I’ve (video) gamed for a long time. You know how I know? Cuz the NES just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
I remember playing Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda with my dad on Christmas morning way back in 1985. I had played an Atari before that, but the NES was the real awakening. From then on “playing a video game” would be a constant in my life, whether it was on the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Gear, a Blockbuster-supplied and rented Sega Genesis/CD and N64, Turbografx-16 (remember that one?), PlayStation, PlayStation 2, DS Phat, DS Lite, Xbox 360, or iPhone. At any given moment, there was a/were current video game(s) in the queue. They are just too much fun, be they simple 5-minute time wasters or full-on immersive worlds.
While a good deal of my video gaming has been done with someone else, either in a co-operative or competitive sense or just a watcher/watchee situation, I’d still say the core setup is just me, a controller, and the console. This usually takes place in the form of a multi-hour RPG, but other game types are just as much fun. For instance:
- I’ve played a good deal of the Final Fantasies, the Dragon Warriors, the Legend of Zeldas, the Baldur’s Gates, and the Neverwinter Nights.
- Platformers, like Super Mario Brothers, Castlevania, Metroid and their countless sequels and imitators, are covered, too, and the same large amount of invested time per game still applies.
- First-Person-Shooters like Doom, Quake, Half Life and their other counterparts, take up huge swaths of time, as well.
- Let’s not forget awesome graphic adventure wonders like * Quests, Secrets of Monkey Island, and Mysts, as the amount of head-scratching and GameFaqqing required to beat them is quite substantial.
- iPhone and Flash games probably account for more individual game plays now, even, if not more time per game
- Finally, of course, Minecraft, much like any other MMO, brings a unique force to the table that’s hard to resist once ensnared
The thing that all of these kinds of games share is that they’re fun. They’re enjoyable to me as a pastime because they piece together visual, aural, logical, and emotional components that I can then manipulate through gameplay. Since I have an issue with being judged for my choices, playing these games alone comes naturally. I can take as long as I want, do things the way I want, and progressing through the game is ranked on my own value system, and no one else’s. I may not read books, but I can enjoy the world that a video game presents to me (if not the story, too, providing it has any depth) in the same way, and it’s much more accessible to me.
Oh, right. This post was about Fallout: New Vegas, which coincidentally comes out today. I have it pre-ordered and I plan to pick it up in about 6 hours.
I didn’t get the original Fallout when it first came out. I can’t really explain why, but it didn’t click. After playing some other CRPGs, though, I went back and found myself enamored. The setting, that of a post-apocalyptic world after a nuclear holocaust, is great. Starting over from scratch, an extreme form of minimalism, appeals to me. The characters were quirky, the character creation system ruled, the battle system was strategic and interesting, the Pip-Boy graphical style appealed to me, and the storyline resonated. Fallout 2 was more of the same, but with a more expansive world and just lots more of everything.
Fallout 3 seemed to be the logical progression once it was announced. I never played Oblivion, so all the criticisms that it would just be “Oblivion with guns” never deterred me. A 3D open world version of Fallout was mana from heaven. Even the intro was unique and ingenious! Stepping out from the vault where you called home into the bright, yet bleak, overworld is now a moment etched in my memory. You felt like you could do anything.
Fallout: New Vegas is essentially a glorified expansion pack. A ridiculously awesome glorified expansion pack. Early reviews have railed against its bugs and potential system freezes, which worry me. However, people keep playing it anyway, because it’s just chock full o’ interestingness. That’s a good game for ya: even multiple system crashes can’t keep people away. I’m sure they’ll patch it in good time, but I’m gonna jump in head first, anyway, because I played the absolute crap out of FO3 and I know I’m gonna lose a few weekends’-worth of time in FO:NV, crashes or no.