Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2

By RPS on November 23rd, 2012 at 6:00 pm.


Talented RPS writer chum Patricia Hernandez asked us if she could write about the influence of RPG-classic Fallout 2 on her life. We agreed, and what she came back with was a stark personal tale of how videogame fantasy can inspire interest, provoke thought, and ultimately change how we see the world.

One of my most vivid memories of elementary school involves playing hooky after recess with a few other kids–two boys and one girl.

At some point, our grade decided that the boys with us are attractive–that we should, in our urgent attempts to play house, “want” them. The girl, in her unfettered giggles and whispers, tells me as much anyway.

I laugh too, but it’s a nervous laugh–we shouldn’t be there. The girl grabs my hand to make sure I don’t go anywhere, and this calms me a little.

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” one of the boys smirks.

I don’t know what this means. Not that it matters–it’s not like we understand romance or attraction. Some of us don’t even know how to tie our shoes yet, but still think we know how love is “supposed” to work. So, unflinchingly I say:

“Okay.”


I watch him start to unfasten his pants, but before he can finish unzipping, I jet. I pull the girl with me, running into the women’s bathroom.

“What’s wrong with you?,” she angrily asks me. I don’t say anything. “And why won’t you let go of my hand?” This question disarms me in a way I don’t understand yet. I feel a panic setting in. It’s the same one that rears its head whenever the adults ask me why I don’t like dresses, why I only play with the boys, why I’m so unladylike. I toss her hand away and start running again.

Fast forward to my being twelve, maybe thirteen. I am locked in the bathroom, holding my knees. My mother is outside, holding a belt while she screams at me.

I look at the bra on the floor and am overtaken with a sense of humiliation at the mere thought of putting it on. Not being used to them yet, bras feel suffocating, always present. The boys at school have started treating me differently even though they are my only friends, even though I try to erase our differences by wearing baggy clothes. Putting a bra on feels like cementing that boy-girl divide that started happening the year prior.

I’ve tried to hold this moment off for a while now by wearing two or three shirts at a time so that it’s harder to make my breasts out. My mother is having none of it now. I’m getting older and it’s a new school year, so I should finally be presentable–or else.

I put the bra on. I look at myself in the mirror and feel a rage swelling as I notice how the embroidered patterns on bra through the shirt. Feeling defeated, I start to cry while I open the door.

“Was that so hard, Patricia?,” my mother laughs.

Fights like these were always followed with days if not weeks of tension. My mother diffused this one via peace offering: she picked up a box of computer games for me in a garage sale. Being that up until that point, I’d only used the computer to play educational games, she assumed that all games are educational–isn’t that what the computer is for? Learning? (Oh, dearest mother…)

This box had a lot of junk in it alongside copies of Myst and Civ II. But the game that caught my eye was Fallout 2. The premise of a post-nuclear California sounded fascinating, though baffling: how could the greatest country on Earth be destroyed, atomic bomb or no? That could never happen! It’s ridiculous! I had to play it to see what it was going on about, of course.

My family moved to this country in 1990 in an attempt to get away from poverty and civil war. My mother grew up with friends and family members who got drafted against their will, who sometimes disappeared, who would get tortured. But salvation was attainable: all she had to do was get to the United States. The myths were that you could make a living there, you could raise a family there, and the government was fair and took care of its citizens there. So she chased after the dream, and found herself on American soil by age 18.

It was all true, as far as she could tell–in comparison to the life they she led back home, America seemed like a haven. So my family adopted the language, the holidays, the attire and even the brands that Americans liked. Can’t seem like a sipota chorriada. As if putting on the right clothes and knowing the pledge of allegiance erased the fact that the country didn’t want us here in the first place! I also believed in that dream–until I played Fallout 2. 

I still distinctly remember the first couple of hours of Fallout 2. Fallout 2 was the first game I picked up of my own volition, and the first game I finished on my own. It would also be one of the only games where I played as a woman–it’s one of the rare instances where, though obviously largely written for a male audience, I still felt acknowledged.


