Breaking News: Fallout 3 is Depressing [Fallout 3]

burn_pipboyThis just in, Fallout 3 is depressing.

It’s safe to say that the game is consuming my life. That much, I expected. It’s a phenomenal title, and worthy of anyone’s time and attention during this crowded holiday season. Since release, I’ve sunk nearly 40 hours into the game, something that’s unheard of for me. Not since the days of Final Fantasy Tactics have I put that much time into ANY game. It’s just that compelling of a game, I seek out time in my schedule to convince myself that I can be playing it.

Here’s what I wouldn’t advise, though: Listening to NPR’s “Planet Money” while you play it.

I do this with lots of games. Sometimes there’s a long stretch of time where nothing really happens, nothing needs to be heard, etc. So I turn down the in-game music, and listen to a podcast.

Why is this a bad thing? Fallout 3 is depressing enough. The first time you set foot into a completely devastated Washington DC, your heart will skip a beat. The sense of loneliness, desperation, and ruin pervades the entire experience.

And it’s all entirely feasible.

Well, not so much the Super Mutants or the robots, but you know what I mean.

The threat of nuclear annihilation is very, very real. Our generation doesn’t fixate on it as much as the Cold War era did, but it’s still there. And Fallout 3 harnesses that fear, and presents a very convincing alternate reality.

Listening to anything related to the state of the world today is not advisable when you’re playing this game. With the economy the way it is, it isn’t hard for the mind to wander. It isn’t hard to imagine that an impoverished world will turn to war for resources, which will destroy us all.

The plummeting Dow Jones, the rapid deflation of the world’s currency, the utter fallability of our global financial system… That doesn’t really gel with playing a game this stark and depressing.

If playing games is about escapism, then this runs counter to that fact. This is immersing yourself in a paranoid state, and exhausting yourself in the process.

My advice? Don’t listen to economic podcasts while playing this game.

Oh, and save up those bottlecaps.

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