Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2

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:


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.


  1. MistyMike says:

    What on Earth did I just read…?

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      The post is titled “Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2”, and in it Patricia Hernandez told the story of how Fallout 2 changed her life and her perceptions of America, among other things.

      Did that help?

      • MistyMike says:

        True, the juxtaposition of Fallout and recollection of childhood memories of playing doctor caught me off guard somewhat. I guess I’m not intellectually prepared for the bleeding edge of gaming journalism brought by ‘RPS: I don’t tell friends I read it’.

        • Acorino says:

          I always tell my friends I read RPS. None of them care.

          • rittenhaus says:


            And more from Patricia, please.

          • McDan says:

            They never listen when I say they should read it despite the evidence, this article being an amazing example, showing that it is one of the best things on the Internet.

          • Aedrill says:

            Every time I unblock MistyMike just to see what he wrote, I find out out should stay this way.

          • marionhanks says:

            my buddy’s aunt makes $77 hourly on the computer. She has been out of work for seven months but last month her income was $17132 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site… link to

        • elloco says:

          Oh my god!
          Tell everyone about this supperb source of information about games and beyond.
          Fallout 1 was one of my first games at the age of 12 or 13 with barely no skills in English language. Not that I have now, but games helped me a lot in learning the predominant language of the western world. ;) (I’m from Germany)
          And yet it helped me ask some questions about the great ‘Freedom Fighter’ and the role of Germany after WWII and the so called Wirtschaftswunder (the miraculous rise from ashes and the enormous economic growth of Germany).
          Games in the right hands with the right minds can arise thoughts. It’s just like political comedy for some it’s just a dumb joke and for others it is the truth packed in some shiny paper to look handsome.
          Oh yeah, this is going off-topic. I just wanted to say thankyou! for giving people a forum to tell how games affected their lives! TY RPS you awsomely ROCK!

    • S Jay says:


      BEST. GMM. EVER.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      That was quite unexpected, wasn’t it?

      Amazing read. Drop by RPS more often, miss.

      • Splynter says:

        Click that ‘gaming made me’ tag. Read them all. I’m not sure you could call this one ‘unexpected’, as this series has consistently been one of the best things on RPS for a while now.

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          Oh yeah, GMMs are consistently great. But I’ve yet to read one that has such breadth that it encompasses someone’s change of perspective from his or her national to sexual identity.

    • BNCap says:


  2. Syra says:

    This is the game that made me too.

    • felisc says:

      yup, me too.
      and then years later Stalker made me again.
      edit : oh and this was a fantastic piece. congratulations.

    • Namey says:

      Fallout (more 1 than 2 though) is probably very influential on my development too. I’m always very quick to praise the Baldur’s Gate series as the best games I played during that era, and slow to remember that before that I spent tens or hundreds of hours on Fallouts.

      This article certainly makes me think how that has affected the way I think about the world

    • apocraphyn says:

      Aye, same here. Incredible game.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Heh, yeah. I was way underaged when I played Fallout. Best game that happened to me.

      • Azdeus says:

        Heh, same thing here, I was in that impressionable early teens age when I first played the game.

        Great reading!

    • Geen says:

      Well done, Patricia. I can agree with just about everything you said.

  3. Faldrath says:

    Thank you.

  4. Roz says:

    “how could the greatest country on Earth be destroyed, atomic bomb or no?”

    Didn’t know California was in Sweden?

  5. Serenegoose says:

    Wow. This is one of the best articles on gaming I’ve read for a long, long time. Thanks.

    • BockoPower says:

      So this is your first article you read on RPS ? :)

      • Serenegoose says:

        Ho ho ho. I enjoy a lot of the articles on RPS, but this is one of those that really resonated with my experiences as a person.

    • dosan says:

      I agree completely, first article of this kind that i read ever. I agree with her, i had a similar experience with Fallout 1, fallout 2 also, but in the past, it seems i was doomed to never end that game :( 3 times in different years and different machines, and always my computer died in the Navarro Military Base :)

  6. Carachan1 says:

    Great job, Patty. You describe your grappling with gender really well – because it makes me remember how much I felt my own gender role as a kid too. Wish I could write with such clarity about it.

    • Rosveen says:

      Same here. As a European I never experienced any kind of “greatest country on Earth” revelation, but I know the gender problem all too well. And still, even if I don’t react to the Fallout series as emotionally as Americans might, its story is more about humanity than about a nation – it’s about all of us.

      Thank you for this great article, Patricia.

    • Toberoth says:

      Hear hear.

  7. fallingmagpie says:

    Superb, thanks.

  8. iucounu says:

    That was terrific. Thank you!

