I had never played the older Fallout games, partly due to not having a computer growing up (I was an SNES/N64 Child), and partly due to the fact that I didn't get into gaming "culture" (for lack of a better term, by which I mean getting magazines/reading websites and knowing when new games came out). A few years ago, though, a friend of mine that I had never really hung out with all too much started raving about Fallout whenever I talked about games. It was almost inevitable when I mentioned a game with a story. I was intruiged by the setting and the 50's aesthetic, as this same friend was the same one that got me started listening to a lot of Jazz.
Anyway, fast forward to a couple of months ago, I was patiently awaiting my pre-ordered copy of the Fallout 3 Collector's edition. I was pretty impressed with Bethesda's Behind the Scenes DVD that came with Oblivion, so I figured "Why the fuck not.", and that was that. I started playing the game, and I was pretty blown away. Coming out of the Vault and seeing the sunlight for the first time, and the myriad other experiences that would likely fill a pretty thick novel if I decided to write them down (just play the game for yourself :D).
Oh yeah, Spoilers lol.
So I get to close to the end of the game. Knowing that the ending was horrible, I was still trucking through, getting Fawkes the Friendly Super-mutant, and going into the enclave hideout to talk to the president guy, and eventually going back to take back the water purifier (By the way, watching Liberty Prime come out of the building, SO COOL.). I didn't think the game would just, end, the way it did. I figured I'd save the day, and go back to being a hero of the wasteland and killing super-mutants and what have you. But, I got to save the day, and turn into a puddle of goo. Wow. Great. And now this guy's gonna narrate over my death and the stuff I did in the wasteland. Alright, cool. So I checked my save files, and the only ones that I had were 3 and four hours prior to me beginning the final quest, and the atuosaves just before going into the Jefferson memorial.
Well, I could just not play anymore. That would be the reasonable thing to do. Or... I could go bad.
I'd played the whole game up until that point as a Good character. Role-playing the goody-two-shoes Vault dweller that the character was, Or what I thought he was. Why not give myself a little leg room, kick back, and see the flames begin to crawl, as a vile, horrible bastard?
So I fired up the game again, excited to go through the Vault again, and Kill that bastard overseer who was keeping all of those innocent people inside that hell-hole, but alas, Amata hated me for liberating her from her tyrannical father. She merely shoved me out the Vault door as the security guards chased after me, not daring to come past the locking Vault door.
I continued walking, again, to the blinding light of the real sun. Looking out at the wasteland wasn't nearly as magical as it was the first time, but it still had a good impact. I'm free. Free from having to be polite to all of these peasants living out here on this hellish, arid land. I could plug that thirsty man who was out in front of Megaton with a bullet and no one would try to stop me. I was the man.
Walking around in Megaton again was a bit surreal. I knew what I was about to do, I knew these people loved me in my other file, but I had to ignore them all, all of their ails, their pleas. I went straight into Moriarity's Saloon, found out where my father was, and talked to Mr. Burke. Speaking with him in my other file (heh, anagram for 'life'), I took the "You should get out of here before I blow your head off." Approach. which worked. I was happy, the citizens of Megaton were all still alive, and I could sleep.
Not this time, though. I rigged the bomb to go off, and skipped town faster than you can say "Pensylvania Six-Five-Thousand!". I hobbled off to Tenpenny Tower to see the fruits of my labor. After never having seen Tenpenny Tower in my other file (yeah, I didn't even know it was there, really.), I was shocked to see a Ghoul outside the Tower, trying to get in. I remember, now, ThreeDog saying something about Tenpenny not letting Ghouls in to his tower. Racism. Great, just what this world needs, I thought to myself as I waited for the Ghoul to give up arguing with the security guard on the intercom. I walked up, dropped Mr. Burke's name, and I was immediately whisked up to the top floor of the tower, where I met with Mr. Burke and Tenpenny himself.
"The box is there on the table, go ahead, you've earned it." Mr. Burke said to me. I looked out over the horizon to see where Megaton was, and I opened the box, made sure I was looking at the right spot again, and pressed the button.
After the cheering of Tenpenny, and Mr. Burke just standing there, smugly, I almost threw up. I can't go back to my beloved Megaton. Sure, there were some kooks there, but they were well-meaning people. Not like the bitch that scoffed at me on my way up to the elevator in Tenpenny tower, or that guy that made some dumb remark. They all cared about me in Megaton. I don't think I'll be able to befriend anyone in Tenpenny Tower unless I "deal with" the Ghouls nearby. After the dust started to settle a little bit, I talked to Mr. Tenpenny, and asked him why he wanted Megaton blown up, and he merely replied "It was an eyesore."
At this point my heart sank. I couldn't stand to look at that little old man anymore, sunk back in his leather chair. I took the key to my swanky penthouse suite, begrudgingly, from Burke, went in, and saved my game and exited. I couldn't soil myself with that horrible character anymore. I don't know if I'm going to be able to continue playing it as an evil character. The horrible consequences of my actions are just too bleak. I'd never want to live in a world with someone, let alone let that person be part of my personality. I guess it's arguable that that character already is part of my personality, because I committed to destroying Megaton, but I'm not sure I want to see that story in Fallout 3 unfold, much less anywhere else. It just seems horrible.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is that fact that in a world where there's almost nothing to be happy about, which is arguable, in the quasi-famous words of Terra at the end of Final Fantasy VI: "It is the day to day concerns, the personal victories, and the celebration of life... and love!", there's always that glimmer of light coming in. Be it that one little girl in the Vault that's your friend, or the Ghouls hearing of Gob's fate in Megaton, and that he isn't dead. That Juxtaposition of the bleak, desolate world of the wasteland, and the sheer joy over seemingly trivial things, that are these people's lives. That, is why I love Fallout 3, and can overlook the shitty ending, because in December, someone will mod the ending out! Hooray!