Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm Not Bored, But They Really Are That Long...

I mentioned a little while ago that I had started reading Game of Thrones and I had also started playing Fallout: New Vegas. In that post, I worried about the time investment of those books and games and pondered whether I'm getting to a point in life where that commitment wasn't realistic anymore. Essentially, I was worried I was too old to enjoy the kind of things I did as a kid.

I'm now almost finished with A Clash of Kings, the sequel to Game of Thrones, and am more than 20 hours in to Fallout: New Vegas, and am I extremely happy with both!

The difference between when I started the game and the book and now, I supppose, is that nostalgia kicked in somewhere. A love of long-form fantasy with twists and intrigue and a love for open, fleshed-out worlds packed full of stories and interesting tidbits to find. It also helps that the series of books and the F:NV are phenomenal products.

What George R.R. Martin has done so perfectly in this series of books is create characters that you feel for. You may not like the character, but you certainly have an opinion about them. You cheer for them or revile them, but you are never bored with the characters. They feel real. And the storytelling mechanic he uses is just great. Each chapter jumps between a different characters point of view, but the timeline never goes backward. You learn of new events happening to one character while following the adventures of another. All in all, it's very engrossing.

Fallout: New Vegas does so many things right so far that I can say my only true complaint is the inclusion of zombies. I HATE zombies in video games. Usually, their inclusion is enough to get me to stop playing a game altogether. But Fallout's don't bother me. In fact, I just helped out a charismatic pack of zombies pile into rocket ships and fly off to a highly radioactive area of the country. My character is that nice of a guy.

While F:NV was made by Obsidian (who also made some other great games, like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Dungeon Siege 3), the basis for the game comes from Bethesda (who made Oblivion), so the game still holds true to this grand scale of a huge world to explore with danger and mystery around every corner. The characters you meet are believable and the stories are still shocking to me, like when I found out an adorable town matron was responsible for selling one of the town guard's wife to slavery… then I hauled her off to the desert so the guard could kill her. Disturbing, but amazing!

I plan to keep on with the Song of Ice and Fire series, even if I have a feeling that'll keep my reading log full for the rest of the year, and I have every intention to keep plugging away in Fallout. Maybe that adventure-loving kid in me is still there, I just had to wake him up a bit.

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