Episode 61: Fallout

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When Fallout first released in 1997 it bucked the trend of what people came to expect from an RPG. There were no swords or bows, no magic or elves - Fallout wanted to give people something different. It fused the grim and unforgiving world of Mad Max with a retro-futuristic alternative history of Earth, where humanity ascended to dazzling heights before being blown to pieces by nuclear weapons.

You play as the Vault Dweller, born and raised in a community fallout shelter. Everything was going fine and dandy until the chip controlling the purification of water broke - and with no engineers alive who helped design it, that’s a serious problem. You get told to go out into the world to get another functioning water chip...but the world isn’t a friendly place, and you may run into one or two problems along the way.

We’re joined by special guest Chris Worthington of the Retro Asylum Podcast to discuss and argue whether Fallout has truly stood the test of time! Fallout dazzled the world with its innovations and storytelling - an open ended narrative, a turn based tactics system with guns, and a world so bleak and unforgiving that even The Walking Dead is envious. But do we now take these things for granted with all the evolutions in the RPG space? Is Fallout just a primitive and barely functional shell of a video game, or does it still have something valuable to offer?

On this episode, we discuss:

  • What kind of impact do the RPG systems of Fallout have on your experience? How much room do you have to define your character as they level up and grow stronger?
  • How engaging is the storytelling of Fallout? Does it connect with you through its characters, dialogue or worldbuilding, and are there emotional hooks to keep you invested?
  • How does the combat work in Fallout, and does it give you meaningful decisions throughout a combat encounter?

We answer these questions and many more on the 61st episode of the Retro Spectives Podcast!

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It was our absolute pleasure to be joined by fellow podcaster Chris Worthington for our discussion on Fallout. He’s the host of two podcasts, both of which you should check out!

Retro Asylum - The UK’s No. 1 Retro Gaming Podcast (circa 2013). Chris and pals discuss classic video games and consoles of the 80’s and 90’s, with the occasional dabble into pop culture and interviews with industry figures. It's a celebration of retro gaming, with episodes doing deep dives into what makes a game or console special. You can join their discord server here!

Playthrough - A community play along podcast that explores new and ‘middle aged’ games. Each episode the hosts play through a chunk of a game, and then do a blow by blow breakdown of their experience. There are a fantastic selection of games already in their backlog, including Metroid Prime and Disco Elysium. Join their discord server and play along!

Chris has kindly asked us to continue our Fallout journey with Fallout 2 on the Retro Asylum podcast later this year, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

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Intro Music: KieLoBot - Tanzen K

Outro Music: Rockit Maxx - One point to another

Fallout OST: Mark Morgan, The Inkspots

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When you play Fallout 1, make sure you install Fallout Fixt. It includes a full restoration patch, but we recommend the purist download for your first playthrough and somebody, anybody - please play UnderRail. Pat is begging you.

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Are there hidden aspects of the dialogue system that we never stumbled upon? Does the combat have hidden depths to it that we were too dumb to understand? Is a 1 AGI run even possible? Let us know what you think on the Retro Spectives community discord server! We love discussing (and arguing about) games, both old and new, and would love to have you join us.

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