Many thoughts go through my head as I traverse the Wasteland.
"Is that a yao guai?"
"Everyone is so rude."
"Raiders pick fights then run away. Why?"
"Oooh, another lunchbox!"
And so many more along those lines. However, the most consistent thought that runs through my head is, "What would I actually do?" I'm going to be optimistic here and say there's a very good chance that I'll never find out. That's good because, realistically, I'm thinking I wouldn't fare too well.
My repertoire of gaming doesn't hold a spot for violent shooters, or games with any semblance of realism. When things look too real I find myself getting freaked out. This is especially true for any first person perspective games. I don't know about you, but it feels like I'm right there getting shot at! My visceral response is quite strong and it makes for a difficult time staying alive in-game. I'm not sure how many times I've jumped, squealed and/or yelled out of legitimate fright while playing Fallout 3. It has even happened once while playing Minecraft, which was hilarious.
I believe I've mentioned it here before, but I'm going to go ahead and reiterate just in case; I love Fallout, I've been a fan of the series for ten years (which may not be long compared to others, but still). I played Fallout 2 and loved it, and I was so psyched when Fallout 3 was announced. I was working at GameStop at the time and was constantly surrounded by posters, previews and general hype. I wanted to get it so badly, but a few things were standing in my way. Firstly, the lack of a PS3, xbox360, or a PC capable of running it were a big issue. Secondly, all of the footage I had seen, and my extremely exciting hands-on playing experience at PAX 2008, provided enough evidence to let me know that the game was extremely realistic, graphic, and put a large emphasis on first person shooting. Le sigh.
The one silver lining here was that the guy I was dating at the time owned a PS3, and was most interested in the game. He ended up getting the fancy edition at my request (read: begging) because I desperately wanted the lunchbox. I still had plans and hopes of playing, but after watching him play through I sadly decided it was just too realistic and gross. Limbs flying off, heads exploding, "searching" an errant eyeball. Ew. But still I longed, and harbored dreams of someday sucking it up and playing through the game.
Fast forward to present day, and I'm here in California with Andrew. He has Fallout 3 for his PC, and I moaned and groaned to him about everything I just stated above. He urged me to give it a try, insisting that he'd sit with me and protect me and help me if things got difficult or too scary. I was hesitant, but it has been almost a full three years since the game was released so I thought it was about time I at least tried.
My gameplay started slow, just a few sessions here and there. But now we are playing for hours every night. I cannot get enough. The game still scares me, the graphics are too real and the flying limbs are absolutely disgusting, but it is so fun.
This has been round-about, but it brings me to my point. What would I do? Well, for the most part I try to do what I would do. I always pick the nicest option I can, and I opt to help everyone. I give purified water to the people that ask for it, and I give caps to those that ask. You see, I simply cannot be mean or reckless. It makes me feel horribly guilty. I know it's just a game and just AI, but that doesn't matter to me. Andrew gives me crap for donating caps, but it makes me feel good. Fake, electronic good feelings. They still count!
The moral stuff hasn't been too difficult to figure out so far, so keeping my karma at a medium-to-high level has been easy, but we're starting in on some higher level quests that pose very interesting choices.
For instance, my first run-in with a slaver was horrible. I was appalled at his presence and wondered aloud why on earth he wasn't listed as red/enemy on my radar. Every time I see them I want to kill them, even though since they're green it'll lose me karma. But how messed up is that? I will lose karma for ridding the Wasteland of slavers?! My in-game karma is very important to me, but they make me want to waiver. Andrew said there's something coming up later in the game that will have a boatload of slavers and I'll have some decisions to make. I've made my decision. I'll just have to hand out lots of purified water later xD
I recently came into a quest regarding an android that ran away from its maker. I had been tasked with returning it, and then suddenly during my searches to locate the android I was given the option to let the android be free and to report back to the maker that it was 'dead'. I'm not yet sure what I plan on doing. I really enjoy helping people with their quests, but an in-game character made a very impassioned plea on behalf of the android to let him be free. DECISIONS!
To preface this next instance, I'm going to explain that I am absolutely, positively, obnoxiously freaked out by bugs of almost all kinds. I lose my mind and scream and my goodness is it annoying. It's automatic though, I can't help it. Being faced with enormous bugs in Fallout hasn't been fun, per se, but it also hasn't terrified me, which is a relief. I can handle fake bugs, but not fake spiders. Oh no. None of that nonsense.
After a few rousing sessions of gaming and an increased familiarity with the enemies (also the enemies getting larger and more difficult), I was on the hunt for raiders in one of the many dilapidated buildings. As I snuck down a hallway and watched the red dashes appear on my radar, I readied my shotgun for some close combat. I opened the door in front of me to reveal... radroaches.
"Oh" I said, "It's only radroaches!"
I had my in-game character stand up and switch to a lead pipe. Andrew laughs from behind me and says, "If you saw cockroaches that big, you would lose your mind." I laughed as well and agreed with him. I've only actually seen a cockroach twice in my life. Once when I was nine and in Hawaii (it was large) and again just last night! Andrew and I were coming home in the evening and as we approached the front steps of the house I saw something move and jumped back and yelped. He looked down and around and finally saw it.
"What is that?!" I asked horrified.
"It's a cockroach." He said.
It looked nothing like the cockroach I had seen when I was younger, and it also didn't look like the majority of the ones I see online or in books or TV shows.
"It's really small." I commented, bending down for a closer look.
"Seriously? That thing is big." He remarked.
I continued to stare at it, inching closer. At this point it decided to play possum and became very still. It had these crazy long antennae and a long narrow body. I thought it was some sort of grasshopper at first. Andrew then warned me that some kinds of cockroaches like to jump, and he wasn't sure if this kind would, so I promptly stood up straight and stepped away. I wish I had taken a picture of it! It made me think of the radroaches though, and how my in-game character beats the crap out of them with baseball bats, lead pipes and nail boards. Could I ever kill anything with a baseball bat, even a huge bug?
I don't think I'd ever survive in the Wasteland.