In late October, I published a post called Video game series: dealing with the Fallout, inspired by a conversation I had with Bandicoot Warrior in the summer about my weird gaming habit. It sounds odd, and it’s prohibitive in that it prevents me from playing well-loved titles others rave about. 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.
It’s meant I haven’t yet completed a single entry in Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG series. I’ve tried several times to get the original Fallout working on my PC but all it wants to do is crash after two minutes (although several bloggers have recommended trying the GOG version to resolve that). As a result, I’ve never made it through the franchise despite it now being over 20 years old and one of the most popular – and I’m well aware I could be missing out on something special.
So after publishing that post last month and receiving a lot of positive comments, I geared myself up to try once again. All I needed to do was finish off the final Myst game so I was done with one series before moving on to the next. But in the couple of weeks between that happening and the release of Fallout 76 on 14 November 2018, something changed; now the last thing I want to do at the moment is visit a nuclear wasteland and deal with super mutants.
All the way back in March 2017, Ben wrote an article entitled Too much, too soon? about the sheer amount of information available on upcoming releases before they’re out. He summed it up nicely with this paragraph: “Games, especially the big blockbusters, are revealing more and more about themselves in advance of a formal release. Usually I can deal with the barrage of trailers, demos, beta trails and social media exposure but there have been a couple recently that, in my opinion have gone too far.”
Since the beginning of the month, the feed on my mobile has been rammed full of articles about Fallout 76. I’ve just taken a look and eight of the first 20 entries have been about the title, with another five being about a certain other release. Professional websites aren’t the only guilty party as the WordPress reader suffers the same fate: seven out of 20 posts there. Everyone wants to get out as much information as they can about the title to bring in the views, even if it’s not particularly news-worthy.
I’m sick of hearing about Fallout 76, and I’m tired of hearing about Rockstar’s Red Dead Resolution 2 too. So much so that I now have absolutely no desire to play either of them despite not reading a single article, and it’ll be a very long time before that feeling of reluctance changes. It’s not my weird gaming habit preventing me from starting a series on this occasion but an over-saturation of pointless details, clickbait headlines, annoying spoilers and exaggerated reactions.
As Ben wrote himself, I long to explore vast worlds and meet the people within them for myself. Those moments when you watch an opening cutscene and see a new story unfold in front of you are some of the most magical; and having too much information before I’ve even picked up the controller takes away some of their mystery. Similarly, I want to read news articles and blog posts that open my eyes to video games I as yet know nothing of – without removing any of their wonder.
Super mutants and cowboys have been put on the back-burner and will both have to wait until some undeterminable date in the future. Right now I’m off to find a new adventure, one full of magic that hasn’t yet been spoiled.
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