Post-Apocalyptic Society

Fallout 3 is Bethesda Game Studios’ third installment in the Fallout series. Fallout takes place in the future, in a post-apocalyptic setting; while the first few installments were met with relative success, it was with Fallout 3 in 2008 that Bethesda really garnered attention for their games. Fallout 3 takes place in the post-apocalyptic wasteland in and around the D.C.-Metropolitan area, which shows the direct impact that a supposed Chinese nuclear war had on the Nation’s capitol. As a role playing game, Fallout 3 allows for the player to do whatever they please; while yes, there is a main quest/storyline, the player is free to make whatever decisions they want. Whether they choose to be a the good guy, neutral, or go crazy and kill everyone. As a result of your actions, you experience the consequences first hand. Having played Fallout 3 previously, and now that I’ve read Bogost’s How to Do Things, I’ve realized that there are multiple concepts Bogost brings up that apply to Fallout 3. For example, Fallout 3 is art; art is any form of expression that makes an impact, politically, visually, etc. Bogost’s concepts of reverence and music also apply to Fallout 3. Since Fallout 3 centers around the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., Bethesda clearly choose this setting in order to make it relevant to player’s lives, as well as make a statement considering super mutants are all over the city, even in the Capitol building itself. Seeing monuments that are symbolic of the United States in ruins brings about the reverence Bogost discussed in his book. When wandering the wasteland, one hears the sounds around them: guns firing, the wind, animals, anything that could be in the wasteland. But, with the player’s Pip-Boy 3000, they can listen to various radio station that play music from the 50’s, which stands in stark contrast to this bleak wasteland. The music present puts the player in the state of mind that war changes things, but the music still stays the same because no one is creating new music. Ultimately, the biggest thing that Fallout 3 really stands out for is the fact that the player is free to make whatever decisions they please. Fallout manages to show what society would be like if for lack of a better phrase, everything went to shit. In the end, I believe that Fallout 3 is a commentary on human nature itself, seeing as everything in the game depends upon the choices the player makes. Fallout-wp7-1680x1050

  3 comments for “Post-Apocalyptic Society

  1. Edward
    March 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I totally agree that Fallout 3 was a game of art due to the political and social aspects that the game presented throughout the vault-hunter’s journey through the wasteland. Fallout 3’s chilling intro (video bottom) narrated by Ron Perlman sets up the timeline for Fallout 3 and is regarded as one of the best intros in video games. Fallout 3’s atmosphere of the wasteland is also considered one of the best video game ‘worlds’ out there.

    In Fallout 3 you never know what or who is around the corner. For example, you may enter a desolate town and wonder to yourself where everyone is at only to encounter a full horde of deathclaws roaming the town. Fallout 3’s wasteland has multiple stories being told all the time whether they are story missions or subtle clues that give an idea of what has happened or what is happening.

    Fallout 3 examines human nature throughout the game and even though the world has been raged by nuclear fire, humans still don’t necessarily work with each other. It is this examination of human nature that makes Fallout 3 one of the best games I have played this console generation.

  2. jabbott2
    March 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Some good points here. Fallout 3 did a great job of mixing fiction and reality. As global tensions rise and the potential threat of nuclear war and paranoia seems to rise, the idea of a post-apocalyptic D.C. area resonates with the fears of many. This allows us to connect to many of the environments and potential situations. It ups our relationship to the circumstances. However, the incorporation of mutated monsters, such as deathclaws, brings us back to reality that this is NOT reality, thus allowing us to engage it as a work of fiction.

    The choices you make whether they be good or bad alter our character and how he/she interacts with the residents in the wasteland. Even though I recognize that the characters in the game are completely fictional, I always have a difficult time straying from the straight and narrow path and doing harm to others. A big theme in the game is isolation. I recall feeling a great sense of joy every time I would come across a big city with lots of people because I didn’t feel alone anymore. To do harm to those who do not deserve it isolates oneself even more. However, after total completion not much is left in the game but to go rogue and turn your back on your pious nature.

    In other words:

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