I love the Fallout game series, almost as much as I love myself. See, my obsession with the apocalypse chiefly stems from the belief that whatever monumental disaster wipes out the rest of humanity will obviously leave me wholly intact. Because I'm me, and you can't spell 'awesome' without 'M-E.' To increase immersion, New Vegas introduces a 'hardcore' mode that adds a bevy of more realistic features to the game: You need to eat, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep to stay alive, there are more lasting consequences to injury, and your companions can die permanent deaths in battle. And this has finally allowed me to combine my two greatest loves - myself and the death of humanity - like never before: I started one of these 'realistic' games, and vowed to play it as if it were really me in there. My traits, my habits, my morals. Along the way, I learned some things. Horrible, scarring things that I wish I could now deny. Such as:
Apparently the only thing stopping me from living in a hand-built castle forged from old People Magazines and cat corpses, is the amount of physical effort involved. Hoarding is just too much work in real life, and to be honest, I'm simply not organized enough. My virtual self, of course, is untroubled by the hellish tribulations of lifting and moving things with his arms, and so I've learned that, when there are no physical requirements to collecting garbage, I will instantly transform into an eighty year old widow whose family doesn't visit so much anymore. In New Vegas my character refuses to throw literally anything away on the off-chance that, somewhere down the line, I might discover a secret formula that lets me combine a coffee pot, two boxes of macaroni and cheese, and a pound of gunpowder into the world's deadliest superweapon.
It fires toasters. See? IT'S ALL USEFUL.
The end result is a grizzled and dangerous warrior, trundling around the virtual post-apocalypse performing great and heroic deeds - saving the president, fighting off ravenous demons, freeing captured sex slaves - who simply will not stop until he either accomplishes his mission, or stumbles across an abandoned dresser containing six irons, a pressure cooker, and seventy-two empty cola bottles.
If I'd Realized This About Myself Sooner:
I'd still have the complete Moon Knight catalogue, and those knee-pads I bought during that week in '93 when we all collectively forgot how gay rollerblading looks. Those are collector's items now, man!
I genuinely went into this game trying to behave with the same set of morals, standards and personality traits that I have in real life, for better or worse. And for the most part, my video game counterpart is a good person: He doesn't steal, he doesn't hurt the innocent, he always tries to help when he can, and he occasionally murders senior citizens for their eyeglasses.
When you first start the game, you have the option of choosing genetic traits for yourself - a series of attributes with both negative and positive repercussions. One of them is called Four Eyes, and it gives you a bonus for wearing glasses, a penalty for not. Since I wear glasses in real life, and the trade-off seemed fair, I took it. But I was stupidly figuring that if you built a character who has needed glasses for their entire life, and you join them sometime in their early twenties, they would have either found a pair of fucking glasses by now, or else died by comically falling into an open manhole. I was wrong. After several hours of wandering the desolate nuclear deserts half-blind and miraculously stumbling to accidental victory like Mr. Magoo, I finally found what is apparently the last pair of prescription eyeglasses in the entire world...resting on the face of a kindly, if a bit gossipy old woman running a beat-down hotel. There was no hesitation: I took one look at her face, double-checked that the door was locked, walked back over to her desk, and put six bullets in her face. For her glasses.
I really like those frames, ma'am...If I'd Realized This About Myself Sooner:
Well, I've paid for prescription eyeglasses about six times in my life, at an average of around $150 per pair. So if I'd come to this shattering self-realization sooner, that would've meant two things:
1. I would have saved like $900 dollars.
2. I would've gone down in the record books as the Third Least Intimidating Serial Killer in History, just behind Penguin Ted and the Soft Hands Strangler.
New Vegas presents you with a list of companions to take along on each mission, and they all have specific traits, fighting styles, and 'perks' (special abilities they grant the player when travelling with you). Here is the list: An impossibly strong, schizophrenic purple hulk, who grants you nigh-invisibility.
The best sniper in the world and overall murder machine, who highlights your targets for you in the dark.
An adorable hipster girl with explosive fists, who allows you to build weapons on the fly.
An effete gay doctor with a laser gun (and later, full robot armor) who helps you heal faster.
A Mexican Zombie MacGyver, who fixes all of your shit for you.
And a redneck chick who is utterly useless in battle, has no redeeming personality traits, and has a history of alcohol abuse.
Guess which one is going on an epic journey that will change the fate of mankind forever?
Yep. It's the glorified Denny's waitress. Why? Well, her special power - the perk she grants your character whenever she's around - is the ability to get slightly drunker than usual, and to wake up without hangovers. This is the team I decided was best suited for saving the ravaged world from itself: A girl whose turn-ons include "Muddin'" and The Boot Scootin' Boogie, one squirrely bearded dude wearing a fire helmet, and eighty-two bottles of whiskey.
If I'd Realized This About Myself Sooner:
I would have been wearing fire helmets more often. That's just a good look.
Oh, and I would have also died of alcohol poisoning.