Fallout Games Popularity; An Apocalyptic Nostalgia

The Fallout Games; where nostalgia meets the apocalypse.
Megan Dobson

The Fallout TV show’s popularity caused a surge of pre-existing fans to run back into the wasteland and once again embark on an adventure. What about these Fallout games that are so charismatic in capturing player hearts? Let’s investigate the magic behind these games and remind us of the fun to be had. 

The Fallout Games Concept of the 1950s Meets The Apocalyptic Future

One thing that makes the Fallout games instantly recognisable is the collision of the 50s aesthetic thrown 200 years in the future. When we adventure the wasteland and find these trinkets of what the world looked like before the bombs destroyed the world. Players find themselves reminded of what came before, in a nostalgia-evoking experience.

We are reminded of the visuals some may have seen of the vintage aesthetics the 50s provide. This is mixed with nostalgia for the pre-war world your character now lives in. The rich world-building and design aesthetics are visually pleasing and the soundtrack is instantly recognisable. Even the topic choice is fitting for a 50’s noir style aesthetics.

Nick Valentine in Diamond City.

The Colliding fight between societies’ fear of technological advancement and the stubbornness to stay routed to what is known mirrors the Fallout world’s most poignant topic. The fear of nuclear fallout destroying the world, and the distrust we and the people have in placing our futures into our retrospective government’s hands. Despite this doom and gloom, I think Fallout can save us by reminding us that, while war never changes, neither does the human spirit.

The Fallout Games Gameplay

One thing I personally loved as a player, especially in Fallout 4, was the glimpse into pre-war life. Controlling the atom and technologically advancing society in the 1950s is a unique and original concept. Bethesda is known for such concepts, like The Elder Scrolls series. But the Fallout world pushes this one step forward.

At the beginning of Fallout 4, when you are wandering around your home with your family, the visuals of bright reds and duck-egg blues are crisp and clean. Then, the sirens go off and the apocalypse begins. Emerging from the vault you ran to for safety, 200 years later, the wasteland greets you with dull, dirty, and saturated tones in a destroyed world.

Footage of Nate and Dogmeat travelling the Commonwelth in Fallout Games

The game design in the Fallout series is designed well. The open-world playability the game encourages really creates a connection between you and your character. Exploring the wasteland through an open-world mechanic provides many dungeons. They vary in levelled beasts and difficulty. They also provide essential lore that really displays Bethesda’s storywriting abilities.

Are the Fallout Games for me? 

While I have spoken kindly about the Fallout games, the series is not without struggle. The historical flop of Fallout 76’s launch crashed in flames due to its constant unplayable bugs and controversial microcharges. Luckily, Fallout 76 is the only game in the series to be lacking so much.

Some of the older games like Fallout: New Vagas and Fallout 3 are not yet remastered. The graphics are a little clunky. But with a continuous and steady modding community, semi-regular updates and a multiple-choice ending, the Fallout games are fun.

If you came here straight from the TV show and are wondering whether to play the games or not, I’d recommend giving the games a chance. With the design in the TV show so loyally created to match the landscapes of the Wasteland it has made me play the games once again. Viewers of the show may find themselves enjoying a visit to the Fallout games. 

The Wasteland Army; Fallout 4’s Minute men…Friend, or foe? 

Since the TV show’s popularity, there has been an increase in player traffic in the Fallout games. I find that a common complaint that is ridiculed on TikTok and social media is, to my surprise, the minute men. Players find Preston Garvey to be unbearable as a character, despite being the most morally selfless in Fallout 4 companion choices.

Because of this, I decided to return to the game, and I did find him tedious. His constant request for assistance and random attacks on settlements mid-quests can be quite stressful. More so when building and mid-quest.

The inability to clean the settlements is annoying. The loud generators are headache-inducing. Hauling all the junk to and from each settlement and the wasted precious skill points in setting up trade lines leaves me a little fatigued. Preston as a companion required a lot of work. 

Despite this, I believe the critique of the Minute Men is a little harsh. After all, Preston’s a good guy. The Minute Men seem to help anyone in need, unlike many faction choices in the game. The ability to seize a castle as the head of the army feels powerful. If you are a good-aligned character, they are the perfect choice. If you are bad, then you can just ignore them. 

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, the Fallout games’ popularity is justified. Their nostalgic-inducing game design, ever-present social anxieties, catchy soundtrack and exciting gameplay make for a great open-world game. Translating these factors into the sci-fi genre makes for interesting and unique storytelling too.

Despite not all the games working perfectly, I think they are great and incredibly repayable. If you liked the series, I’m sure you will love the Fallout games.  

Where there is a will to live, you and your character sure can find a way to do so, even in the worst conditions. I think this hopefulness is why Fallout is so magically charismatic. 

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