Okay, so it is a bit early, and this isn’t a gaming site, but putting that aside…
Peter Grandstaff’s Official Game of the Year Award goes to Fallout 3 by Bethesda Softworks.
This is one heck of a game. It’s been since Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that I’ve enjoyed a single player game this much. (Fallout 3 uses a modified version of the Oblivion engine.) The story is compelling, but the game structure is only as linear as you want it to be. You have complete freedom to explore the world at your own pace, and in your own style.
The Fallout world is probably my favorite ever. The Fallout games are set in the future, after the world has been decimated by nuclear war. In Fallout 3 your character is a vault dweller, entering the wastelands of post-apocalyptic Washington, DC for the first time. (Before the war a company called Vault-Tec built underground survival shelters capable of sustaining communities.) The setting of Washington, DC is great, it’s a lot of fun to explore the ruins of our nation’s capitol.
Fallout 1 and 2 were amazing, and Bethesda did a great job of maintaining the style, feel, and experience of the originals even with a new development team and game interface style. Bethesda also does a great job of encouraging and supporting the fan community. Of course they do though, they put a Grandstaff in charge. Not often I find someone that shares my last name, but Bethesda’s Community Manager is Matt Grandstaff, no relation that I know of.
I’m especially excited for the release of the game editor, G.E.C.K., which will allow players to create their own content for the game or modify the way the game works. Oblivion’s editor was hugely successful and the fan community made a lot of great content. I can’t wait to dive in and start building stuff for Fallout 3… I think I’ll start by creating a post-apocalyptic version of my Grandparents’ old neighborhood in Arlington, VA. Of course, you probably don’t know my Grandparents, but I bet you’ve heard of one of the other families from that neighborhood. Tipper & Al Gore used to live right around the block from them.
Following the release of the editor, a series of three free expansion packs are slated for release… Bravo! I hate when I pay for an expansion pack and find it disappointing or realize I’m already kind of tired of the game and the expansion isn’t going to change it. I already spent $50 on the game, and it’s nice to know that what came in the box won’t be the end of the fun.
So, if you’re an adult gamer go buy Fallout 3 already, you’ll love it. (It is rated M for Mature, definitely not a game for the kids.) I’m so hooked on it that I even deactivated my World of Warcraft account just before Wrath of the Lich King. That reminds me, we might just have a MMORPG set in the Fallout world before long, check out Project V13.
I do have a reason for writing about this besides just loving the game… stay tuned for an article about the computer / video gamer demographic. Some recent research has shed some very interesting light on the habits of gamers. I’ll also tell you a bit about just how big the game market is. For instance, did you know a game holds the Guiness World Record for Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours?!