I modified one of the starting characters, Chitsa. I appreciated that she was optimized for diplomacy, though I tweaked her to have high intelligence (“like me!,” I thought) and got rid of her sex appeal perk. No, I didn’t really want to “have a way” with the opposite sex–not in the manner the game implied, anyway. Not realizing I wasn’t “supposed” to be playing this game this young, I was confused as to why I couldn’t make my character younger than 18. At least I could rename her–and to this day, that Fallout 2 character is the only character I’ve named after myself in a game.

It all seems so appropriate, now. The village my character is from is “backwards”–like, spear-holding, ritual-performing type archaic. My half “indian” family crawled out of a jungle deep in El Salvador with a machete. They’re all fervent believers of Christianity, shamanism, and strict gender roles. Most didn’t have an education past first grade, if that. So when my elder in Fallout 2 told me that the fate of the entire village rested on my shoulders, it wasn’t a tired video game cliche to me. It felt like a role I already knew, what with my family banking on the idea that I’d be the one that got an education, I’d be the one that’d go out and earn six figures (which I’d give to the family), and I’d be the one that would sponsor everyone for citizenship.

Even early on, it was obvious that Fallout 2 was full of choices–and this seemed remarkable when I felt like I barely had any in real life. In the real world I didn’t have a say in what I wore, what I did, or in the messianic responsibility my family forced on me. With men in particular, you don’t ask questions and you do as you are told, remembering to only speak when spoken to. Men work hard for the family, the argument went, and it’s the woman’s job to acquiesce to a man’s every whim. And if they cheat, hey, they’re men. It’s their need.


One of the first challenges in Fallout 2 was to prove my worth to the tribe. I was supposed to do this by making my way through an ancient temple….but then I noticed that the only thing standing between me and the village was one guy.

I didn’t realize how much resentment I held against those gender roles until I became obsessed with killing this guy standing in my way in Fallout 2. He told me that no, I had no choice but to go through the temple. And what if I didn’t want to, you bastard? Why should I listen to you? What if I put this spear through your skull? So I did that instead, and to my amusement, it worked. The rest of the game fascinated me in this way, always giving me multiple ways to pursue a problem, many of them utterly clever.

I’d leave Arroyo on my own terms, and quickly found myself in the sleepy farming town of Modoc in my search for the village-saving GECK. Here I’d meet Miria, the daughter of Grisham the butcher. Imagine my astonishment when the game gives me the option to flirt with this woman. I hovered over the option for what seemed like an eternity–prior to that very moment, I had no idea a woman could desire another woman.

Even in the realm of homosexuality, my family ignored women. Men could sleep with men, and I’d very occasionally heard of those “sinners.” But lesbians? Inconceivable. Looking back now, it seems absurd that this was the case when you consider the constant anxiety driving my family to police my gender as a little girl, fearing that there might be something “wrong” with me, sexuality-wise. And yet the word lesbian was never uttered–let’s not even talk about bisexuality, which to this day, I can’t seem to explain to them. So back then I had no clear understanding of what it was that they feared, just the general knowledge that I wasn’t being a “proper lady,” whatever that meant.

Picking the paramour conversation options made me feel mischievous–partially because I knew it was wrong, as far as heterosexuality was concerned, but also because I genuinely…enjoyed it. I wasn’t supposed to be enjoying this, right? Prior to talking to Miria, I spoke to her brother, Davin. I could seduce him too, but that option seemed boring. I didn’t think much of this, then.


The flirting transgression lead to the classic fade to black and all I could think was “holy crap, did they…?” When I saw my gear sprawled on the floor, my character pretty much naked, the answer to my question became clear. But then her father bursts into the room, and accused me of dishonoring his daughter. Hah, what? But she jumped me! I’m baffled as he asks me to marry Miria to set things right–as of this writing, California, the state Fallout 2 takes place in, still hasn’t legalized gay marriage. But it was an option in a game made in 1998, amazingly. In 2012, most games still don’t include gay romance options, much less gay marriage.

Going back to Miria though–what a high price to pay for what was supposed to be a quick lay, eh? So now I was stuck with a character that frankly, was kind of useless–mechanically speaking, I mean. Fallout 2 was a difficult game for me to begin with–by comparison, the modern Fallouts feel absurdly easy, like they start you off as a powerful character and the rest of the game is an adventure in becoming super duper overpowered.

