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Video game series: dealing with the Fallout

I got into a conversation with Bandicoot Warrior about Fallout at the summer blog party back in June. He’s a big fan of the series and has an impressive collection of merchandise, whereas I on the other hand haven’t played any of the games in full. I watched my other-half work his way through part of Fallout 4 when the title was released in 2015; and I tried to play the original shortly afterwards but couldn’t get it to run smoothly enough on my PC, so eventually gave up.

Our discussion led me to make a confession about a weird gaming habit I have. It sounds odd to a lot of people with my other-half teasing me about it occasionally, and it’s prohibitive in that it prevents me from playing well-loved titles such as Bethesda’s apocalyptic releases. But it’s something I’ve always done and just can’t seem to shake: I’m unable to play a game in a series unless I’ve played all previous instalments, even if they’re now unavailable or absolutely terrible.

I went into this in more detail during a post about Silence shortly after the blog party. I discovered about two hours into this adventure that it was actually a sequel – something the Steam page failed to mention. I had to stop my playthrough and switch to The Whispered World to cater to my quirk, and it ended up being a title I came close to hating thanks to the other game already giving away its final plot-twist (and the fact the protagonist had a voice and attitude so annoying it made me want to punch him).

The only exceptions I can ever recall making are for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Diablo III. On one hand I’m happy I was able to break my rule and play these releases, because I thoroughly enjoyed them and they’re great games everybody needs to experience. But on the other hand I feel almost a sense of ‘guilt’ that I didn’t make an effort to visit the previous instalments of each franchise first.

When I think of my favourite video games, those which immediately spring to mind are The Secret of Monkey Island, The Longest Journey and Fable II. And what is it these titles have in common? They’re all part of a series I’ve played through completely (although I haven’t yet managed to bring myself to reach the end of Dreamfall Chapters). Right now I’m working my way through the Myst 25th Anniversary Collection – and after receiving my keys from the Kickstarter campaign, I had to restart from the beginning at the original title.

So why do I continue allowing my weird habit to affect my gaming preferences in this way? I’ve thought about it a lot but I’m still not entirely sure. Part of it is that I don’t want to miss out on anything a franchise has to offer, or have plot-twists and secrets revealed to me in an untimely manner similar to what happened with Silence. I also want to show respect for a series in a way; I want to understand its origins and its history, and see the direction the developer has decided to take it in throughout its life.

While this could be considered commendable on some levels, I get that it’s also somewhat stupid and even hypocritical. I talk about showing respect to video games in the paragraph above but am I really doing that if I’m purposefully missing out on what’s potentially a developers’ greatest work, the culmination of all their efforts over the years, due to some silly habit? This is something I’m going to have to give more consideration to and come up with a plan of action.

There are so many games I’d love to play if it wasn’t for my annoying quirk: the Metal Gear titles and God of War for example, and of course Fallout 4. Maybe it’s time to put some more effort into getting the original Fallout working on my PC.

24 thoughts on “Video game series: dealing with the Fallout Leave a comment

  1. Go for the gog.com version of the older games and you’ll have no issues. I started with Fallout 4, I don’t think it will spoil your enjoyment of the others, but I haven’t finished those myself yet 😎

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    • Thank you for the tip! I’ve never been able to get the Steam version to run properly so I’ll head over to GOG instead and give it a go. I know it’s silly wanting to start from the original game but it just feels wrong doing it any other way. 😂

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      • I totally get it though, but I have relaxed on it recently due to time constraints. I really wanted to play State of Decay 2 when it came out, but with State of Decay unplayed in my library already that was a tough sell. I relented and really enjoyed it! I would have missed out otherwise.

        Use GOG Galaxy and you won’t notice the difference between that and Steam once the game is running hahaha. The difference is, it bloody works without any messing!

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        • I had to install GOG Galaxy when I started The Whispered World, mentioned above, and at first it was absolutely fine. For the last few weeks though it’s been throwing up a few error messages and I just haven’t been bothered to investigate! I think a lot of it’s to do with my PC though: she really is due an upgrade…

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  2. I can understand your issue, I do this with games too! For example, I won’t play Vice City or San Andreas until I beat III and I’ve only played Mega Man 1, as in my head, I have to beat that before playing the others!