  9. Morph says:


  10. JovaZmaj says:

    This is an awesome article. Thank you for this.

  11. JBantha says:

    I can super relate to this, as a male from centroamerica!
    A much needed shot to show to this english basterds! (just kidding on that part)

  12. Ny24 says:

    That was a really great debut, Patricia, I really enjoyed reading it. The beginning was a little rough, but it got better fast. I really liked the description of your past and how you coped with it. Always great to see individuals prosper in spite of difficult circumstances. Keep on writing!

    • wwwhhattt says:

      This is only her RPS debut, she’s written quite a bit on other sites (mainly Nightmare Mode, I believe). Her other stuff is this good too.

      • Jackablade says:

        And Kotaku US. I’m glad to hear she has other outlets. She’s clearly a far better writer than Kotaku US’ setup and target audience really allows for.

  13. gekitsu says:

    i really loved reading this. many thanks for being brave enough to write it. (it shouldnt need bravery to write about any kind of queerness, but apparently it still does. but in any case, it takes a lot of bravery to talk so openly about ones own vulnerability)

  14. AmateurScience says:

    Thanks Patricia


    PS Great read!

  15. Porpentine says:

    This is my favorite Gaming Made Me. I love this so much.

    Thank you.

  16. almostDead says:

    This game stunned me. I had never played an RPG before. I thought it was boring at first, locked in the temple at the start, and am so glad I persevered. This is the only game I’ve ever sought a second, not from the UK copy for, because the James Bulger case caused the omission of children as NPC you could interact with.

    This was the first game that I went to forums for, desperately searching for the latest patch version to iron out the bugs.

    And of course, that intro. This is the only type of game that I think I really want to play.

  17. LTK says:

    A magnificent story. Excellent job.

  18. Zaxro says:

    Excellent, this is one of the absolute best articles on gaming I have ever read.

    Thank you Patricia

  19. Tom OBedlam says:

    This is something fucking special. I love this.

  20. Mr. Mister says:

    BTW, she is probably too polite to tell you, but Hernández has an accent over the a.

    EDIT: Fixed it from my PC.

  21. CommanderJ says:

    Absolutely stunning debut, congrats.

    The old Fallouts really were pinnacles of gaming. I’m sure many, many people had deep experiences in their youth with those games.

    I’m also sure no one has put those experiences into such amazing words before.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Yeah, that was brilliant.

  23. Lemming says:

    Great read!

    Let’s hope your parents don’t get to see/play Bioshock Infinite! That might crash some walls down!

  24. JP says:

    This is my favorite Gaming Made Me as well. Thank you for sharing, Miss Hernandez.

  25. ptg389 says:

    I registered with this site just to say thanks for writing this.

    Excellent work; I really liked how you went through the self-exploration in-depth, that moved me.

    Thanks again.

    • samleu says:

      Same here. After each sentence, I became more and more skeptic as to it cannot get any better, but each time, it got better.

      Thank you sincerely for the great article.

  26. Urthman says:

    Wow. Talk about dropping an atom bomb. In one short, beautiful, candid article, Patricia Hernandez basically ends the “Can video games be art?” debate forever. Yes. Yes they can.

    • gekitsu says:

      more important than art: yay or nay, it ends all the nicely put syllogisms from a over b to c, on how games are an inferior medium to literature, theatre or even film.

      games can be relevant. period.

      any theory that doesnt acknowledge it is flawed. it isnt realitys job to adhere to theory, its theorys job to adhere to reality.

    • Lemming says:

      I don’t think it answered anything about art. It’s more ‘can they be culturally significant?’ that’s laid to rest.

      • gekitsu says:

        id say it wasnt about cultural significance but rather personal significance.

        one could argue that games having the potential for this kind of deep, personal impact also answers whether games have the potential to be art.

        • Sarkhan Lol says:

          Really it’s more like “can video games be one’s first mind-expanding drug/life/whatever experience?” with the answer being a resounding “Yes.”

          Previously we needed Lord of the Rings for that.

      • Urthman says:

        No, I mean art. Nobody’s got a very good definition of art, but when people try to talk about what art is and why it’s important, this is the sort of story they tell. Except not always this good.

        And this story shows how games can accomplish things through interaction that you wouldn’t get from just reading a book or watching a movie.

        • Lemming says:

          I’d argue that books have undoubtedly affected people the exact same way this game affected Patricia, and probably films as well.

          • Hidden_7 says:

            Oh they absolutely have. The point here is that the interactivity, the thing games bring uniquely to the table, was relevant and important to that experience.

            A lot of times when people try to say that games aren’t art, what they will say is that sure, a single particular game can be art (because you can’t deny experiences like this) but all games are is visual novels or interactive movies, and thus it’s not unique.

