I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire

It's odd for me to post about a video game as I generally keep my video game enjoyment clandestine so as to not appear supremely nerdy and/or immature. As I got older, my love for games quickly started to diminish.

That is until I played Fallout 4. I hadn't played any of the other games in the series, fearing they were too involved and too big. For a while, my only gaming pleasures had been the Grand Theft Auto games but even they have their limits on fun; it makes it easy to pick up, easy to put down but still enjoy the ride. I decided to try Fallout 4, expecting to try it out quickly and immediately return to Gamefly but that didn't happen; I've had the game since it was sent to me on November 9th. It has only been with Fallout 4 that I've actually put in 12-hour straight sessions in a video game that feels endless and very satisfying; by comparison, Grand Theft Auto, a rather free and open game, feels very restricted in what you can do when put against Fallout 4.

On a personal level, I know part of me escapes into the world of Fallout to try to avoid thinking about life which has become increasingly out of my control as I sit and wait for a way out of my current situation. The world of Fallout gives me a place where I can feel like I'm actually doing something to progress even though that progression is wholly trapped inside a game disc.

It's somewhat more comforting to think about the simplicity of the Fallout world versus our cash-obsessed culture. Fallout creates a world that must start civilization over from scratch with hunting, bartering, truly fighting for survival in the most literal sense. It's not a world based on many laws or rules, people don't generally work for money in Fallout so long as they can find a safe place to hunker down and can defend themselves against raiders looking to steal their haul.

In that way, Fallout 4 is a lot more simplistic than our world where we have to pay for everything at every turn and are generally under the big thumb of money and those who control it. It's much less stressful, in a way, to think about collecting resources from abandoned structures and building up settlements, making sure settlers have enough food, water, and beds to try to restart civilization; defending against the occasional raider or ghoul assault to ensure they can prosper.

Fallout 4, as a game, incorporates elements of a few games I enjoy; you can find aspects of The Sims games in settlement building. There's a prominent shooter element which is fun but can understandably grow tiresome after a while. So Fallout 4 offers different things to do (to keep you playing) based on how you want to play; you could go around exploring buildings for supplies, you could construct your settlements and defenses, or you could follow the story and numerous side quests, each with their own options and ways to take it that will change aspects of the game based on your decisions.

The simplest way to summarize Fallout 4 is survival after a nuclear blast on the United States; how do you live after nuclear fallout has mostly washed from the world leaving a vast but sparse city devastated and destroyed. How do you deal with opportunistic raiders and other radiant creatures who want to do you harm? A nuclear blast essentially the instant restart button on civilization, sending it back to its most basic form.

Our real-life civilization today seems at its peak. Sure there are likely discoveries to be made but really most of us are trapped under a system we hate. Whether it's government or corporate tyranny, the average person is very angry about that state of affairs at both home and abroad. The restart button looks more and more appealing every day.

Still, it's unlikely any of us would live to see what's on the other side if the events of Fallout or similar events take place; the fictional world is fun to think about because writers and programmers have made it fun. But the true impact of a nuclear explosion and subsequent fallout, would likely be chaotic, devastating, and fatal. It's only being in a secure Vault that spares the main character from the same destruction that kills most of society.

With all the intertwined and built-in corruption of our current system, I don't see how society won't be trying to hit that restart sometime in the near future; it may not be nuclear holocaust, it may be a civil war and general unrest.

I don't want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in my heart.