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Minor spoilers about stuff we’ve already done with Kellogg’s brain and Curie’s quest 

Butch:

Played, but one of those play a lot, don’t get much done days.

Did a “babysit the kid” mission for the BoS which amounted to going to Trinity Church and shooting two (yes, two) mutants.

I found the “treasures of Jamaica Plain,” which was amusing, and got me one click closer to that “do 50 misc objectives” trophy, but wasn’t all that productive, yet themey. Have you done it? If so, I won’t spoil. Interesting themes.

Then I decided to truck down to get the second Randolph safehouse dead drop, which took me by this quarry in Quincy that I figured I’d clear out because why not only to find it’s HUGE. So that took forever, and I’m down to 9 shotgun shells. But I got the dead drop, and now I have to go to a place that’s, coincidentally, right by the glowing sea there. With mutants. It’s a junkyard. You’ve been there.

Then went back to Sanctuary to spruce up the power armor, flirt, that sort of thing. Build water pumps.

Really should get me some shells before trucking down there. I figure, take the armor, do the thing for the RR, then off to Virgil. I mean, I’m right there…..

Or not. We’ll see.

So not a lot of bloggage unless you’ve found Jamaica Plain.

I see [from a cheery screencap] you got statues.

Feminina:

I got statues! That was the high point of my evening for sure. Although it’s a shame they’re all made of copper, which I sometimes need for other things. Worth it, though.

After dealing with the respawned Forged in the ironworks, I took Danse to the Dunwich Borers, where we killed a bunch of raiders. I’m still there, working my way underground, hoping to find some horrible Cthuloid secret.

I HAVE in fact retrieved the treasures of Jamaica Plain! It was another kind of interesting look at the way we value history. So much security for…a baseball? And it’s funny that they valued it so highly at the time. Did you take the “treasure”? I did, because whatever, I gots to loot, but I felt kind of bad about it, as if I were in fact desecrating a historical artefact. Even though no one now cares now, or even cared then.

Butch:

Statues are totally worth it! Especially if you add disco balls. They get so sparkly. And of COURSE they’re copper! Only the best for my settlers! Well, the best statues. The gourds, dirty sleeping bags and falling down walls will have to do.

Though yesterday, I saw the Vault Tec Guy sleeping and put a few pictures up on his walls. I mean, can’t give him steak knives, but that’s a cute kitty cat! And flowers!

Ah, dude! I found Dunwich Borers, then ran, then forgot I found it. That’s also by the cannery! Have you found the cannery?

I did not take the Jamaica Plain treasure, save for the baseball bat.

I think the themes there were in the holotape. The mayor was SOOO convinced that we’d be SOOO different in the future. She was looking at her world and saying “Soon, there will be no more US, at least not as we know US. Everything will be different.” And yet here we are, scrounging the same shit, hell you took it cuz it was useful. We’re still us, for better or worse. Did you read the janitor’s notes? About how it was all a waste of money? Well, apparently so. There’s no need to save things for the future, cuz the future doesn’t change. We will always be. Much like poor Ironsides, still fighting his war. Mayor whoever’s dream future, where everything was better, didn’t happen. Ironside’s past is still happening.

What did you make of the fact that the main stuff there, right by the holotape, was a flag and war memorabilia?

Feminina:

Aww, the Vault-Tec guy is going to be so happy when he wakes up and sees kittens and flowers on his wall.

Yeah, the first time I found Dunwich Borers I ran off. Tough raiders, one dude running at me in power armor…but THIS time, I had Danse and we both had power armor too (incidentally, you’re right, his hair is STUNNING–I actually had to put his hood back on, because its magnificence was distracting). Plus I have about 10 more levels now, and plenty more shotgun shells.

The cannery is on my map, so I must have gone past it once, but I haven’t been inside. I’ll swing by when I’m done with the Borers. This whole part of the map was basically just me wandering up to things and getting scared off by powerful enemies, but now I’m back! I’m ready!