What I’m saying is, staying married in Fallout 2 was no easy feat. I did it anyway. I could have divorced, I could have sold my wife off to slavers, I could have even let her die. But instead I resisted temptation and I made sure to run away from deathclaws and super mutants regularly. Survival meant cutting down on heroics. I didn’t know why it was important to me that she stayed alive no matter how much of a burden, but it was. And when she watched me slip into power armor for the first time, it felt significant. Partially because it was such fantastic, difficult-to-acquire gear, but mostly because the body of the person underneath disappeared. I wasn’t a woman. I was a force not unlike the antagonist of Fallout 2, Frank Horrigan.

During this time, I also attended a history class unlike any of the ones I’d taken before. It was a real history class, basically. The teacher was young, having the sort of punk-rock aesthetic (piercings, funny-colored hair, that sort of thing) that makes parents worry about their child’s education. You could tell that she took up teaching because she was the type of idealist that wanted to give back to the community, and to her this meant dropping truth bombs on us impressionable kids. The hope was that this real talk would allow us to go further than we might if we believed the wrong history books or believed the things said in conservative Spanish media.

So when I started asking about the United States government and their ethics, my mother was quick to blame that professor–oh, she must’ve been poisoning my mind! What my mother didn’t know was that it was good ol’ video games that were corrupting me, making me ask questions.


It was playing through a version of history where Americans drove themselves to destruction because we refused to stop relying on oil that made me wonder about this country. It was playing through a reality where we valued being a formidable war force above all else that made me worry about this country. It was playing through something where the government cared so little about its citizens that it would knowingly construct vaults with the purpose of experimentation that made me feel sick thinking about what this country was capable of. It reading about how corporations like Vault Tek got away with manipulating the populace for personal gain that made me find out that corporations sometimes have more rights than actual human beings. And so the reason all Fallout 2 felt compelling was because its version of the future wasn’t so outlandish.

The education I was receiving at the time told me how the war on terror was actually over oil, how the government had experiments on certain parts of the populace without consent in the past, and how we even had internment camps at one point. If history class taught me about the United State’s horrific past, Fallout 2 projected a possible future that scared me, made the archetypal elements of “being American” seem too gross to want to aspire to. If the Fallout franchise is incisive here, it’s because it reveals a darker side of the society it depicts, masked under the absurd hilarity of the wasteland and its denizens.

The clincher came when I learned that the civil war my family ran away from was actually funded by the United States government–that their safe haven was actually responsible for their great misfortune. But my family, so in love with the American dream, so unwilling to look past the better living conditions, didn’t believe me. How could they? America was, and always will be, the great country that gave them the opportunities their own country would never afford them. But for me, finishing Fallout 2 and seeing my hard-working mother being relegated to a lifetime of cleaning toilets (what a dream! what an honor! She wanted to be a doctor, once…) marked a crucial shift in how I saw the society I was part of.

There are things that we need to believe in–for my parents, that’s the American dream. It makes being in this country easier; there’s always a hopeful fortitude that keeps them going, especially in the face of adversity. Despite being disillusioned myself, I don’t want to take that away from them.

And for me, the thing I needed to believe in above all, the thing I used as a weird form of rebellion, was the idea that I was straight–that, regardless of what “signs” my family picked up and tore apart, I could prove them wrong, that I could hate such austere gender roles without being queer. Revelations can be liberating, or they can destroy everything you once knew. If they ever see the American dream for a charade–and given the economic crisis, which has gifted them unemployment and a pile of never-ending bills, I fear that they will–I don’t know what type of revelation it’ll be for my parents. But one can only pretend for so long.

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238 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Moorkh says:

    Oh, Miria…

    Wonderful article, thanks!
    For a second there, I thought I had left RPS, but then I remembered where this had to lead when you ran away pulling the other girl by the hand. I wish I had been this …young and receptive when my heroine first married Miria, but even so I was often breathless with the sheer choice the Fallout games offered.

  2. goettel says:

    This.

    This here is why I come to RPS.

    Thank you.

  3. Benjamasm says:

    Patricia, there are so many words and thoughts I would like to say but instead I will pick only 2, which can sum up how I feel quite well.

    Thank you.

  4. CJ says:

    Superb. Best bit of gaming related reading in a very long time.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Great article, can’t quite put into words how much I like it!

