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The Good, The Bad and The Glitchy - Fallout: New Vegas, an Exercise in Patience


Itís been a while since a game has engaged me on a level beyond that of its mechanics and managed to challenge me emotionally. My hours spent with Fallout: New Vegas were filled with mixed emotions, not the least of which were due to the constant need for a hard reset of the console after the game had frozen or a glitch had made progress impossible. Despite the frustration over these bugs, it was the moments in between, when I noticed that I genuinely cared about the world I was in and the consequences of my actions, that made the experience an unforgettable one.

I felt so immersed in the game that Iíve since written a lengthy narrative recounting my play-through from my characterís perspective. Using an excerpt from the narrative, Iíll illustrate the conflict I consistently faced while playing F:NV:

ďOne notable quandary I faced concerned the ĎBoomers,í a xenophobic group of refugees formerly from one of the many secure fallout shelters, or vaults. They had taken up residence at an abandoned Air Force base, using howitzers to fend off any and all outsiders, whom they referred to as savages. The Boomers believed that, during their time spent living in the underground vault, the world had been overrun by savages devoid of any humanity and that it was their destiny to one day salvage a B-25 bomber resting at the bottom of Lake Mead, then use it to bomb all of the wastelandís savages into oblivion. According to them, I was the prophetic savage who would one day successfully cross their defenses and lead them to their destiny. This presented a problem to me, as it implied that I was to be an accessory to genocide.

For a moment, I considered the possibility that I shouldnít help these dangerous people, worse still that perhaps I should eliminate them and the threat that they posed. My mind raced to justify this course of action; it was safer this way, easier. As I drew my rifle and prepared to become the monster, I was approached by the only thing that could have stayed my hand... a small child. She approached me with the unabashed innocence that only a little girl can manifest...Ē

...and time stopped. Not because of some magical moment, but because the game had frozen. Suddenly I wasnít Stella, Guardian of the Wastes, anymore; I was in my living room, my sense of immersion evaporated.

My experience with F:NV was riddled with moments like this. In fact, the more I played and accomplished, the more often the game would lock up. It got so bad one day that the game froze and needed restarting three times in ten minutes. If not for the autosave feature, I probably would have ended up throwing my PS3 out the window. I got tired of watching the game load back up every hour or so (the load times were often painfully long), so I eventually decided to do sets of pushups, sit-ups and pullups every time the game froze. Let me tell you, I felt the burn the day after I decided to start that.

That I actually continued to play F:NV until the very end is a testament to its narrative and immersive quality. I wanted to keep getting lost in those engaging situations; so I pushed on and saw my quest through to the end. I wonít be playing F:NV again anytime soon (my patience for glitches has been thoroughly exhausted), but Iím glad I stuck with it. It truly was a fun game and a great story to be a part of for a while, but Bethesda, please donít release another product if you know itís going to have that many issues. Do it for me?
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About DiscoStuone of us since 1:34 PM on 05.02.2011

Stu Strock has been gaming since his parents sat him in their laps while playing games on an Amiga. Raised mostly on RPGs, he has since developed a keen interest in the narrative potential and immersive qualities of games. As games progressed and evolved over the years, that interest grew and Stu decided to keep games and their culture close by. During high school and college, he worked part-time for Gamestop and became exposed to a wider range of thought concerning what the word game means to players. Now a recent graduate, Stu is currently living in Atlanta, GA and maintains his blog, Experience Points, which seeks to encourage the open discourse of the creation, enjoyment and potential of modern games.

Stu's favorites: Metal Gear Solid (series), Chrono Trigger/Cross, Breath of Fire (series), Grandia, Suikoden (I and II), Final Fantasy (VIII, X and XII), Mirror's Edge, Demon's Souls, Silent Hill (series), Eternal Sonata, Fallout: New Vegas, Batman Arkham Asylum, Legend of Zelda (series), Okami, Ys (series), Valyrie Profile, Kingdom Hearts (series), Tales of Symphonia, Twisted Metal (series), Legacy of Kain (series), Gex (series), Heavy Rain, Wing Commander IV, Ace Combat (series), Zone of the Enders (series), Atelier Iris (I and II), Ico, Shadow of the Colossus

Stu is Currently Playing: Demon's Souls, Grandia
PSN ID:StuttgartStu87


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