Dec 012008

In my last post I argued that the V.A.T.S. represents Fallout 3‘s most compelling argument for a life driven by violence and the exercise of power. It’s important to have an argument in that vein, because the mass media, including video games, have a pronounced tendency to represent evil people as purely unbalanced or crazy. This is unfair to the mentally ill, to be sure, but it is also unfair to evil. The wicked life has attractions beyond sheer gibbering insanity, which is why so many perfectly rational people are heartless and cruel. The problem with Fallout 3 is that [Read more…]

Power’s joy and sorrow

 Critique, Role Playing Games  Comments Off on Power’s joy and sorrow
Nov 252008
Power's joy and sorrow

I do not enjoy Fallout 3‘s Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, because I know what it does. I understand the goal of its slow-motion, dramatic camera angles, and sound distortion. The fountains of blood and gore, arms and legs and heads flying off from precision bullet strikes, speak to the worst excesses of action movies and gladiatorial combat. Death becomes entertainment for the hooting savage; the moral weight of murder disappears in the antigravity of bizarre ragdoll physics. In short, V.A.T.S. makes killing awesome. But killing is not awesome, not ever, because each time it happens somebody dies. I know this, [Read more…]