    All of these “Gaming Made Me” articles have been incredible, and I hope we see many more.

  6. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    Thank you for sharing this, and in such an eloquent manner, too. I never finished Fallout 2. I vaguely remember being stuck somewhere and then losing all my saves. I shall bear the shame to my dying day. Having said that, there’s no way it has a better ending than the first one, is there?

    • buzzmong says:

      Er, well. The end level and boss fight is better. In terms of the actual ending, in an odd way it’s probably a better ending as it tracks even more of your actions and what happens to those you interacted with, but it’s certainly less of a dramatic bombshell that the ending to the first was.

      Also, you should buy it GOG and play it. It’s so worth it.

      • I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

        I’m sure it’s worth it. I’m also sure that its ending is, at the very least, far more satisfying than the third one’s conclusion. The less said about that, the better.

  7. Bornemannen says:

    Thank you. That was a great article.

    I still remember playing Fallout for the first time, I had to import it from the US but man, that game blew me away. Fallout and Fallout 2 will always be on the very top of my list.

  8. qptain Nemo says:

    Incidentally, can anyone please tell me at which point exactly in the fallout series it is revealed that all vaults are experiments? Judging by the fallout wikia it was an idea that was actually cut from Fallout 2 and I still can’t quite wrap my head around them cutting out the single best story idea they’ve had in the entire series. I’m yet to finish F2 myself, so, can anyone please confirm/clarify this?

    • Eich says:

      http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Bible

      PS: It’s somewhere in there. I guess they wanted to save it for F3. I personally hated this very idea because it somehow sullies Fallout 1.

      • qptain Nemo says:

        I’ve seen that, yeah, but I’d like an explicit first-hand confirmation. So… Are you saying you are 100% sure it wasn’t revealed anywhere in the first two games?

        • jalf says:

          How is it possible to provide first-hand confirmation of the *non-existence* of something? ;)

          I can confirm that *I* never saw anything about this in Fallout 2, and I have played through it several times. I can’t prove conclusively that it wasn’t there.

          (I also think it is a terrible plot thread/twist that they did well to cut from FO2. But to each his own)

          :)

          • qptain Nemo says:

            Just a statement from somebody who finished the game and haven’t encountered that information would do. So – thanks, you helped me out.

            It’s a great shame, though. As I said, I find it to be the best story idea in the whole series and knowing that they deliberately cut it out after putting it in completely baffles me as well as severely diminishes the greatness of original fallout games for me.

          • Premium User Badge

            Andy_Panthro says:

            What was in Fallout 2 was a hell of a lot of water chips in Vault City. Perhaps people see this little joke (in Fallout 1 you are looking for a replacement water chip) as the evidence?

          • BooleanBob says:

            I finished the game. Twelve years ago now, so only a few things I explicitly remember, but having this discussion with one of the bad guys is one of them. It didn’t have a hell of a lot of dramatic impact on me, having not played the original at that point.

            Besides which, it still strikes me as silly. The end of the world is the best time to do social experimenting? Really? You don’t anticipate maybe having some slightly bigger priorities?

            A callous and clinical approach to human life I kind of understand – there’s got to be more than a couple of psychopaths at the top of society, but I still think it’s a stretch – but in terms of pure resource alone, for purposes of breeding or labour or (whisper it) food, there’s got to be like a thousand more useful things you could do with these safehoused populations in the middle of your post-nukes empire-(re)building efforts.

            And speaking of resources – the cost of putting these vaults in the ground, stocking them, keeping them going through the decades of nuclear winter… and for what? A large-scale repeat of the Stanford prison experiment? Gimme a break.

          • Hahaha says:

            OMG FUCK YEAH RAB YOU LEDGE
            (Somebody Please Shut Down) This Fucking Amusement Arcade
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            Yep the game must conform to the real world as closely as it can with out deviation.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      the president guy at the end talks about it pre-fighting horrigan as i recall

  9. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Great article!

  10. Grimgrin says:

    Very well written. I wonder if she still lives in the U.S.? Seems like she grew to greatly resent It.

    • runthataway says:

      She still lives in the US from what I can tell and I don’t think she resents it so much as acknowledges that the U.S isn’t the heaven her parents think it is.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Yeah, there’s a difference between being resentful of America the country and being disillusioned with America the idea.

