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.