            As if interactive movies are all over the place. As if making a novel visual doesn’t intrinsically change the medium. As if movies aren’t just filmed plays, or plays aren’t just acted out books.

            In any case, if you want to fight on the kinda dumb battleground of “are games art?” (seriously, clearly they are, anyone who says otherwise will just sit around being wrong until their position becomes ludicrously untenable, so why worry?) then you got to focus on the artistic power of the thing that makes games uniquely games. I like to use Pathologic’s resource management as way to build a feeling of oppression and stress as an example. The story recently about the person making the Tourette’s game is another good example.

  27. HerrKohlrabi says:

    Thanks a lot for this awesome GMM. A great read!

  28. Pavello says:

    Well, that was… unexpected.

  29. Salix says:

    Very very good article, thank you for writing it.

  30. Eich says:

    Awesome article! I hope you also got around to play Fallout 1. I would personally chose Fallout 1 over 2 any day. But you are right in saying that Fallout 2 had many and more layers of criticism towards society. But Fallout 1 was always kind of real and Fallout 2 too quirky for my taste. I wish I could wipe my mind and play it again…

  31. The Random One says:

    Simply brilliant. This is what I come to this lovely glorified blog for!

  32. Drake Sigar says:

    When it comes to the American Dream I always think of that line from Fight Club.

    ‘We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.’

    • Eich says:

      We are the all-dancing, all-singing crap of the world.

    • chargen says:

      “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars.”

      That’s not the American Dream. That’s baby-boomer parenting.

      And the article’s author’s revelation that suddenly America sucks and everything is a lie is unfortunate, and immature, reminding me of when I was a teen and finally learned my first Real History, in for form of bad things that the US did during the cold war.

      This is not because the American Dream is a lie and the 50’s were Hitler. When you apply this personification to any nation’s Real History, it’s actions and interests as a nation, you get a ‘person’ that is unbelievably evil, has never been properly punished for it’s crimes, and who you certainly wouldn’t want to idolize. This of course includes the histories of Belgium, France, Spain, Russia, China, Vietnam, Italy, pre-Colombian Mexico, jolly-old England, gosh, all civilization.

      The American Dream is the idea that anybody can “make it”, meaning be successful in a way that improves their lives. There are still limits to social mobility, and in general the idea has not panned out well for the last 20 years, with generational decline in living standards and earnings, but it still can be true. The author’s mother wanted to be a doctor and now she cleans toilets; is it America’s fault? Her mother seems pretty closed minded, ignorant, abusive, unstable, etc. from the brief description in the article, so perhaps this had more to do with her station in life.

      The American Dream does NOT mean that everyone is super special and do whatever they want and be the best at anything. That was the Me generation projecting on their kids.

      God I hate Fight Club.

      • Eich says:

        I guess this is why it’s called the American Dream rather than the American Reality.

      • jalf says:

        Do you always try so hard to drag everything into the dirt with you?

        I didn’t see anything about her mother being abusive and unstable, and no one mentioned anything about other countries, but just to be on the bad side, we’d better say something bad about those too, eh?

        If we have nothing more relevant to say than judging the authors mother, or that “other countries suck too”, could we perhaps just…. not say anything?

        Really, this article is an amazing and heartfelt thing, whose point whose point is *not* to educate us all as to how the American Dream is a lie and how everything is terrible, but simply to tell us a very personal story. And reading it touched me.

        Whereas reading a comment whose sole purpose seem to be to spread around anger and bile and indignation just makes me feel like I need a bath. Could we perhaps have more of the former, and less of the latter?

        Thank you.

        • Hahaha says:

          “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.”

          Doesn’t really help

      • Ayslia says:

        No, I think that’s essentially the same thing. Improving your station could mean improving from the lower class to the lower middle class, or it could mean improving from the lower class to the 1%. You are essentially arguing semantics. Baby boomers might exaggerate how far you can actually achieve, but it’s still rooted in the ideas of the American Dream.

        Also, just throwing this out there, America’s social mobility is declining relative to other countries: (link to, so her disillusionment is sound. She’s been told that America is *the* place to better your life, but it isn’t true.
        And that’s the crux of her argument. She’s not saying America ‘sucks and everything is a lie’, just that in the end it’s just another place. It’s not a godsend. Like everywhere else, you try hard and hope you accomplish something while knowing most of the time you’re not. Like everywhere else, they act in their interests, not necessarily in the most moral way. It was essentially her revelation that America is not exceptional.

        Of course, my opinion, and I could be interpreting Ms Hernandez’s words incorrectly; if so, I apologize.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        “The American Dream is the idea that anybody can ‘make it’, meaning be successful in a way that improves their lives.”

