Y’know, despite my past intentions to get a job as a legitimate “gaming journalist” (a term that is almost meaningless nowadays), I rarely actually follow gaming news. Anyone who’s taken even a cursory glance at this blog can figure out my journalistic style: Make a small, silly observation and blow it up to ridiculous proportions. That seems to have worked out pretty well for me so far, so I’ve never felt the need to keep up with game stories that I wasn’t personally involved in.
And yet, there is one piece of games-related news I have indeed been keeping up with lately — and it’s somehow managed to get much bigger and far more astonishingly stupid than anything I could ever concoct on my own.
Father’s Day is often characterized by imagery of backyard barbecues, early morning fishing, and two little kids hugging their daddy from either side. Candies, golfing equipment, barcaloungers, and ties that will never, ever be worn to work make for popular gifts. Department stores slap the phrase “#1 Dad” on just about anything that can be imagined, guaranteeing that you can remind your father of his status no matter what his interests are.
I, however, did not engage in any of those things Sunday. I bought my father a card, as I do every year, but that was the extent of our activities for the day. My relationship with my father has always been very… iffy. Between his intimidating, military presence and my meek and people-pleasing childhood outlook, we never really had a strong foundation to start out on. He came off as cold, judgemental, and clearly favoring my brother. I couldn’t make him laugh when I tried to entertain him, but boy did he laugh anytime I was embarrassed. Rather than telling me he loved me, the phrase I heard at the end of every conversation was, “Keep your grades up.” As for video games, I never felt so much disapproval as when I dared to bring games to his house, and he and his wife called my decision to study game design “stupid” two days before my first class. As of an argument over a series of lies he’s been telling for the last four years, my father and I rarely speak anymore.
Which is why I chose to spend the holiday with this guy — and learned a few things about myself.
(Warning: Major spoilers ahead.)
(Warning: Spoilers and in-game jargon ahead.)
I’ve never been one for RPGs. For me, having to deal with so many stats for so many different people and objects tends to detract from gameplay, so much so that I have yet to ever complete a game in this genre. Despite this, my best friend bought me a copy of Fallout: New Vegas last year, insisting that it was an RPG that I would enjoy much more than the others I’d tried.
For the most part, she was correct. It wasn’t long before I found myself deeply invested in the storyline and adjusting to the various weapons, but again, the stat system was killing my enjoyment quite a bit. To resolve this, my bestie put my save file on a flash drive, disappeared for about half an hour, and then returned to tell me that my file had been hacked and I was now essentially a god, courtesy of TooTooBang’s Mod. With the stats eliminated, I happily resumed what I did best: Wrecking shit and completing dialogue trees.
This all came to a screeching halt, however, when I completed the Lonesome Road DLC chapter.
As many gamers before me have woefully discovered, this menu pops up upon leaving The Divide and returning to the Mojave Desert. The game is trying to reward the player by offering a free point to one of the courier’s S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits, but as you can see, all fields are maxed out. Despite the fact that there’s allegedly an option to reset a given field, pressing the indicated button doesn’t actually change any of the values. The point can’t be added, the numbers can’t be lowered, and this screen can’t be skipped.
This was going to take some ingenuity.
Good Old Games has a holiday treat for Fallout fans by offering the first three games of the franchise — typically a $30 purchase — completely free, no funding (or DRM) required. The promotion ends Saturday at 9AM EST and has barely under 20 hours left as of this writing, which still leaves eager players plenty of time to make an account and get their free downloads.
Unlike Steam, GOG.com does not utilize a client interface and allows customers to retain full ownership of any downloaded software, as opposed to most modern user-license arrangements. The site also proudly boasts that its downloads never contain any form of digital rights management software, and may be saved by the customer to any storage device for an unlimited amount of time. Most games offered also have extra goodies available as well, such as wallpapers and soundtracks.
Fallout and Fallout 2 are the property of Interplay Entertainment; Fallout: Tactics is the property of 14 Degrees East. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d probably say that Vault Tec had a hand in all this somewhere, too.