The Fallout Parent
The Fallout Parent
Definition: The guardian of an active toddler or child who faces a challenging situation when trying to find brief moments of time to play one of the best RPGs of all time.
I grew up a console gamer and did not get my first PC until late in life (Ah, the joys of growing up poor in Alabama). So I missed the crazy wave of old school classic video games when the first came out: Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Wasteland, Baldur's Gate and more. Instead it was just me and my console, my prized possession that took nearly a year to save for and buy.
So when Fallout 3 was coming out, I was psyched! Could it be true? A game that happened in my city, that was an RPG in a sci-fi setting and with a customizable character creation? For me this meant no stock generic (white) hero, but instead, a suave black gunslinger wandering the wasteland bringing justice (with words or deadly hot plasma) and a quick quip. And then New Vegas hit! Another gold mine of a game but I've got to point out -- the music was not as good. I missed Three Dog and those damn Rad Scorpios for the first few levels. For me, New Vegas was fun but Fo3 was better and spoke to me more. It could be that whole first Doctor syndrome (the first one you encounter is your favorite).
Now I'm a console and PC gamer with a love for modding. This has enabled me to play amazing content created by fans to play other fans' ideas. There are so many talented people that could be working for gaming companies out there.
Then Fallout 4 was announced. Gleeful excitement but an under layer of concern. Would it live up to expectations? This would be the first time Fallout had ever added voice actors for the protagonist. Awesome! Of course, I ordered it instantly when it dropped and got my Pipboy edition.
When I put the disc into my Ps4, this was different. And not just because I had been battling a vicious cold that won out. No . . . no . . . I hear the mental laughing about the sick notes for work from Bethesda but alas, my sickness was not of the wasteland.
The crazy thing is, this is the Fallout game that I was not able to just sit down and play for hours on end. I devoured the first two and did not emerge from the vault for weeks, having logged more hours than I will admit. Other than going to work, which usually had me talking about the game with co-workers, I was all Fallout all the time. But that was not an option this time. This time, I am the parent of an incredibly brilliant, energetic and funny two-year-old toddler, and she pretty much takes up all of my free time, which then leaves both of us worn out. I think about how I want to play this game, where I could easily sink 100 hours into exploring the world, getting every perk, finding every bobblehead and now no LEVEL LIMIT! I remember how it used to be just me, Fallout, and a heavy pour of Lagavulin. For the week or so that I have had the game and my awesome daughter, I have logged maybe 10 hours and those were hours that should have been spent writing. Yea. My insomniac hours. These are the choices a Fallout Parent makes.
My actually thoughts on the game? It is incredible. It is a feels like a vastly improved version of F03 taking all of the good things from New Vegas, stuff the fans have asked for and some have created, and rolled into one game. Is it perfect? No, but it is a crap ton of fun and focuses more on the world, the people you meet and gives you a simple motivation to get you started.
The constant struggle of geeking vs. good parenting . . . I am slowly discovering the path. I will eventually introduce my daughter to gaming when she is older but perhaps something more kid-friendly to begin (as her dad loves the Bloody Mess Perk!).
All of this really struck home on Saturday; after her nap, all I wanted to do was try to sneak in a little game play. But instead, I sealed the vault, fixed her a snack and watched a little Daniel Tiger before we went for a walk . . .
For those interested, my character:
Langston Wright (The Sole Survivor) - Level 11 - Generalist
Gun Nut 1
Junktown Vendor 1
Dogmeat or Nick (for right now).
Loads but a couple of stat boosting items and a focus on pistols.