As for the Treasures of Jamaica Plain…I did find the janitor’s notes. Poor guy, working away on this thing while other projects go unfunded. A dig at the wastefulness of civic pride focused on showpieces rather than practicalities? As you say, things are in some ways not much different, but one could argue that at least we ARE more focused on the practicalities now. These historical items–whose value was perhaps overestimated even at the time–are certainly not valued NOW as anything more than components for generators or deep pockets or the like.

The war memorabilia I think is interesting largely because it’s NOT particularly interesting: it almost feels like a “well, history is about wars so here’s our war stuff” gesture. Also, of course, the country was highly conscious of war before the bomb, so in some ways it makes sense that military artifacts would be prominently displayed.

The grand happy future didn’t happen: the war-torn past still clings to life. However little we cared about small town baseball memorabilia before, we care much less today. Does it even matter if we sink all the town’s money into a museum no one will ever visit?

Butch:

I just feel for Vault-Tec guy. He deserves a bit of cheer.

And dammit that reminds me I’m down to NINE damn shells. NINE! Shit.

Danse’s hair, though. Damn.

There’s a bobblehead in the cannery!!!!!!! Go get it!

But what was interesting about the Treasures, and I’m glad they did this as voiced holotape and not a note, was that the Mayor sounded so damn EARNEST. I mean, you read that janitor’s notes and you get a sense she’s this vain, smarmy type who’s milking the people, but to hear her talk, she seems to genuinely believe she’s contributing this important historical thing to the people of the future. I think she distinctly thought this was more than a showpiece, that she was doing something that would be fascinating, important and treasured by the people of the future and…well….no.

Good point: Cuz war stuff. But did you notice that some of it was memorial? Names of people who had fallen in war? And names we both glossed over as “unimportant?” That’s an interesting take, that.

Again, Fallout, nicely done. This wasn’t even a SIDE quest! This was on the same list as “technical documents” and “clear raiders from hardware town” (which I’m so not doing unless I need the trophy).

Good stuff.

Nine fucking shells.

Feminina:

He does. He does deserve cheer. I should go visit him again. Give him some table knives I pick up. “I know it’s not a set of steak knives, but…”

You must get more shells! I ask every trader I meet for shells these days. I basically just trade them my unused ammunition for it, because I have in the thousands of a couple of types. Works out great.

Yes, definitely true, there was a memorial, and included names of the fallen. But again, it felt almost like a required gesture: every small town memorializes its war dead, doesn’t it? Not that those dead are unworthy of remembrance–they fought for their country, presumably–but it’s not a unique feature of the Treasures.

Or maybe not a required gesture, but a sort of background context. “Here’s the war stuff, because we have to have the war stuff…and over here you see…our BASEBALL history!!!!” It’s as if war is taken for granted as part of the history, because war is part of all history, but the really interesting stuff is going to be these other things. Because someday things will be different?

And of course to the world 200 years later, NONE of it is actually interesting. Maybe it’s saying that even though we think of history as wars, the wars mean as little as the baseball wins in the long run. So-and-so died in a war, and so-and-so hit a dramatic home run, and neither of those pieces of information is tending my gourds or keeping super mutants from eating my settlers.

As for the mayor’s earnestness…I took her as being deluded, which does kind of dovetail with your mention of Ironsides, who is equally deluded. The mayor’s determination that history should cherish Jamaica Plain’s sports legacy is no more or less ridiculous than Ironsides’ determination to eventually reach the sea and attack the enemy?

Butch:

Giving the Vault-Tec guy knives would get 100% happiness for sure. I have him bar tending. He likes it. Hangs out with the beer bot.

Dude, I’m trying to get more shells! I’d happily trade for the unused stuff, but you can’t trade for them if the traders ain’t got them.

I also have learned that if you assign an NPC to a settlement shop, the happiness goes up but they won’t actually sell you anything. If you talk, you can only trade like you can in the field. You need to assign an actual settler, and Sanctuary lacks enough of those. I wish I could tell folks in other settlements to go there.

“hey dudes, look. I’m not going to defend you here. Nope. Stay here and it’s bedless waterless death. But I could REALLY use an ammo settler, there’s statues, disco balls, it’s a win all around.”

