I have Fallout 3 and I'm not playing it.
This shocks me. In fact, I kind of feel physically anxious that I'm not playing it right now. There are lots of reasons that I'm not playing it, but do they really trump the reasons TO play it? The original Fallout is one of my all-time favorite games, and also one of the most important games ever. Its sequel, while creatively uninspiring, is generally an excellent extension to the classic game. I've played the hell out of both. So why am I not playing #3?
Partly because I'm downloading mods. The last Bethesda game I played, Morrowind, was almost instantly dramatically improved by adding a few mods. So, I'm doing the same with Fallout 3. But as interesting as it could be with good mods, am I really sure that it's not worth playing without? No, but it's not that alone.
Partly because I'm worried I might like it too much. It's not like I'm lacking in spare time, but I at least have a few things to do in my life. Had a programming class tonight, and graphic design tomorrow. I've also got a few writing projects I'd like to be doing more of: book reviews, movie reviews, game reviews, and a big game history project. If I started Fallout 3, well, what if it was so good that I didn't do anything else for three weeks? I had some access to the game last summer, when I was staying with someone who had it for PlayStation 3, but it was not my PS3, and not my TV it was attached to, so I didn't play it because if I had really liked it, I couldn't have played it when someone else wanted to use the PS3 or TV, which was pretty much constantly that wasn't M-F 9-5. Should I be so concerned about a game taking over my life? When it's Fallout, apparently.
Partly because, well, I just can't believe that it's real. The original Fallout came a full 10 years before its second sequel, and the first sequel was just a year later than the original. That's an odd ratio, but it gets worse when you consider the business standpoint. Fallout's original developer and publisher, Interplay, was one of the best game companies of the late 1990's, with Fallout, Sacrifice, Jagged Alliance 2, Wizardry 8, and more. Yet it still went out of business. Happily for Fallout, Bethesda Software was paying attention and decided to add it to its business, but there's still a part of me that gave up on ever seeing a third installment. It's the part of me that says "HOLY FUCKING SHIT I OWN FALLOUT 3!!!" in the bad, disbelieving way.
Partly because I missed my chance. A few years ago, I really wanted to put together a game-related portfolio to break into the industry. I decided that my careen and game interests would be best served by becoming an expert Fallout 3 modder. Then I got distracted by idealistic poverty, got new ambitions, and couldn't afford the game when it came out, and also thought it wouldn't run on my PC (turns out I was mistaken). My ambitions have been altered somewhat - more interested in writing about than writing for at this point - but my emotional investment remains, to some extent.
Partly because I have other games I want to deal with at the moment. I'm still trying to finish Okami, in addition to various other Wii games, like No More Heroes. I also just got Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. I'm worried that they'll get overwhelmed by Fallout. And that's probably okay generally speaking, a game is a game, but part of my brain says once started, games should be completed.
And partly, finally, because I'm scared not that it'll be great and take over my life, but that it'll be bad, and maybe it won't. I think the idea of merging the Fallout setting and character development with a first-person shooter is a wonderful idea. I was arguing that it was a good idea back in the '90's, when it was horrifically unpopular. I just don't know if the extraordinarily-ambitious-with-somewhat-disappointing-returns Bethesda model will work. Consciously, I think it should. There's no reason why not. Reviews and sales certainly indicate that they got it right. But I've got enough of an iconoclast in me that I'm a little bit worried.
Once the mods finish downloading, I'm going to start playing. I'm just surprised at my restraint and my chomping at the bit. It's an important series, and an important game, and one I expect to have a lot to say about. This blog is about to get post-apocalyptic.