Fallout 3: Reality Horror - Destructoid

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7:10 PM on 02.11.2013

Fallout 3 is widely known as one of the greatest games of this generation, and possibly all time. It is simply described as a perfect balance of combat, story, and environment. Fallout 3's main stage is the District of Columbia, or Washington, DC. I live in DC, and absolutely love it. Nice people, Obama, great food... it's all so nice. But Fallout 3 gave me a horribly accurate vision of my home. Fallout 3 managed to do something no other form of media has been able to do. Fallout 3, quite literally, made me feel unsafe in my own home.

What if you were to return to your house after a long trip, only to find it destroyed? That's sort of how I felt when playing Fallout 3. Here was a recreation of a place I knew so well, but everything was torn apart and destroyed. The White House, an image of hope, was barely standing. The Washington Monument was in shambles. Everything I knew was gone.

Seeing landmarks I was so familiar with like that was one of the most unnerving experiences I've had. I have always enjoyed immersing myself in a video game's world, but upon playing Fallout 3, I found myself trying to escape. I loved the game dearly, but I almost hated it for the way it made me felt. Nights were spent staring at my ceiling, nearly petrified at what I had seen.

Even recalling my experiences years later scares me. I've always been afraid of my country being attacked. I guess growing up with diehard American parents does that to you. But Fallout 3 not only amplified that fear, it made it feel like a reality. I would pass by the Washington Monument on my daily runs and flashback to Fallout 3's depiction of it. I would see the Capitol Building on my way to work and would think about it crumbling.

Every time I would boot up the game, I would quickly find myself in a hostile environment, with my former symbols of hope surrounding me. I could barely play the game without a slight emptiness in my chest and lingering fear in my heart. That is true horror. Horror is not a jumpscare in a corridor. Horror is not a flimsy ghost story. Horror is unnerving fear removing your sense of security. I have never felt so absolutely alone than after playing Fallout 3.

I applaud Obsidian for what they were able to accomplish. Fallout 3 is a masterpiece. Fallout 3 is also one of the scariest games I've played, and I'm not too sure if any other game will make me feel the same. That game was able to legitimately terrify me for months, and part of me is still scared. Am I overreacting? This is just a videogame, right? Yes, but in the same way Silence Of The Lambs and The Exorcist are just movies. Sure, they're not real, but that won't stop you from being terrified.

But would I like to revisit this chilling wasteland? Yes. While in those few months I experienced terror, I managed to come out stronger. I've mentioned before that I've lived a sheltered life, so maybe seeing my home like that strengthened me. Fallout 3 might have possibly made me a stronger man, like when you brave a roller coaster or watch a scary movie in the dark as a kid. Afterwards, you feel better. You're glad you went through what you did, and it's rewarding. That's what Fallout 3 made me feel.

I'm not too sure if many people consider Fallout 3 when they think of horror games, but that game managed to tear my home apart and remove my sense of security. Who knew a game could do that? Who knew a game could strike pure terror into an adult's heart and also make them feel stronger afterwards? I sure as hell didn't.

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