FALLOUT - Week 2 Discussion - Fat Casino Owners and Caravan Drivers

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This week, let's shoot for finishing Junktown and the Hub. Probably not the entire Hub -- but at least get in there. A few things to keep an eye out in Junktown:

1) Your second and third NPCs (one of which is one of the most classic + enduring Fallout characters). One question that has occurred to me over this playthrough is the place of NPCs, particularly in a game where they /can/ die and /can't/ be revived. I haven't felt this bad about someone dying since Floyd in Planetfall. What's been your relationships to Ian so far? (And soon to the other two.) Have you tried to keep them alive? Reloaded from an earlier save if they died?

2) Major karma questions. In Junktown, you can pick either side of a feud. One seems clearly evil, and one seems clearly good. Other Fallout struggles are more nuanced, but this one is pretty cut-and-dried. Which one did you pick? Did you try both (saving and reloading)? Is this choice anything like the Bioshock Save/Harvest choice? How about other ethical dilemmas you've run into in Fallout?

3) I asked this last time, but it becomes more difficult here and will become even more difficult next week: How should we discuss this game as we branch off from one another? Some of you may blow through Junktown, while others may do every quest available (at my count; there are around 3 major quests that can be done in Junktown). Some may skip the Hub completely. It's possible to finish the first half of the game leaving directly from Junktown. So, what do we do? And should we worry about keeping things spoiler free?

Mordy, Monday, 6 October 2008 01:42 (fourteen years ago) link

(Sorry, forks. I forget the FALLOUT in the beginning of the thread title. Switch it please?)

Mordy, Monday, 6 October 2008 01:42 (fourteen years ago) link

And here are two [amusing] challenges:

1) Find out what is in Bob's Iguana-on-a-Stick.

2) Join the Thieves Circle.

Mordy, Monday, 6 October 2008 01:46 (fourteen years ago) link

weird, i didnt notice this thread

i uh, i beat the game last night :[ i'm playing fallout 2 now. i think i havent quite gotten a handle on the whole book club concept yet :[

cankles, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 09:53 (fourteen years ago) link

It's cool; I'm doing worse than you are. It'd be good if you can hang out and comment on what we're up to; you seem to be the perfect test subject for this kinda thang.

forksclovetofu, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 20:25 (fourteen years ago) link

having some trouble getting into the vibe of junktown - part of this is due to managing to charm my way in during the middle of the night and having everything be closed (from what i could tell. so far i just seem to be wandering aimlessly without any real goal while time keeps ticking away.

some call him "crazy", some call him NEWTIMES JESUS (John Justen), Wednesday, 8 October 2008 20:32 (fourteen years ago) link

i try and keep my NPCs alive, but that's mostly because i use them as mules and load them down with hundreds of pounds of loot. i wouldn't be able to pick it all up if they died. i wasn't able to keep Dogmeat alive for the whole game though :'(((((

hey i have an idea - how about splitting the discussion into WATER CHIP and MUTANT ARMY sections?

cankles, Thursday, 9 October 2008 01:52 (fourteen years ago) link

ok, i might just be dumb, but how the hell do you access the inventory screen for NPC's/make them carry shit? this has been driving me crazy.

may be a woman beater but im not a fussy eater (John Justen), Thursday, 9 October 2008 01:56 (fourteen years ago) link

barter with them, just give them as much stuff as you want. if you want to get it back you have to steal it from them - they won't catch you (EVER) as long as they're in your party when you attempt it.

cankles, Thursday, 9 October 2008 03:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Stealing, I wish I'd remembered that! I was actually bartering with them back and forth (very annoyingly, because of the value of certain guns/ammo). There's a lot of kinks in the system that got worked out for Fallout 2 that I was still remembering, like all the NPC control that was added like being able to wear armor and being able to barter more than 999 caps at a time. Dammit, Ian, you have a rockin' .223 custom pistol, stop switching to the knucks in the middle of a fight!

I don't know if I've ever been able to keep Dogmeat alive to the end. Usually not even the human NPCs - without the ability to wear new armor, they're pretty much toast in the second half/last third of the game. I think there's a chance this was intentional rather than just a programming limitation, but I'd like to discuss that when we're all at the end.

