When I think about a game that has really gripped me recently, I immediately start to think about the game Fallout 3. Although the game originally was released six years ago in 2008, I found myself joining the bandwagon a little late, about a year ago to be exact.
Fallout 3 takes place in the post-nuclear wasteland of Washington D.C. This was actually one of the main reasons why I really wanted to play the game. I lived a big chunk of my life in the D.C./Maryland area, and I was interested to see what the area looked like when it was all destroyed. In the game, the “Capitol Wasteland” is full of monsters, raiders, ruins, and even some attempts at civilization. The game was massive, and there was so much to do over every hill that I crossed. The minute I started the game, I never wanted to stop. There was always something waiting for me…
The most important reason my Fallout really got it’s grasp on me was the massive amounts of endogenous value that it fed into the game in literally every single moment. Whether it was the rich story lines that ran through the game or the different items that were scattered throughout the land, endogenous value was every where. Let’s dig a little deeper and look at the different forms of endogenous value that the game contained.
First off, the game gave me a rich story right off the bat. In a sense, the game takes place during a large portion of your character’s life. The game puts you in the shoes of a small baby who wakes up in Vault 101, a nuclear bomb shelter. As you grow up in the vault, you start to learn different things and before you know it, there is a bigger arching story that is waiting for you. Your father ends up leaving the vault and it is up to you to go out there and find him, as well as the answers to some questions about your character’s life. The main story line alone is chock full of value that kept me playing till the end. There are story twists and surprises that all reveal themselves by the end of the game. It was simply amazing.
I felt really invested in the story. The makers of the game really did a great job of making me care about what happened. In the beginning it is implied that your character is curious about what information is being withheld from him, and I found myself extremely curious too. This in turn, made me anxious to get out there into the world and figure out the mystery for myself, just like my character.
When I finally stepped outside the vault into the harsh world that was above, I was immediately drowned in a wealth of locations that I could explore. I took a look at the map and saw my little blip on the map in comparison to the huge wasteland. This piqued my interest in finding every single location out there. It seemed like every location that I ended up finding contained it’s own story. Even the smallest shack on the map seemed like it had a connection to the main story.
I also found myself instantly starting a bunch of side quests as well. I would talk to the different NPC’s on the map and they would have their own stories to tell, and they wanted you to help them as well. For some reason, I found myself on a mission to complete every side quest I found because they all meant something to me. I can’t remember a bland side mission that I found myself doing. They all had value to the story, and I was rewarded pretty well too.
One of the most interesting parts of the game was the karma system that they instituted into the game. This concept was new to me, I’ve never played a game that had this sort of system in it. I found that everything that I did in the wasteland had some sort of positive or negative value attached to it. It really made me think as I was exploring the wasteland.
For example, you would get negative karma for killing someone, obviously. But, stealing a dish from a table in a house could give you negative karma as well. To get positive karma, you had to help other people with their troubles, if their problems didn’t involve killing another person or stealing something. In other games, there isn’t really too much consequences for helping someone, or killing someone. In Fallout, every possible thing that you did had some consequences that went with it.
Lastly, their was a wealth of items that could be found throughout the wasteland. Some items in the game are junk like tin cans or silverware but you can find other items of higher value like weapons, armor, chems, and bottle caps, which is the game’s currency. Every time I walked by a trash bin or a container, I had to check to make sure I wasn’t missing an item. You could either keep these items or sell them to the different vendors throughout the wasteland. Some people even wanted junk like tin cans, and were willing to pay me a pretty penny for them. It seemed like every item in the world had a value somewhere.
In conclusion, the endogenous value that was present in Fallout 3 was unprecedented for me. Up to that point, I never played a game that absorbed me into it’s world as much as Fallout. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences I had in a while.