As for memorials, here’s a real life thing on that that illustrates how opinions differ. The town of Acton (woefully, yet, really, fittingly absent from FO4) has no monument that lists those from Acton that died in wars (Concord, on the other hand, has three). There’s this dude that for YEARS has handwritten the list and plopped his poster at the Acton/Maynard line on Rt. 27. He redoes it every time it gets too wet or the cops take it down. Some people really do see that as something that must be remembered above all.

What differs in this display, though, is the science stuff. The science display is still the science Jessica uses. If anything, it’s gone backwards. The camera isn’t for taking pictures; it’s for gun mods or turrets or whatever. Ditto the microscope next to it. Here’s stuff that really was an achievement that we’re wasting. Or not, as we need turrets more than microscopes. It was telling that that stuff wasn’t “Microscope” but “Somethingsomething PROTOTYPE microscope,” like, here’s something supercool that has the potential to be so much cooler, and here’s us breaking it down for gears and springs and glass. So not only do we lack progress, we’re regressing.

What about the mayor’s delusion that things would be so much better? That “This holotape was how we did it back in the far past….you have such better stuff now…” which isn’t true? The microscope didn’t get better, we’re still using holotapes…it’s more than thinking “They’ll love this bowling ball.”

Feminina:

Can’t you send settlers from one place to another? Highlight them and click…square maybe? I haven’t done it, but I thought I noticed the option to send them somewhere else. Maybe new with the latest update (which, you no doubt noticed, actually shows you if someone is assigned, and to what, so you’re not just guessing and hoping you don’t accidentally assign all your gourd-tenders to guard duty or something–good upgrade, Bethesda! This makes life way easier!).

It’s a good point about the failure of science to advance in so many ways. I mean, really, our Pip-Boy is still the height of technology after 200 years? And we can still play all these old holotapes? (Although props to the designers of 2077 for making a media that still plays after that long…I wouldn’t bet on being able to play a 200-year-old cassette tape you find in a ruined office building, even if you do still have a Walkman hanging around.)

On the other hand, great strides have apparently been made in synthetic humans, memory transfers, and (possibly) teleportation, so it’s not that there IS no advancement of science, it’s just focused on other things.

The mayor and Ironsides are actually rather interesting contrasts, aren’t they? Ironsides is literally still fighting the same war after 200 years, unable to conceive of a world without those specific parameters, and the Mayor was fixated on this imagined, amazing future that will revere her work on that museum.

So one can’t believe that the world has changed, and the other can’t imagine that it won’t change in a specific way, and they’re both wrong. It did change, but not the way the Mayor thought it would, and it’s still the same in many ways, but not the way Ironsides thinks it is. Maybe the delusion is in clinging too fiercely to ANY set notion of what the world is/was/will be.

You can’t know what’s coming! You can’t hang onto what’s gone! Adapt or die (or just hang out on your ship for another couple of centuries)! Maybe that’s the real message.

Butch:

WHAT? Send settlers somewhere else? Shit. I could have just evacuated some of these places? They could have been SAVED?

Now I feel terrible.

True, scientific progress HAS been made. But that’s the “bad guys.” Even the BoS is still using pre war tech (like power armor).

The game itself is pretty much a metaphor for “adapt or die”. I mean, the Fallout universe is based entirely around a complete misconception of what the 21st century would be in the middle 20th century. Stroll around the Commonwealth and you’ll see how damn wrong we were in real life, and probably ARE in real life. And it’s true, the game DOES take an adapt or die attitude. Better keep an eye out for antifreeze bottles and flip lighters. You’re gonna need ’em to modify that gun.

Feminina:

I THINK you can move settlers. Like I said, I haven’t done it, but I feel like I’ve seen a “send to…” option when clicking on settlers recently. Probably new! Oberland Station was doomed long ago. Don’t feel bad. Or no worse than usual, at least.

I don’t know, the Railroad is kind of into science, with the memory wipes and so forth. And maybe they co-opted that technology from the Institute, I’m not sure that’s clear, but they’re at least willing to embrace that brain/memory tech and use it and–judging by Dr. Amari–try new things with it (since she had never done anything like retrieving information from a brain implant, but made it work for you with Kellogg implant…also, the transfer of Curie from a robot to a synth body seemed like pretty groundbreaking stuff).

