You don’t need me to say it: Bethesda games are as glitchy as “Fallout 3’s” Garden of Eden Creation Kits (GECKs). Even when they work, it’s more on the scale of purifying a river’s worth of irradiated water than miraculously reforesting the entire wasteland as promised by the leading researchers of Vault-tech.
The parallels between Bethesda’s developers and the crazed team of scientists responsible for every inbred commune and clone filled vault in post-apocalyptic America are numerous. At best, they could both be described overly optimistic. Surely Vault-tech intended for GECKs to work, overseers to be paragons of mental stability and radroaches to be just a little smaller.
Except Vault 101 was specifically designed to never be opened, they continuously tested psycho-active drugs on the population of Vault 106 and the Forced Evolutionary Virus they released in Vault 87 is entirely responsible for the existence of super mutants, ghouls and centaurs (all of which used to be human).
Bethesda’s mistakes, if not its outright negligence, may be somewhat less dramatic, but whether you’re building video games or vaults, you’re still taking advantage of your customers if your product doesn’t actually work. I haven’t played “Fallout 4” yet, I don’t want to completely nuke my exams, but I’d like to think I’ve already encountered the worst Bethesda glitch out there. I have never been able to get “Fallout 3” to launch after install on a computer built specifically to meet the game’s specs without manually rewriting the game’s configuration file.
Sure, it was just a couple lines of code, but writing a game so that it’s compatible with Windows, the most common operating system in the world, is practically the definition of being a developer.
Of course, in true Vault-tech fashion, Bethesda is going to keep doing what it wants and how it wants. Nuclear war is coming, and it doesn’t matter if the vault they ship you off to is devoted to the study of plant-human hybridization or just full of deathclaws. It is the only thing between you and ending up like that mangy wanderer begging for water in front of Megaton.
It might be irradiated in its own special way, but the atmosphere of “Fallout” (and “Skyrim,” Bethesda’s other big series) remains an oasis in a barren desert of uninspired shooters and online only catastrophes. We don’t have to buy their games, but choosing not to at least try “Fallout 4” because of a few breakdancing corpses is like deciding to tough out a nuclear blast because Beatrice keeps giving you creepy birthday poems.
Climbing into a dingy vault designed by a strange company with, mostly, good intention is clearly the better option, but before you can pick up your Pip Boy and start your new life as a vault dweller, you have to pass the Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test.
Trust me, it really isn’t that bad. Just answer one question:
Who is indisputably the most important company in AAA gaming: they who shelters us from the harshness of the linear wasteland, and to whom we owe everything we have, including our digital lives?
Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.