      It’s maybe not something that non-Americans realize, but the idea of American Exceptionalism is still very alive, and ingrained in the minds of many Americans. There is this idea that America is in some way special or unique, that there’s nowhere else like it in the world.

      Now, the US is in a lot of ways a great country, and there are certainly elements about it that it excels at in the world; it’s certainly got the strongest military, its pop culture production is impressive, etc. However, in a lot of ways, and most importantly the ways that the average citizen will encounter in their daily lives, America just isn’t that special. The average American could move to Canada and have their lives or their chances at the ‘American Dream’ change not one bit.

      Though they would likely have to get used to the weather.

      This disillusionment isn’t somehow a turn to the idea that America is bad or worse than other countries, it’s not even a turn to the idea that you don’t want to live there. It’s just a realization that for the most part, it’s not exceptional.

      • sinister agent says:

        Yeah, there’s a difference between being resentful of America the country and being disillusioned with America the idea.

        This sounds about right. I live in the UK, and I know I have it pretty lucky. It’s clean, it’s safe, it’s relatively prosperous, and most people have a fair standard of living. The people are such wonderful arseholes, and there’s nothing quite like British humour. And we get the benefits of tea, good beers, proper cheese, and a national menu that quite sensibly poached the best stuff from half a dozen other countries. It’s alright.

        But then you get the odd person banging on with their rule britannia horseshit, and christ, they just embarass us all.

      • Premium User Badge

        cpt_freakout says:

        As a third-world dude I completely get the feeling Hernández conveys. In Latin America, if you don’t read your history and go about with generalized preconceptions of what the USA seems to be, it’s a paradise where you’ll not only have rights but, more importantly, you’ll have enough money to live well. The rest of the world matters little because not only is it too far away, it’s also full of languages we’re not taught ever since we’re children like we’re taught English (or, if you’re not taught English, at least at this point in history you know you can ‘make it’ without it) . Coupled with the dominance of US media absolutely everywhere, from TV series to videogames and music (everyone knows both their local famous musicians and the newest hits from the US), it’s easy to see why not even Canada has as much ideological pull. Define the American Dream as you will, but for many in the rest of the continent it simply means social mobility: you finally stop being poor, and you can finally start educating your close ones well to secure the future from being drowned in misery. Many people do ‘make it’, but many others are forced to return with nothing, and those who have it worst usually die in the long path there. And in the end, even those that ‘make it’ perpetuate a certain state of decay back in their home countries simply because they no longer have a role in the growth of local economy; no jobs are being created – only enough money to live, or enough money to take your loved ones with you, abandoning everything.

        Once you appreciate the history of our continent you start seeing that this vicious circle is a result of twentieth-century politics, especially those of the Cold War, and if you’ve lived all your life thinking that the US truly constitutes the promise of freedom from necessity then to learn otherwise is a BIG letdown. It’s not resentment, it’s not saying, like the core 70’s leftist Latin American mantra (still alive in guys like Chávez), that the US is at fault for every little problem our countries suffer. It’s just sheer disappointment that, after all, the US is just like any other place, riddled with different kinds of miseries, many previously unknown to you.

  11. Premium User Badge

    DanielBrauer says:

    Thank you for the excellent article.

  12. Sunjammer says:

    And that is why I still read RPS. Bravo!

  13. Shoogly says:

    This was wonderful, and one of the best articles I’ve read on RPS in ages. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Dilapinated says:

    This is an amazing article. Thankyou for writing it.

  15. shagen454 says:

    Fallout got me interested in drugs. Thank goodness, because this DMT stuff is the tits of the universe.

    Anyway, there is a Noam Chomsky reference in Fallout Two. Does anyone know where it is? I have not been able to find it after all of these years and the only information I can find about it are my old posts. I am going to give it another whirl just to find this reference but if anyone remembers it would help.

    Thanks

  16. VileJester says:

    That was a brilliantly amazing read.
    Thanks a lot !

  17. Namey says:

    This might be one of the best things I’ve read on this site.

  18. morlock76 says:

    wow … this was my first GMM and I am blown away. Will think about several aspects in there … Thank you.

  19. Keran says:

    Great article, showcasing the impact a game can have on one’s life/views (perspective, generally).

