Does the Wasteland Become Itself? My Bittersweet Return to ‘Fallout 3’
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Does the Wasteland Become Itself? My Bittersweet Return to ‘Fallout 3’

Bethesda Softworks released “Fallout 4” almost a month ago, and ever since then I have been dying to play it.

However, as most college gamers know (or are soon to discover) the end of the semester is a terrible time to start a new game, particularly anything from Bethesda’s library of expansive open-world experiences.

As a result, I decided that rather than diving into this new experience in the midst of all my final papers and exams, it might be interesting to reacquaint myself with all things “Fallout” through loading my old “Fallout 3” save files. Despite having put over 150 hours into my original play through, it had been at least two years since the last time I had revisited the Capital Wasteland.

In many ways it felt like spending the night in your childhood room after moving away or rereading your angst-filled entries in an old diary.

I spent a great deal of time wandering around my in-game house, looking at all the collectibles I had meticulously placed on shelves and tables. I thought about all of the time that went into the creation of my character and the development of his skill tree. I thought of the countless adventures we had together and the ways in which my actions and decisions shaped him and the surrounding world.

All of the time and energy I had invested into this game made my return to “Fallout 3” a joyous experience, and yet it also had an air of melancholy.

As opposed to a good book or movie, this story acknowledged the time I had spent inside it and even relied on my inputs for its current form or structure. Like an old house this game had become an extension of myself. And as much as I get excited about new games and experiences it was also sad to think that I was saying goodbye, perhaps not to “Fallout 3” but instead this character and world that I had created.

Ultimately, I can’t wait for “Fallout 4” and the promise of new adventures and experiences that it holds. But at the same time, new beginnings make you think about the endings of things, and a part of my heart will always belong to the irradiated wasteland of yesteryear.

Paul Grosskopf


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