    It’s a completionist thing with me, I have to go through games step by step, in order to get enjoyment from them.

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    • I’m so glad I’m not the only person who does this and there’s someone out there who understands the habit ha ha! I’m going to do what Dan suggested above and try the GOG version of the original Fallout so I can finally get started on the series. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same really, I read your post and thought “Yeah, I do that too!”

        To be fair the original Fallout is a different genre to the modern games, so that wouldn’t bother me too much. I’d want to play 3 before 4 though!

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        • A few people have said this but it kind of makes me want to play the original even more! I want to find our if I can see why the developer decided on a change in direction, if that makes any sense.

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  3. I have a lot of friends who do this as well – it makes sense in a way. You want to get a greater feel for the world, which is fine. Though, I agree with you on the Metal Gear Solid series, thats a series you really ought to play from beginning to end to get a proper sense of things, also, each game has aged wonderfully. MGS2 for example could be released yesterday and it’d still be great.

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  4. I get your obsession to play previous titles first. I was able to break mine and I’m glad I did or else I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with The Witcher.
    With games whose previous titles are so archaically old, I think it’s better to play them after the latest instalment. If you fall in love with a franchise due to its newest release, you’re more likely to accept the flaws of the earlier games when you check those out. Besides, not all sequels are directly linked so you don’t always miss out on plot twists and all that.
    I played the demo of Arkham Asylum, but when it came to buying a full version, I went straight for Arkham City. I figured “it’s Batman, I’ll get the gist” and with the exception of why exactly the Joker was sick, I had no issue. It wasn’t an origins story in either of those games after all. The same would go for the Fallout series (I think). You don’t have to run into a Deathclaw and then try to figure out where it came from by backtracking to other games.
    I hope you’ll be able to find more exceptions to your quirk. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to start the series fresh from the beginning (I know I crave that a lot), sometimes you just have to let go of that urge.

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    • I’m a perfectionist at heart, so letting go of the urge to start a series from the beginning is a particularly difficult one for me! You’re absolutely right though: there are definitely some franchises where it isn’t necessary to do that because you’re provided with all the information you need in the latest instalment. I think I just need to mellow out a bit and try to let my completionist tendencies go. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well thank you for the mention in your post ❤️ but you can’t miss out Kim you gotta play Fallout even if you got to start from the beginning 😜

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    • I’ve got to get through the rest of Myst 4 and then Myst 5, and I think Fallout will be the next series on my list. I’m going to take Dan’s advice above and try the GOG version – hopefully I won’t have so many problems with it!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Fallout 4 was the game of the CENTURY, honestly blew my mind and still does when I think about it. I made the error of playing FO4 before the original so didn’t have the patience for the age of the game. it will be interesting to see what happens with FO76…

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    • I think I must be the only person in our part of the WordPress community that hasn’t played Fallout 4! I know the original game is vastly different – I’ll let you know what happens if I manage to finally get it working on my PC. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I put it off for so long, because I’d never played 3 or NV. All those years I was missing out… Fallout 4 is definitely one of my favourite games ever now. This whole playing earlier games from the series first thing… I think it’s the narrative junkie in me, I’m afraid of missing out on story content! I’ve got the Witcher in my library but I’m trying to convince myself it’s ok to go straight to 3 first!

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          • Looks to be a very different experience from the gameplay I’ve seen. Multiplayer for a start, PVP… I kinda like wandering around taking my sweet time, just don’t think you’ll be able to do that in 76.

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              • If you’ve got a potato PC that’s probably a good idea 🤣 I don’t regret starting with 4, as someone has mentioned in the comments, it has made me love the franchise so I can forgive the 10 ish year old graphics and gameplay mechanics of 3. What matters is that you start, doesn’t really matter where! Hope you enjoy!

                Liked by 1 person

  7. I would certainly stick with the original if it were me. Fallout 76 just isn’t the same without NPCs, the wasteland world feels empty to me. My Two Cents 🙂

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    • Thanks for the advice! I’m going to give the original version on GOG a go and see if I can finally get this series under my belt. 😉

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