        No. You got the first part right, and the second part was your own ancient interpretation of ‘making it’, an interpretation many Americans don’t share. You don’t think things have evolved since then?

        • mouton says:

          He does have a point that demonizing USA is pretty immature, though.

  33. Buckermann says:

    I would appreciate it if you would write more often for RPS.

  34. RedViv says:

    This was just wonderful. *sniff*

  35. cpt_freakout says:

    Wow. That was amazing. Already looking forward to more from you!

  36. Wizardry says:

    Fallout kind of unmade me. It was with this game that I realised the tide was turning away from solid mechanics and towards quests, characters, story and CYOA.

    Still a good game though.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Never change, Wizardry. Never change. :)

      • RedViv says:

        He’s more machine now than man.

        • sinister agent says:

          I don’t think he’s even posted here for months. He once built a robot programmed to design robots that build robots that comment on anything related to RPGs, so that he can observe their wonderful mechanisms instead of ever getting involved himself.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Oh, right. Because story and characters are evil, just like the american society. Seriously though, why can’t a game have solid mechanics AND a good story and characters? Why do those things have to be mutually exclusive?

      • Vinraith says:

        Because authorial narrative is fundamentally at opposition with emergent gameplay. You can’t have both, if you’re going to restrict the player to a story someone else wrote the game will always be limited by that.

        • pilouuuu says:

          I truly believe that we can find a balance between both. We are somewhat limited by today’s technology, but things like multiple paths and choice sometimes are able to give us the illusion of creating our own story. We just need much more customization, more NPC responses, more choice and multiple paths, a better behavioral and procedural A.I., etc. I think in the future we may have a Game Master AI.

        • Lone Gunman says:

          It would be terrible if all games had to be the same. I like both the emergent stuff and more story focused stuff. As long as you enjoy it who really cares.

          • Wizardry says:

            But there hasn’t been an emergent CRPG save for perhaps a few extremely heavy combat centric ones. There have been games that looked to be heading in that direction, but even the most emergent old-school CRPG can’t actually be called emergent.

            There isn’t two types out there and perhaps there never will be, but the difference between yesterday and today is that today they’ve given up trying. Fallout, in many respects, was the first big admission of defeat. Replacing interesting gameplay with lots and lots of branches, quest solutions, contextual dialogue etc. It’s a brute force approach to game design and one that will never be optimal.

      • Wizardry says:

        There is no reason why. The fact of the matter is that there hasn’t been and there perhaps never will be.

  37. TomxJ says:

    *applause* write more please.

  38. Splynter says:

    I sometimes wish RPS would post GMMs more often, but that would make them a little less special, I think. Great entry Patricia.

  39. tourgis says:

    Thank you Patricia, a moving and timely piece. For me, the anarchy of the humour was important as well.

  40. wodin says:

    Your story of hitting puberty reminds me off what my ex wife said she felt like at that time turned out in the end she had Aspergers Syndrome..not saying you have AS but the stories are similar.

  41. Banana_Republic says:

    Very engrossing article. So much more depth than I would ever reasonably expect to see in a column about gaming.

  42. mgardner says:

    Signed up just to say thanks, Patricia, for sharing some very personal experiences in such an excellent article.

  43. protorp says:

    Thank you for penning such a personal and heartfelt piece. That was one of the best things I’ve read on the interwebs in ages.

  44. LennyLeonardo says:

    Wha?! Amazing article, what a lovely surprise of a Friday evening. Clapclapclapclap. More from Patricia, please!

    P.S: I was way too young for Fallout 1, too. It’s the things you’re too young for that stay with you the longest, I think. The “playing house” parallel couldn’t be more apt.

  45. ZX k1cka55 48K says:

    Nice read.
    And yep, Fallout2 was amazing, it’s still my favorite rpg game.
    Makes me sad how RPG genre changed over past few years…Prime example of de-evolution in gaming.

    Check “Fallout 2 for Dummies: A Post Nukular AAR”, if you haven’t already:
    link to

  46. Amalorn says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing.

  47. Shookster says:

    What a fabulous article. Thank you so much for writing this, Patricia, and thanks RPS for posting!

    Makes me want to revisit Fallout 2…

  48. BubuIIC says:

    So I’m the 1573rd Person to say this, but it has to be said again:
    This was an absolutely brilliant article, thank you very much for writing it.

  49. The Army of None says:

    Everyone who likes this excellent writer’s work, check out where Ms. Hernandez does plenty of other good writing

  50. jorygriffis says:

    Great great great great great great great great! I’d love to see more articles like this!