Man, I miss memory cards.
Back when the PlayStation 2 was considered next-gen, memory cards provided an easy way to bring your game and experiences to other consoles. Your friend has a PS2 but doesn’t have the characters you’ve unlocked? Swap his card with yours and it’s like you never left, no cords required. It was simple, easy, and relatively painless (“What the-?! Where’s all my progress? Where are all my characters?! DID MY SAVE GET-Oh, it’s on the other card”). So when I had to move at the beginning of this summer the most difficult part of the move was parting with my Fallout 4 save file on my roommate’s PS4. I’m aware that a simple USB stick could’ve preserved the file, but something went weird and maybe it wasn’t formatted correctly or whatever but there was no getting my data on that stick, and I definitely didn’t want to sign up for PSN. So I had to bid farewell to my progress and achievements as I packed up and headed to a new home.
Fortunately for me, my new roommate owns a PS4 as well as a copy of Fallout 4. Now, what you’re suspecting is true, I still haven’t beaten the story in Fallout 4. I have a pretty clear idea of the various twists and turns the plot takes (It all takes place in one of the snow globes from Fallout: New Vegas as a Super Mutant’s dream, I think) but I still feel compelled to play it and beat it. I mentioned this to Marcus, Top Shelf’s Commissar of Content, and he was amazed that I’d put myself through that again.
This is a game that during its initial hype was reputed to have been played for 400 hours and still had things to offer, so there’s a lot to cover. Now, granted, I wasn’t that far into it when I had to quit, so it definitely helps that there’s a bevy of new things to discover. Plus there’s always the alluring possibility that I’ll blow all my food money on the DLC that’s come out since I originally played, so there’s even more world to discover in there. At one point TSG published an article about being completely suffocated at the sheer openness of some open-world games, but I’m very much just the opposite; there’s so much to see and do that all I’m really worried about is devoting too much time to it again. I’m also just a really big fan of Fallout and the universe, so re-wrapping myself up in that world is something I’m interested in doing.
And while I’d love to write another semi-pedantic article about how much I value storytelling in video games, and how the twists and turns of the plot that I haven’t uncovered are worth listening to “Rocket 69” another hundred times, I think there’s also a certain feeling that I “have” to finish this game. An attitude that if I’m gonna actively write about video games it behooves me to play as many as I can, especially games like Fallout 4. An introspective think piece on how challenging it can be to write about video games when you’ve never been on top of the mainstream gaming curve is an article for another time, but let me just say that it’s challenging to write about video games when I’ve ever been on top of the mainstream gaming curve. Sure there’s Let’s Plays and plot synopses abound that I can use to discuss how things go, but nothing really compares to playing a game to get a good feeling for it. So getting back into a game like Fallout 4 and really giving more than a college try I think kinda helps me to gain a better understanding for other games as well as more of a sense of legitimacy as someone who thinks they can write about games and have people take that writing seriously. This is another article as well, but as far as I know the key to writing for video games, surprisingly enough, is to play video games and then write about them. So don’t worry, kids, you too can blather on the internet about video games someday.
So in addition to finally finding my goddamn son I guess the reason I’m still playing Fallout 4 is that, after the annoyance of doing the exact same things over again to advance the plot has worn off, I simply want to keep playing. I want to get back in that world and explore and figure stuff out. I want to grow and develop my character and make better decisions and feel a rush of accomplishment again. And also because I feel like I have this duty to know about the game and be able to talk about it and explain it. I don’t claim to be an expert on video games but if I’m gonna write about ‘em it would help to know what the hell I’m talking about. So in that respect there’s plenty of replay value for me personally, while some people might just want play the game, digest it, and then file it away for memory. I think it’s also an interesting testament to the multipurpose nature of games, that they can be used for solely entertainment or for edification purposes, or just a way to keep up with the times. So, yeah, Marcus, that’s why I’m still playing Fallout 4.
And since I’ve been told this is a thing, I turn it to you nerds; what makes you wanna play a game over again, especially a longer game like Fallout?