  20. SplashFantastic says:

    Fantastic article, cheers!

  21. Douchetoevsky says:

    Chalk me up as another adoring reader. This is wonderful. Thank you so much.

  22. caddyB says:

    Very interesting. Thanks.

  23. pyrrhocorax says:

    This really resonated with me, as games were the first place in my life where I could be Not A Girl and not have anyone “correct” me. Thank you for writing this!

  24. djbriandamage says:

    I greatly enjoyed this article. Congrats on publishing your first article on RPS, Patricia. I’ve enjoyed your writing for a while now.

  25. Pindie says:

    I think the comments highlight a cultural difference. You are not supposed to write such personal works in USA, apparently. Anything involving children and growing up will cause readers to panic there.
    Hell, if you do not think USA is uptight just read the wiki article for Catcher In The Rye.

    This was a very good story.
    From my experience it is rare to find middle ground when it comes to teachers, at least at young age. They either pound you to death with their country’s greatness or preach about the sinister nature of thereof. I find it disrespectful, one way or the other nobody tells you the whole truth.
    Not sure if I can blame them, “Jefferson was a good man yet Jefferson owned slaves” is a confusing thing to tell kids.
    I just feel like most subjects in literature and history should not be taught to young teens at all.

    It is funny but I have also played FO1 and FO2 prior to my teacher going on about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and oh-so-evil USA. I remember me and my friends just shake our heads at the one-sided presentation of subject. We did not know if the short essay she spoke was right but the lack of consideration of possible counter arguments was striking. I was not surprised when years later I have learned that matters were indeed more murky.
    Maybe it was Fallout, maybe it was Baldur’s Gate, maybe we were just harder to influence or maybe in our culture you need to first earn your position as an authority and she did not have one.

    • runthataway says:

      No we love personal works about growing up and all that books by Jonathan Franzen which are very personal sell quite a lot. Yeah though the Catcher in the Rye stuff was dumb and wasn’t all that great in my opinion.

    • hypercrisis says:

      oh come down from your high horse, just because you personally dont read it, doesnt mean it doesnt exist. heavens, the predominant form of american literature these days seems to be personal writing. and no, not celebrity books before someone makes that smart-arse comment.

      • Pindie says:

        That’s a bold claim. A look at best selling list makes me doubt it.
        Unless you count blogs, but even then most blog articles are about current affairs or hobby. Only after few 100s posts does the author ever dare to mention he did have a childhood and it was less than optimal.

        Forgive me if I singled out USA unjustly.
        I’d explain better what I had in mind but frankly I am not entirely sure right now, I should have thought it over some more. Let that be an example of personal writing done wrong.

        You are right that I do not read books in general. There is a reason for it, most of this stuff is garbage and the remainder is probably not worth the dig trough the bland mass that is literature.
        I do not think most auto-biographies are honest. I have red a few and they have an element of auto-creation.

        • nearly says:

          you’re really going to accuse someone else of making bold claims before A) saying that you don’t read, B) calling all literature bland not worth your time, and C) suggesting that all personal narratives are faked? well done, your writing has won the “Irony 2012″ Award.

  26. TNG says:

    Thanks for this article, it was an interesting read.

  27. Shinwaka says:

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

  28. WaxMannequin says:

    Thanks for this. Real gaming journalism. It’s about time.

  29. pilouuuu says:

    This story reminds me of Planet of the Apes. The original one. Taylor hated humanity and his country and then the ape tells him that he did that because he was in a bad situation or social status in that society, then how could he not complain about it?

    It’s the same here. Some people complain because society doesn’t give everyone all that they want, even if maybe they don’t have what it takes, so they say society sucks.

    I hardly think that USA is great, but if they sucked as badly as some people think then we wouldn’t get amazing games like Fallout from such a horrible society, right?

    Not saying that this lady is not good or heart touching. I just don’t know if we can say a country is completely bad or good. Unless that country is Cuba or Iraq of course.

    • jalf says:

      Wow, I think my arrogance-meter just exploded.

      So it is not fair to call the USA good or bad, but “of course” we can do so about Cuba or Iraq?
      Because everyone knows *nothing* good exists in those countries, right?

      Heck, they’re not even real countries like the USA is, are they? The people who live there aren’t really real, and they aren’t proper people like Americans.

