge” idea was important. You can’t beat gods with guns. You need to find the secret to close the gate, break the spell, placate the gods, or otherwise avoid or forestall your doom. (Even beating them with a superweapon feels sort of lame and ill-fitting.)”

There are some striking parallels between Mass Effect and Babylon 5 – hell, B5 was clearly a big inspiration for Bioware – but this passage in particular stands out to me. Babylon 5 absolutely nailed the concept of incomprehensible and timeless villains here to ruin our day, because B5 had coherent themes throughout and tied those themes into basically everything that happened through five whole seasons. Having only one writer really helps to keep everything together, too. (more…)

The Problem With Killing Everything

In the old days you could kill everything. EVERYTHING.

In the old days you could kill everything. EVERYTHING.

With Fallout 4 having been out nearly a year now, I’ve been thinking about Fallout as a franchise. Actually, I think about Fallout quite a lot, it’s a series I’m particularly fond of (3&4 notwithstanding). And one thing I’ve always loved is the freedom, the ability to play the games your way.

Whether that be diplomatically via speech and charisma, or brutally through extreme violence, or a mixture of the two, say a bartering trader who focuses almost wholly on buying and selling but isn’t above tactical killing of high-value targets.

Point is, these games allow for real roleplaying. You pick a role you want to play, you specialise in a few stats to support that role, and away you go. Then along came Fallout 3 and ruined everything. Maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but it does annoy me how much of the actual roleplaying Bethesda threw out when they bought the franchise and transitioned it to 3D. (more…)