Still collecting my thoughts for a longer post on Junktown/Hub on Friday, but I already moved past the two areas as well. Cankles' suggestion might be a good idea, but I don't remember how long the mutant army part was compared to the chip quest.

Nhex, Thursday, 9 October 2008 06:30 (fourteen years ago) link

I ended up just making all my party members wait outside the building when I did cathedral & missile base, picking them up again on the way out. they get in the way!`

cankles, Thursday, 9 October 2008 11:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I had a load of schoolwork the past few weeks, but yesterday and today I managed to pretty much catch up. I'm in the middle of a few Junktown quests.

I have never played a game as open ended as this. Some crazy shit has happened, probably normal and not unexpected to people who are familiar with the genre, but sort of astonishing to me all the same. The wildcard of accidental friendly fire has reared its ugly head. Ian is dead. I'm not sure if this is a spoiler for anyone, so if you haven't gotten to Junktown yet, stop reading *here*. After talking to k*ll*an, the gunfight started, but one of the guards missed and accidentally shot Ian. At this point, a zany 3-way fight ensued, with most characters trying to take down the assassin, and Ian on a vendetta against the accidental friendly fire guard. After the assassin fell, Ian kept shooting, and everyone started going after him. I really wished there was an option for me to yell out "Whoa! wait, it doesn't have to be this way!", but instead I ended up ganging up with everyone else against Ian. And then looting him.

I'm not sure how uncommon that kind of thing is, but it was easily the most satisfying 10 minutes of gaming that I've had in quite a long time.

Also, I shot Dogmeat, and now I feel like a total asshole for doing so.

z "R" s (Z S), Thursday, 9 October 2008 17:22 (fourteen years ago) link

After the assassin fell, Ian kept shooting, and everyone started going after him. I really wished there was an option for me to yell out "Whoa! wait, it doesn't have to be this way!", but instead I ended up ganging up with everyone else against Ian. And then looting him.

ahahaha dude I love you

that post is a perfect encapsulation of what makes this game awesome imo.

the funny thing is, these games usually frustrate/overwhelm me with the excess of choices - i tend to be more comfortable with on-rails gaming where you're led from one point to another

cankles, Friday, 10 October 2008 01:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Something unusual (for me) happened too in Junktown. I started a fight with the Doctor (which is par for the course for me), but somehow, after killing his guards, the Doctor actually survived the fight. This has never happened to me before, and so, with combat ended, I went to talk to him. His response was something like, "Just... get out of here." I lolled.

Mordy, Friday, 10 October 2008 01:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm afraid I'm dropping out at this point. I lost Ian back at the raiders' camp - we were holed up nicely in one of the tents, taking everyone on 2 or 3 at a time, then he suddenly decided to wander outside and get himself slaughtered. I didn't feel much sympathy, and left him to it. Then I had a random time in junktown, trying to be nice to (k*l*an) and sneaky with gizmo, but in both cases I ended up accidentally choosing the wrong dialogue choices, until everyone in the town wanted me dead. Then I got out of there, happened across necropolis (POSSIBLE SPOILERS COMING UP), and after a couple of hours of trawling through sewers, got into another accidental fight with those supermutants. And that was going fine, I was seeing them off pretty well, until the last one pulled out a flame thrower and one-hit killed me. Realised I hadn't saved for over 3 hours, and couldn't face going back over all that ground. So I'm out.

I've got what I wanted from this, at least - an introduction to the fallout backstory, in preparation for number 3 (which I'm sure I'll still play). But I also got a painful reminder of where so many hours of my 20s went - in replaying huge swathes of videogame where I'd been punished harshly for forgetting to save. My gaming time is too limited these days for me to go through all that again...but I really wish that'd been the case back in the 90s too, because it really pains me to think about how much of my life was wasted by the absence of autosave features.

General thoughts on fallout? For a game which relies a lot on exploration, it has some pretty bleak, featureless landscapes. I mean, the general atmoshpere was very effective, but perhaps that worked against the game...it felt so drab and dreary and depressing that often, the thought of entering a new town was itself a downer. I just didn't want to have to meet yet more of these miserable, downtrodden bastards, or to see any more of their shitty ruined homes.

