Fallout: A Love/Hate Thang

I think I'm afraid of Fallout 3.

No, not in the sense of "omg there's a fire ant right on the other side of this wall," but more in the sense of its potential as a life- and energy-sucking exercise. Let me explain.

When Fallout dropped in October, I was seriously jazzed. I'd been hearing things about it for months, basically since PAX (where Bethesda had a pretty sweet retro airstream trailer set up to promote the game). I adored the '50s art style and apocalyptic concept so much that I did two things I never do: 1. I bought the game on launch day, and 2. I bought the Collector's Edition. Even as I write this I am watched cheerily by the Vault Boy bobblehead on my desk. So it's fair to say I was excited to dip my feet into the Wasteland.

Except...it's now January, I've had plenty of time to play this thing, and I'm still level 6, I think. I haven't seen DC yet, or even Rivet City. Part of the problem was getting sucked into Left 4 Dead when it came out mid-November. Still, how many holidays and weekends, or small weekday windows, have I had to explore further and further?

Call it the WoW effect. My ex keeps trying to draw me over to the Warcraft dark side, and yet I steadfastly refuse. Why? Because I know that it would steadily destroy my life. A lifelong fascination with fantasy and RPG elements paired with a barrage of quests and phat loot would mean, to me, finally giving up my toehold on life. If I give into a free trial, I may as well take out my own obituary.

Same thing with Fallout. There have been days when I think, "Okay, I'll jump back into it sometime tonight," except an hour doesn't do it, even two hours won't do it.. and there is no jumping, per se. It's a diving, a plunging. Fallout doesn't seem like just a game, it's another world, a world where one can easily get lost. It may also be a world where one doesn't want to progress after a while, just explore, explore, and explore some more. Sure, I spend a lot of time playing other things, but I don't waste hours and hours on those things intentionally. The rules are different in this case.

It's very possible that I'm addicted to games, especially in lieu of other activities normal folk enjoy. I do think it's good to have limits, hence my WoW kibosh. But to shut out Fallout, when so many have acknowledged it as an incredible game, if not GotY for 2008...I guess I have to ask myself, do I want to give myself over, or do I want some semblance of free will?

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