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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No particular spoilers this time

Butch:

Didn’t do much. Settlements (It’s really getting to the point where when I see “You can now use the workshop!” I’m like, “fuck, now I have to do something….”)(Also, why do robots need beds? How does that even work?), wandering. Did a missing person file from Valentine’s agency without him, which was a nice XP diversion, but I’m not sure if it’s themey. Then I was feeling my oats so I went out to that village with the mutants and the bad respawn point that was just in the blog cuz I decided “Well, we blogged about it” and MAN it was tough, went back, got power armor, took psycho, killed some dudes. I’m about halfway through exploring and there is a LOT there and it’s ALL depressing as fuck and very much gamey and very, very good. And depressing. Very depressing.

Very.

Kids. I’ll leave it at that.

Why do they have to do kids?

Feminina:

I haven’t been to that village yet. Didn’t do anything last night, so I’ve got nothing other than…it seems like I’m hearing songs on the radio that I haven’t heard before? Like the DJ is breaking out the back catalog or something? Including one song called Diamond City Nights or Diamond City Rock or something about Diamond City, but I totally can’t find it on the track listing.

Oh, never mind, the wiki tells me it’s because I visited…somebody in a place. Well, at least I’m not imagining it.

Kids are super depressing in this kind of game, and yet if they aren’t included in any way it feels like a cop-out. Like, why AREN’T there any kids? Why do we never SEE any kids? Alive or dead.

And then any time they do appear you realize that the reason there aren’t any kids as a rule is because it’s crushingly depressing…but maybe an occasional bit of crushing depression is a salutary thing, to remind us exactly what it is we’re playing at. I mean, we couldn’t play TLOU’s grim realism for 75 hours and counting, but as a sometime quest, it might not be bad for us to contemplate the actual horror.

And then go back to trying to kill mutants with railroad spike guns.

Butch:

Oh good! Cuz I was noticing some new stuff, too. Phew. Props to them! Keep it interesting.

Though I have had at least one song from that game in my head since I started playing it. Today it’s “Don’t they know….it’s the end…of the wuh-orld…cuz you don’t love me….anymore…..?”

Dude….this….dude. This…..this sucked. And it was a…. wait, fuck it. I’m not going to spoil. Just….dude.

And the kid on the holotape was named David, which really didn’t fucking help.

And I’m not even really done exploring the place, and I don’t WANT to explore the place.

Once again, this game has given me a found place (this wasn’t a quest) that is better than the quests. And, again, from one of those radio tower signals. Do those. Those are great.

If mind crushingly depressing.

Well, we did a bit a ways back where I mentioned that this game was more fun than FO3 but I wasn’t convinced it was as good yet. It’s a different game, for sure (we touched on the biowareization of it or lack thereof) than FO3, but it’s starting to catch up to FO3 both in terms of themeage, but also in terms of depressing. It’s hard to imagine a game (that isn’t TLOU) that was as relentlessly depressing than FO3. It didn’t even have Ellie’s jokes. FO4 hasn’t gone down that road….too much….yet. But I feel as I play it, it’s getting darker and darker and darker. And last night was certainly one of those times that a game has held up a mirror and caused me to basically say “Well, fuck it, fuck me, and fuck you game” because it depressed me to the point of turning it off and going to have a drink. TLOU did that a lot, as did FO3. Which were good games.

But it would be a very valid point to say that if something just makes you toss the controller, say fuck it, and go have a drink cuz you’re depressed, that isn’t fun. So is that a good thing or not?

Meh. We can talk when you get there. It’s very close to Malden. Talk to Piper, then check it out.

Feminina:

Yeah, there will usually be about one song a day that plays in the background of my head. Sometimes this is more annoying than others. Thanks, Butcher Pete.