      And I don’t know which article you read, but the one posted here on RPS was not saying that the USA is “completely bad or good”. It was simply telling us how a game influenced a person and how she saw the world.

      I hardly think that USA is great, but if they sucked as badly as some people think then we wouldn’t get amazing games like Fallout from such a horrible society, right?

      I… don’t quite see the connection. So the amazing pieces of art that came out of the otherwise fairly awful feudal, dirty and plague-infested dark ages proves that it “can’t have been all that bad”, right? And, presumably, to contradict your *earlier* piece of arrogance, the existence of Cuban cigars means that the place can’t be “completely bad” either, eh?

    • makute says:

      “I just don’t know if we can say a country is completely bad or good. Unless that country is Cuba or Iraq of course.”

      I hope you were trying to make a joke there.

      • pilouuuu says:

        Partially yes. But what is my hobby? Videogames. So as illogical as it may seem I tend to measure a country’s worth according to their creations. Games, books, movies, music… All those things are what matter in the cultural aspect for me. A country which has no such artistic or cultural creation is not a very good country for me.

        Well, Cuba has amazing artists like Buena Vista Social Club. It’s a shame that good people have to live in such awful societies.

        But my criticism is mostly about the dictatorial governments. Who could say those are good governments? The article seemed to criticize U.S.A. government and the system. That’s why I thought about making a comparison to some really awful governments where people can’t be safe or achieve a good quality of life no matter what they do.

        Is it wrong to say that Cuba and Iraq are awful places where to live or is it just politically incorrect? Well, we must we thankful to live in countries where we can use to say these things freely even if they’re wrong.

        • Brigand says:

          Socrates once wrote “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” Now step upon the path of goodness and learn something of those countries before you make comments about them.

          • pilouuuu says:

            Well, I do know some cuban people and even they hate to live in a country where they’re basically prisoners. I won’t spend my money in Cuba to support a dictatorship. As long as it becomes a free country, a democracy I may consider visiting it and then I’d have the chance to discover its wonders, meet its wonderful people, drinking its excellent rum and smoke the best cigars, even though I don’t smoke.

            I was just thinking about what’s worse. Living in a country where you can try to have a better life by self developlment and not have success and end up cleaning toilets, but having freedom. Or one country where you may study to become a more skilled person, where you can’t be a game developer, because they don’t make games there, but you can be a doctor and receive the same salary as a person who cleans toilets. And you don’t have freedom. The answer is pretty obvious isn’t it?

            Just to stay on topic, my point was that while the lady who wrote the article have a point of view according to her experiences, I think that she is not very fond of the country who gave her opportunities, just because she was not one of the lucky ones which did succeed. I don’t disagree with her opinion, but it’s a case of complaining about the rules of the game just because you’re not winning.

          • Brigand says:

            Surely it would’ve been better to use North Korea as an example then? Cuba’s just largely demonised in most western media due to the whole socialism thing. So yeah, Cuba isn’t a police state, America isn’t a democracy and coffee beans are actually seeds. Consider my case well rested.

          • pilouuuu says:

            OK, next time I’ll use China as an example. China is evil! That’s what South Park and Fallout 2 taught us. Isn’t it?…

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      You might want to read a bit about the country the writer’s family is from. And the US’s involvement in that country.

  30. Dahoon says:

    My god, what did I just read? That was brilliant!

  31. GarethF says:

    A powerful, moving read.

    Thank you for sharing that, Patricia.

  32. cptgone says:

    the good, god fearing people from abroad are being corrupted by the American wet dream. land of the fled, home of the gay. where women nuke their bra’s, live in sin city and join the brotherhood.

    lovely read!

  33. Alec Meer says:

    FYI in addition to our usual deletion policy, there’s a one-strike, merciless ban system in place for horrible people in this thread (which is why it might appear to be suspiciously calm). Critique is fine, hatred no matter what it’s hidden in is not.

    • bladedsmoke says:

      I logged in to have a go at a complete arsehole and I find it gone, replaced by the soothing robotic face of Alec Meer. Thank you!

      Also thank you to Patricia for this amazing article.

