A lot of this probably sounds ridiculously obvious to those who have been playing video games for a while, but in the span between my two first loves (Pokemon and Super Godzilla for the Super Nintendo) and Batman: Arkham Asylum, I never beat a single-player game. The last example I had for reference when it came to video game endings was some text across the top of a screen saying that I had saved the day and that it was time to return to the ocean. It's wonderfully simple and may as well have been replaced by the words "YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FATE." It's because of this, and the fact that I am a giant dummy, that I initially felt slighted by the idea that, if I wanted a certain ending, I'd have to go back through the game and do meticulous things to ensure it.
Kill one Little Sister and you're Jesus.
Kill two Little Sisters and you're Satan.
I was forced to think ahead. Where did I see myself in five years? It also forced me to embrace YouTube as a way to forego having to grind through a game in order to get to the certain points where my input would make a difference. If I want to know what happens when I spare some bad guy's life, all I have to do is type that into YouTube and I can have it, with or without commentary, in 25 different parts. We've moved past the era of "This is all cat videos!" into a new age of "This is 95 percent video game walkthroughs and 5 percent makeup tutorials." And I will embrace this transition, because I'd love to see every possible finale for Heavy Rain without having to sigh again.
You Have To Adapt Your Play Style To Survive
Fallout 3 is butthole depressing. Everyone in that game has come to terms with the fact that their family has been mutilated and all they have left are tin cans on the floor. You spend 30 dialogue options trying to tell an orphan boy that he will be OK, and he'll respond with telling you about how doomed you are. Whatever, dirty shack baby. I own both a laser pistol AND a hunting rifle. I am the closest thing that this wasteland will ever get to a Jesus metaphor, a word that I doubt you can learn from all of the ruined books every town seems to have lying around.
But you can get the idea from watching this dystopian movie that is still
much more preferable to the world you live in.
For years, I'd operated under the notion that the difficulty curve of video games was a steady one. Fallout 3 gave me an entirely new mantra for guidance: "Sometimes, you're just going to be killed and there is nothing you can do about it." I would be walking toward missions when, suddenly, I'd come across giant mutants that would eviscerate me while I tried to use a pistol to graze them to death. During one of the first parts of the game, I ran into a giant scorpion that pursued me across literally the entire map.
Every once in a while, I would turn back to see if the unkillable arachnid was still chasing me, and there it would remain, undeterred by Operation: 4 Miles Of Running. It only stopped when I jogged past a merchant, who gave his life to save me by attracting the scorpion's attention. The scorpion slaughtered him and scuttled away, and then I looted the hero's body. If you've never played Fallout 3, I'm sure that sounds horrific, but Fallout 3's tagline is "What Do Dead People Have In Their Pockets?" That game is a grave-robbing tutorial.
Bethesda Game Studios
"You would have wanted me to have all your caps and bobby pins."
Video games usually have a "totally poke the bears" mentality. Fallout 3 gives you the "come back to the bears when you're ready" option, which is far more like real life. You hear that, North Carolina Zoo? That's the sound of me getting ready for Round 2. You can see the bears and get bullied by the bears, so you go find some smaller bears and kick the crap out of them. You do this until you're wearing the best anti-bear armor available in the abandoned crates of the dystopia, and then you come back to the bigger bears.
My old play style simply wouldn't work in this revolution of narrative freedom and bears of varying rank. There is no one method that dictates your actions anymore. Instead, when you can't kill something, you just kill everything around it and then come back to it. When one door closes, you smash through the rest of the doors until you find a key.
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For more from Daniel, check out 6 Classic Horror Films You See Differently in a New Audience and 5 Ways 'The Fast and the Furious' Is Better Than You Realize.
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