It’s a tough call on balancing realistically crushing depression with fun and games. A game that’s absolutely no fun is not really worth it, you’re right. I mean, we just wouldn’t play it. “When I play this I get sad and hate everything” is not an endorsement. So even with horribly depressing settings, we want a game to be fun, and this does that…the Vault-Tec educational materials are funny, the little remarks on the loading screen have a sense of humor, etc.

But I kind of think it’s not a bad thing for a game to occasionally remind us just how black this humor actually is. I mean, the nuclear destruction of civilization is not inherently an amusing concept. It’s fine to MAKE it amusing and fun to play with–joking about serious subjects is one of the things people do–but it’s also fair to sometimes step back and say “by the way, we are talking about the horrible, violent deaths of nearly every man, woman and child in the world, and that’s not usually this entertaining, just FYI.”

I respect a game for going there, even if I wouldn’t want to stay there for the full 700 hours it will take to play through the whole thing.

Butch:

Hey fellas ya hear the news going round bout a cat named Butcher Pete….

You’re welcome.

We played TLOU. I played FO3. Those pretty much made me sad.

People DO like that sort of thing. Look at Breaking Bad.

Hmm. See, I think there was a shift away from the whole “Isn’t this fun this nuclear war?” stuff from 2 to 3. 1 and 2 were much cheekier. In three, Fallout boy sort of went from funny clown to creepy, grotesque clown. It was supposed to jar, the happy and the depressing. I’m starting to see that, here.

Feminina:

Well, we previously had a long conversation about games vs. other media, and whether we want to WATCH a bunch of hours of Walter White being a horrible person in a TV show vs. PLAY AS Walter White for a bunch of hours in a game, and I think those remain good points.

We’ve also discussed how TLOU was grim but short, and how it was tolerable at the length it was, but we probably couldn’t stand to play it for the length of time that you have to put in on a game like Fallout. For a game as long as the one we’re currently playing, I think you pretty much have to lighten the mood with humor, even dark humor–even grotesquely clownish humor. Robots with thick accents are funny. Super mutants obsessed with the milk of human kindness are funny. Killing people with teddy bears or railroad spikes, if done with insouciant cheer, is darkly funny. Without the bits of funny, the whole thing would become unbearable. Nobody is ever going to make or play a 300-hour video game of The Road.

But yeah, the jarring effect of some comedy mixed with some nods to “seriously though, this would totally suck” is probably intentional.

Large video games are large, they contain multitudes. Perhaps more than any other media, they are ABLE to contain multitudes, and arguably we should applaud them for it. Contradict yourselves, games! It’s part of the human experience.

Butch:

I also had the dark feeling last night I was there with the wrong companion. I was with Cait, but ran into someone who knew someone Strong knew……

I still have that FONV “I missed something” issue…..

Cait’s cute.

Feminina:

You know, in some ways we could argue that big games are failing to live up to their potential if they DON’T jar a bit, if they don’t contain multitudes. 300 hours of anything gets old: you have to mix up the mood to keep the interest alive. We don’t want one note for that long, even if it’s a good one. Even if the initial premise is laugh-out-loud hilarious, or simple, honest, flat-out NOTHING BUT ACTION!!!!, you can’t sustain that at a high level for 300 hours, so there have to be shifts.

Different quests NEED to feel different, because otherwise they get boring really fast. You can’t only kill raiders in the Corvega plant, ho-hum: sometimes you need to stumble on something that makes you sit up and take notice, even if it does that by punching you right in the emotions.

It WOULD be nice if each quest came with a “this companion would particularly appreciate this quest!” note, but it would also kind of feel like cheating. Now, an option to interrupt a conversation with “you know who would really like to hear this?” and then dash off and get so-and-so and come back to finish the discussion, that I could get behind.

Butch:

I need that little tag of “bring THIS dude!” esp as it was AFTER the big fucking fight that it became clear that said dude would be important. No way I’m reloading THAT shit. Again. After dying 4000 times.

Indeed, games must mix things up. As should kids, who only have one mode.

 

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