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Stumping in the wasteland: On the politics of Fallout
Editorial - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Wed 9 March 2011, 12:22:44Tags: Fallout: New Vegas
Bitmob editorialise about the politics of Fallout and they found a political philosophy that is grim, cynical, and yet hopeful at the same time.
Fallout has received heaps of praise from gamers and critics alike. They love to talk about the innovative combat, the fantastically dismal environments and art design, and its grim sense of humor. It isn’t often, however, that people talk about the subtext of the game. This might not the case if the outcomes in the games -- especially the most recent two: Bethesda’s Fallout 3 and Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas -- weren’t so entirely dependent on player choice.
Gamers and journalists alike can analyze the themes and values of a title like Bioshock much easier than they can with open-ended role-playing games such as these. After all, an ending for one player might be entirely different from that of another. This is even more likely when you consider that they have the ability to ignore the main quest and the story entirely. Still, it is entirely possible to analyze the politics of the Fallout series by examining numerous aspects that don't depend on player interaction. When we do so, we find a political philosophy that is grim, cynical, and yet hopeful at the same time.
Politics at the End of the World
The narrative threads of every Fallout title can be traced back to one singular event: the worldwide nuclear holocaust known as the Great War. In a timeline divergent from ours, the Cold War ended in Communism and Capitalism annihilating each other with their equally enormous arsenals of mass destruction. Before the player even comes to life in Vault 101 or wakes up with a new cranium in the Mojave Desert, the far-reaching effects of “old world” politics can already be felt.
No one is entirely sure who fired the first shots -- for all the irradiated descendants know, China and America unleashed their bombs at the exact same moment. One thing is certain, however: Armageddon is the natural endgame for a world divided by extremist politics -- at least in the Fallout universe. With natural resources dwindling and the arms race as heated as ever, the political ideologues of the world reached the conclusion that if they can’t rule the world, no one will. Yet, the world in which players find themselves is most certainly not a post-political environment.
Spotted at: GB