    • Premium User Badge

      lazy8 says:

      Just read a great article, reading through the comments reading the great reactions on the article made me feel really good, and then I read this…

      Suddenly I feel really sad in the realization that there are people out there who start hurling abuse because this article was written by a female or that the author might have sexual preferences different then the commenter, because the authors parent were born in another country or because she feels that the country she lives in is not perfect?

      I’ll think I be depressed for the rest of the day, still happy not to have to maintain this board and read these comments.

      • cptgone says:

        if my post (instead of the one that apparantly was deleted before i read it) is the one that bothered you, i’m truly sorry but it shouldn’t have, as it was just a silly joke touching on a range of topics i’m sure we agree about.

        you know, i’m just one of those idiots who go online and think they’re funny.

        • pilouuuu says:

          You are indeed funny! It’s sense of humour that is scarce nowadays, like if we were some kind of post-apocalyptic society…

  34. Kefren says:

    Marvellous, many thanks. Impact comes from games with freedom to create your own stories, go your own way, explore your own options. I never realised you didn’t have to go through the temple, there was another option, and I’ve played the game many, many times! Fantastic. I want to play Fallout 1 and 2 again this weekend. I have a silly way of playing, to make replays interesting – when I hit the wasteland I roll an 8 sided dice to determine what direction to go in every 24 hours. It means that my first towns vary, but after my extended wilderness time I’m tough enough to deal with it. The different starting towns leads to different options, missions, equipment, which affects later plays… Never the same story.

    The implications of games for experimenting with sex roles is fascinating too. I really enjoyed reading this. I’ll send the link to my girlfriend, I’m always talking about how games can mean something (I did get her addicted to The Sims once, many many years ago).

  35. shitflap says:

    I cried openly in the pub when I read this.
    Beautiful.

  36. kibble-n-bullets says:

    Thanks. I enjoyed that.

  37. Lone Gunman says:

    Great article. This is why I come to RPS so much.

  38. Premium User Badge

    colorlessness says:

    Like everyone else said, this was really good, thanks.

  39. Oathbreaker says:

    Holy crap. Glad you got your mess worked out. And a great game. Next time put a warning at the top of the article.

  40. Premium User Badge

    lazy8 says:

    Great read, thanks for sharing your story with us, and please come back and write more.

  41. Amasius says:

    Wow, that was the best article I’ve ever read here and thats quite a feat.

  42. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Another +1 here.

  43. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Great read :) thanks for sharing!

  44. zvonky says:

    So many people love Fallout 2, and have written about it. But this was special. Really interesting perspective. Thanks!

  45. SEODave says:

    I wish more people in the gaming world wrote like you. A true piece of incredible writing. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  46. Wolfe says:

    Being the son of immigrants who came to America and also a long time fan of the Fallout series (although I began with FO1), this article greatly touched me. I felt compelled to finally register just to thank Hernandez for posting something so moving. Thank you.

  47. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    You’re an amazing writer, Patricia, I loved this article.

    Keep ‘em coming!

  48. aceofspudz says:

    Being a good citizen of the US isn’t about acquiring wealth and waving flags. Everyone in the history of humanity has the “American dream” if that’s as shallow as it is.

    It’s about a belief in the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fallout 2 helped to teach her those things as well as showing her how American culture is at its worst when fixated on wealth and power. Her teachers told her the bare truth about the history of the country because they knew it should be possible to uphold those ideals better than we have historically. Fallout 2 showed her a future where we had forgotten them.

    Ultimately it was the writer and not her parents who realized what it meant to be an American. From the text it sounds as if they planned to essentially enslave her and extract resources from her (money, sponsorships) under the guise of traditional family values. She rejected this suspect deal as a violation of her natural right to her own life, liberty, and happiness.

    Liberty creates wealth as a side effect because people work harder when they work for themselves. I wish Ms. Hernandez success.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Well said. I couldn’t agree more. Her situation is something that I see in many latin families and it just makes think that no society is perfect, even if on the surface it may seem so. Latin families seem to be very united and friendly, but behind that there are situations like those described here.

  49. Eater Of Cheese says:

    Resurrected my old login just to say: thank you, bravo. That piece is a story for our time.

    You could consider writing a longer memoir – clearly you have the skill and insight to do it. Hope to see more pieces from you.

  50. zbond says:

    More articles like this one, please.