Thursday, May 3, 2012

Favorite Video Games: Fallout 2 (PC) 1998

If you haven't seen the Road Warrior stop reading this right now and go do it.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ve no doubt surmised that I love beer, sports, beer, and skinny girls with large breasts.  You’ve also probably noticed that I’m kind of a nerd.  One of my all time favorite nerdly pursuits is playing good ol’ fashioned Pen and Paper Role Playing Games.  Unfortunately I don’t get to play them as often as I’d like because I, ya’ know, have a life.
Livin' large and in charge.

Probably the best representation of a PnP RPG I’ve ever experienced was my favorite video game of all time: Fallout 2.  If I was doing a top ten list of my favorite video games, as was my original intention, this would be the end of my video game reviews.  But since I’m doing a series of blog posts I can kind of just do what I want because I’m the John McClane of bloggers.  I play by my own set of rules. 
Different game, also awesome.  I would appreciate it if from now on everyone imagined my blog was being read to them by Alan Rickman

Fallout 2 (PC) 1998
Muscle Beach is now Pork Chop Hill

Fallut 2 takes place in a post-apocalyptic future as imagined by America in the 1950’s (reel-to-reel computers, radiation zombies, and giant mutated insects.)  The setting was a radical departure from the wimpy Unicorn and Pegasus worlds of most RPG’s; especially at the time the game was released.  In other words: that Fallout 2 used to fuck guys like Final Fantasy in prison.  I loved it immediately.  Growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with nuclear war.  Also, the Road Warrior is one of the single greatest movies of all time and any game in that tradition is alright by me.
Also, as I understand it all women will dress like this in the post-apocalypse

As good as everything that is even slightly associated with The Road Warrior is, I would say that it was even more important to me that Fallout 2 played much more like a PnP RPG than any other video game I’d ever played before.  At their best PnP RPG’s allow Sex Commando the Barbarian bi-cleave skeletons with his chainsaw/electric guitar.  Fallout 2 is a bit more structured than that, but not much.  You can do drugs, become a fluffer for a porn studio, or get married and pimp your wife in a seedy brothel (as if there’s a lot of non-seedy brothels.  It’s not like anyone walks in and says, “Oh, this seems nice.”)
It should be noted however that some brothels are much worse than others.
If my description makes Fallout 2 sounds kind of Gran Theft Auto-esque, it’s not.  Any actions you take have consequences.  If you do something that most people find off putting/morally reprehensible (killing a child, becoming a slaver) most NPC’s will thereafter refuse to talk to you.  If you want to go through the game indiscriminately blasting people with a laser mini-gun you can do it, but you might game-breakingly kill an NPC.  For what it’s worth I always play as a good character, because that’s how I see myself in real life: a little rough around the edges but basically a good guy; deadly but not aggressive.   A hero…  But what’s a hero?  I am, and so is my character Dixie Nourmous.      

R.I.P. Peter Steele
Dixie Nourmous is a beacon of hope for the people of the wastes; fortunately for the poor devils I discovered this game in college.  In college I would frequently be playing Fallout 2, look out my dorm window, see the sunrise, and say, “Oh shit, it happened again.”  It’s true that at the time I could stay up all night playing video games and drinking beer with almost no negative consequences, but it was the writing in Fallout 2 more than anything else that frequently put me in that situation.  The game had a great plot, interesting dialog, meaningful choices, and most importantly well rounded characters that I actually cared about.  Some have even gone so far as to call Fallout 2 the “Downton Abbey” of roleplaying games, and by some I mean me just now.  Actually the more I think about it Fallout 2 is more the “All Creatures Great and Small” of roleplaying games.
Don't pet the radscorpians Dixie Nourmous!

I could keep going, but fortunately for you dear reader, I edit my work.  Anyway I could write a book about Fallout 2, and I still don’t think I’d be any closer to capturing the experience of playing the game.  You really just have to play it yourself.  Of course if you’re anything like me playing with yourself isn’t something you skip out on very often.  Updating your blog with one hand isn't a skill, it's a gift.  Speaking of...
I've been waiting months to use this picture.

I know they re-released it a year or two ago, but if you need help playing Fallout 2 on a modern computer check the tech forum at No Mutants Allowed.
Stuck?  Check out Per Jorner's comprehensive walkthrough.


  1. How much better is Fallout 2 than Fallout 1? I've played through F1 before (and it was pretty great), but I was planning to skip F2 as I now have a hefty backlog of console games to play, including Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. Should I put Fallout 2 in my queue, or just pass onto modern technology?

  2. It was a bigger more epic version of the first game. (Think of the comparison between the recent Batman games.) I would play Fallout 2, skip 3 and definitely play New Vegas.

  3. It's my favorite video game of all time.