The Iconic Shattered Overpass As Seen From Below

I kept wondering where the sprint button was when I first started playing Fallout: New Vegas. Firstly I checked whether there even was one, there wasn't, and secondly I relaxed into the pacing that New Vegas sets, a pace that demands you focus on your surroundings, more than your destination. Because until you've discovered a number of the New Vegas' many locations you aren't going to be fast-travelling anywhere. It's almost ritualistic. The preparation between missions, building up to the climax of the quest itself, constantly juggling the weight and inventory systems (especially on the hardcore mode that places emphasis on nutritional needs as well as giving ammo physical mass.) Its a smaller narrative arc in itself where New Vegas lets the player tell their own episodic subplot to the main narrative arc.

Off The Beaten Track

My need to adjust to the pacing New Vegas sets tells me that contemporary media has changed my expectations. I can barely read a book. I am not illiterate, or mentally challenged. There's just something missing. My first thought is that it is that my imagination has been eroded by the sensory overload of films and games, but this feels false because I still, when I do read (or more frequently listen to audiobooks) find myself hooked into daydreams that have been directly sparked by my mind- fleshing out the ideas of a given fictional world. And I don't think my problem is inherent in literature as a medium, I read a hell of a lot of non-fiction online. I've just become maladjusted to that method of fictional delivery.

The "LMB" Means I Probably Trod On Something Incendiary

Fallout: New Vegas would probably fall under the genre of the 'Western Role Playing Game'- if you asked someone. And I would agree with that someone. The RPG is a genre whose key tenets espouse the value of exploration: geographical, systemic, and ideological. The western part of 'Western RPG' tends to refer to the fact that the game will be realtime, not turn based (though New Vegas muddies these waters with its V.A.Ts system) and that there will probably be a reliance on combat. When a genre's core values propose exploring not just places but ideas, then you get a sense of the kind of pacing that is necessary for the game to work effectively. It must be slow, exploration can be methodical or spontaneous but it will always take time, and the factions and people the player meets while exploring will have issues and problems that require social navigation of a kind that- when done well, requires time to ponder. I know a quest has been designed well when the narrative context of what could have been just another bounty to collect makes me 'pause for thought'.


So perhaps the RPG can be my genre stepping stone back into the pace of other media, a digital foothold on the climb to fiction consumption rehabilitation. There are many other interesting, great, and broken parts of Fallout: New Vegas that I'd like to talk about but I think I'll keep this focused and concise. I'm on the brink of finishing the main quest, so I'll do that instead.

Light At The End of the Tunnel