And as others have noted, this is a game which was built with replayability very much in mind. But personally I have no interest in replayability. There are so many games I don't even find time to play...why would I want to play the same one over and over? I haven't done that since I was a kid (at which point it made sense, because I had far too much free time, but very limited funds, so I'd be foreced to play the same games over and over). And the particular type of "replayability" in fallout was troubling to me. I get the impression they had the initial "diffrently rolled characters will have different game experiences" idea. But I only rolled one character. And then I felt that the rest of my game experience was being dictated by the choices I'd made for that character (constantly getting into fights where I didn't actually want to, in my case). It's like the game made claims to freedom and non-linearity, but in fact was totally on rails...it's just that those rails were defined by the initial conditions (ie the stats I chose for my character).

Anyway, sorry to drop out early. Next month, let's play something with save points, eh? :)

JimD, Sunday, 12 October 2008 09:51 (fourteen years ago) link

jim... do you know how 'quicksave' and 'quickload' works?

cankles, Sunday, 12 October 2008 12:45 (fourteen years ago) link

Ha, yes! But I don't know how "remember to press quicksave" works.

JimD, Sunday, 12 October 2008 14:58 (fourteen years ago) link

i guess it's just a difference in personality kinda thing, i am a compulsive saver of games - if there wasn't the 10 slot save limit i would prob have hundreds of them for this game alone~

cankles, Sunday, 12 October 2008 15:19 (fourteen years ago) link

autosave is something i only dig with halo type games, generally i hate the idea of saving and reloading to 'checkpoints'

cankles, Sunday, 12 October 2008 15:20 (fourteen years ago) link

I never go back to a saved game unless there's no other option. I definitely don't have a "try this out and see what happens...if it doesn't work I can always go back" attitude. It just feels like cheating, to me. If I have a big fight and just about make it through, with a few HP left, and with no loot because everything got blown up in some mid-fight explosion, well, that's all part of the story of my character. And I want to be immersed in that story. Nothing breaks the sense of illusion and shouts "YOU ARE JUST PLAYING A GAME" as much as going back and reliving a chunk of it.

JimD, Sunday, 12 October 2008 17:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah... sorry Jim, I can't really feel sorry for you here. There are ten save slots, a quicksave function, and the game pretty early on introduces you to the idea that you can die pretty quickly and suddenly at any moment. And you can save pretty much anytime and anyplace you want, which is a "feature" missing from far too many modern games - I amazed you actually WANT predetermined save points in games compared to what Fallout gives you. I don't know how you didn't learn your lesson after the first time you forgot to save, but then again, I've played enough Sierra games that "Save early, save often" has been drilled into my gaming consciousness for the last two decades.

Ironically, I find your first paragraph to be an example of what's so great about this game - the variety of play experiences different people can have with Fallout despite it having a linear story. As for the drabness - I can sort of see where you're coming from here, but I think it's easily balanced out by the all the character animations, interface graphics, talking heads and variety of other art assets in the game - it's pretty massive for a 2D game in 1997. Also, there are some more... varied... locations later in the game, but in the end, you're still wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland through dirty film.

I also find your notion about Fallout's replayability to be off-base. Replayability in modern games usually means unlocking bonuses by playing the same exact things again and again, as a way of justifying that time spent again. But this game is different - it's actually a really dense world, and virtually impossible to see all the subplots and characters and missions in every town on one playthrough. It's not a passive thing, since your character him/herself has to actually ACT and BE different to see these different aspects of the world. A difficult concept to achieve in most video games. The initial build is a little tricky, I'll admit, but the game can be surpringly forgiving at times in this regard (see: drugs, books) so you'll still be able to beat the game.

I think you should give the game another try, but just remember to save. Annnd I should probably stop before delving too far into Full Internet Nerdity, here.

Nhex, Sunday, 12 October 2008 18:04 (fourteen years ago) link

If you want to play Fallout in Iron Man/Hardcore/Nethack style mode, that option is available to you, but there's so much mortal danger in the game, it's not really designed around that.