But it’s true, apart from those two factions, everyone is pretty much just holding tight to the technology they have available from pre-war days. I could speak a word in defense of the BoS and point out that they’ve developed the Prydwen after a lot of work, and (according to them) there’s nothing else like it around, but one could also argue that blimps are a very old technology, and they haven’t done anything really except fancy it up for war. On the other hand, science builds on the achievements of the past, and a machine like the Prydwen has apparently never been done before, so is it a fair criticism to say that they’re just using old knowledge?

An interesting comparison could also be made in the purpose of the science…pretty much no one actually RENOUNCES technology (even super mutants will use guns, in addition to boards), but most of the technology we see out and about is in weapons. Highly creative weapons like the Broadsider and the Junk Jet! This is what most of the factions do with technology: make/use guns. (I’d say the Minutemen also use workshops and build things for settlements, but they don’t, really…the PC does. Left to themselves, they seem to have no idea what to do with a workshop.)

Meanwhile, the RR and the Institute are working on teleportation and downloadable memory and believable synthetic people, all of which could have non-military applications (although in the case of the Institute, we have no idea what those applications are actually intended to be).

Is there something more here about the focus on war compared to other things in history? Looking to the past, compared to the imagined future?

Fighting the same war over and over (in the sense that you’re using the same weapons), compared to moving on to either new ways to fight (if everyone is correct that the synths are weapons designed to take over society), or maybe even something besides fighting?

Everyone is a little bit Ironsides, except possibly the Institute…the question is, is the Institute equally deluded in its own way, like the mayor, or is it actually onto something?

Man, I need to go find Virgil and try to learn more about the Institute. After the Borers and the Cannery. Need that bobblehead.

Butch:

I tried with Oberland. I gave them, like, two turrets. What more can I do?

True about the Railroad. It’s interesting that the dudes living in a pit under a church have more tech than the dudes in the blimp, but they do.

Blimps, for heaven’s sake. And as we’ve talked, they don’t seem to be very good at vertibirds. They’re old school.

And even for us using the workshops, guns seem to be the thing. Laser turrets are the best stuff. Other than that, it’s shacks that pass for bars and old generators.

Did we just stumble upon another underlying theme? Did we really? Is the game’s focus on combat part of that?

It’s a good bobblehead in the cannery. Aren’t they all?

But do me a favor when you do it: go into the last room guns down. I forgot and I think that cost me conversation/themes. Cuz you know what happens guns up.

Feminina:

You give turrets. You do your best. Sometimes the super mutants win and eat all your settlers.

Ha–very true, the BoS are actually kind of terrible at vertibirds, even though they’re the only ones that have them. I’m constantly seeing them shot down in flaming wreckage, or occasionally just crashing into the side of a hill for no apparent reason.

And also true that even the PC, using the workshop, can mostly build pretty pathetic stuff (leaky sheds, bare mattresses, worn out carpets, noisy generators–though our kitten pictures are top notch!), but the turrets are all shiny and effective. It’s as if we’re content to be barely scraping by in every area except weapons technology.

Which to a certain extent is just a symptom of the world we live in–it doesn’t do much good to have a nice house with lovely carpet and blankets on the bed if you immediately get killed by raiders you couldn’t fight off–but does also suggest a focus on combat technology over every other kind of technology. (Though don’t get me wrong, the disco ball and the jukebox are pretty freaking sweet.) Like so many of the other groups, we pour all our best energies into weapons. And yeah, you have to have weapons, the Commonwealth is a dangerous place, but this narrow focus has to be limiting growth in other areas, for all these groups.

Maybe that’s why no one but us can see the value of desk fans, or even use workshops…we just got out of the Vault, so we have at least some lingering interest in other things, where everyone else is pretty much “if I can’t eat it or kill something with it, it’s worthless to me” (although we’re clearly not immune to the cultural focus on weapons, as reflected by the things we build).

Impoverishment of culture by constant warfare. I mean, how are we supposed to concentrate on painting pictures or writing novels when we’ve got to fend off attacks every couple of days?

After all…war never changes.

 

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