Nhex, Sunday, 12 October 2008 18:06 (fourteen years ago) link

that's a great point, and it's something i often wonder - whether or not i'm cheating myself out of a better gaming experience by doing this

cankles, Sunday, 12 October 2008 18:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Mordy, can you give us a point about three-quarters in for the group to hit and start a week three thread?
Anybody think we need more than one more week on this? Ready for game two, now with less minutiae?

forksclovetofu, Monday, 13 October 2008 04:19 (fourteen years ago) link

you still owe some serious essay-age mr. guy.

s1ocki, Monday, 13 October 2008 04:35 (fourteen years ago) link

I know, I know. It's a busy life! Esperanza Spaulding and Digable Planets on Wednesday, Public Theater Gala on Friday, Jets game this Sunday, Doctor Atomic on Monday... Seems like all I needed to do to make myself play less video games was to make it an assigned project.

forksclovetofu, Monday, 13 October 2008 04:39 (fourteen years ago) link

JETS GAME? you're blowing us off for the fucking JETS? FUK YU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cankles, Monday, 13 October 2008 09:48 (fourteen years ago) link

I woulda thought you woulda gone for the jugular on the opera, canks.
But I'm still gonna play through this thing. Homework's just gonna be late.

forksclovetofu, Monday, 13 October 2008 13:50 (fourteen years ago) link

well, still enjoying this, but feeling kind of aimless at the moment. got myself kicked out of junktown by killing gizmo without gathering evidence against him first. made no headway whatsoever in the hub, pissed off pretty much everybody inadvertently one way or another, so i headed down to necropolis and now i'm meandering about with a quest that is going nowhere. probably would help if i figured out how to light a flare.

there are aspects of the game mechanics that aren't working well for me at the moment (flare being high on the list), and i think if dogmeat or ian dies i am complete toast. getting lots of random encounters, but other than one cloaking device, they aren't really helping me much. i think i understand the bleakness comments above, and part of the problem that i'm having is that the much heralded humor of this game isn't really happening as often as i expected. played fallout 2 for a little while a few years back, and i seem to remember things being a lot more clever, and a lot more fleshed out. also, wandering into a town at the wrong time and having NOTHING open until morning is needlessly frustrating. lots of people around that seem to clam up permanently when you make the wrong conversation prompt, which although realistic is incredibly frustrating (the hub seemed particularly bad in this respect).

ehh. i'm still down with finishing this, but i guess that some of the weird combination of "what the fuck am i supposed to be doing" openendedness combined with the fact that half the people i run into won't give me the time of day because of one misinterpreted response is kind of pissing me off.

do we have a next stopping point?

SANJAY BLOGDAI SANJAY (John Justen), Tuesday, 14 October 2008 08:26 (fourteen years ago) link

re: night time - press 'z' to open up the rest menu, you can choose to advance time as much as you want within a 24 hour time frame. advance it until 9 in the morning and viola.

a lot of the humor in the game, for me, is in the little text descriptions of objects in the environment. it's a lil mst3kish.

re: people clamming up, mb you need to make a better effort to kiss ppl's asses. a lot of the time it's tempting to pick the 'fuck you' dialogue choices for the entertainment factor but, just like IRL, it's not gonna get u v. far with the person ur talkin to~

also here's a random suggestion - i'm playing fallout 2 rn and i am playing a low-INT (below 4) character, and it REALLY streamlines the game because you're basically incapable of communicating with other characters. it closes down a lot of avenues as far as questing and NPC recruitment, but at the same time it protects you from fucking yourself with bad story/dialogue choices. you might wanna consider trying that.

cankles, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 16:22 (fourteen years ago) link

also, what's your charisma and speech skill at?

cankles, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 16:23 (fourteen years ago) link

i've found that pumping points into speech is super helpful - people will basically buy into whatever bullshit lie you feed them if it's high enough

cankles, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 16:24 (fourteen years ago) link

charisma is a 5, int is a 10, and i've bumped speech up to 100%. I think that maybe part of the problem is that i'm getting too many response options, so there is often a FUCK YOU option and a kinda fuck you and a wait i'm not sure i agree, and all of them seem to lead to the clamming up response.

SANJAY BLOGDAI SANJAY (John Justen), Tuesday, 14 October 2008 17:39 (fourteen years ago) link

haha yeah i feel u

in fallout 2 it's much more clearly defined wrt what the 'good' and 'bad' dialogue options - literally you will have a choice between "FUCK YOU ASSHOLE" and "good day fine sir"

cankles, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 19:00 (fourteen years ago) link

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