I don't know what to fill in for this intro section. Whatever.
Thanks to the kind hearts over at GOG, I got to download Fallout for free. I had to do a little bit of work beforehand in order to get the game to run in widescreen resolutions using a fan patch. Oddly enough, trying to run it at my native resolution made the game extremely choppy and slow. Bumping it down to 1280x720 fixed the problem. Plus, running it at 1080p made a lot of the text way too small. So after doing that, and restarting my character a couple of times for the first couple of hours, I began adventuring through the wasteland, looking for a water chip for Vault 13 and now going after the Super Mutants, as well as doing other quests along the way.
The game is about 15 years old and it is still great. There are things such as managing quests and knowing where to go next that became issues for me at times, but that’s just remembering how games in that era did not always have an arrow pointing you in the right direction. There were plenty of times where I had to pull up a walkthrough to get me back on the right track, more than I would have wanted, but I’ve still been able to enjoy this game.
One thing that is nice is that it’s easy to get from one place to another, so long as you ask someone for directions beforehand. Just head to the world map, and click anywhere on the grid, or select one of the locations you discovered from a list on the right hand side and the game will start moving your character in that direction, occasionally running into random enemy encounters or other oddities. For some reason I would have thought the game would make moving from place to place more time consuming, like walking to your destination in Morrowind. Makes sense, as it would be very boring having to walk everywhere in the wasteland.
Along the way I’ve been picking up companions to follow me around and help in battle. It’s interesting how they have provided some great and frustrating moments for me. It’s good to have an extra person or two help take down a mob of enemies, but the lack of direct control makes things very difficult and annoying. Reminded me of Skyrim in a lot of ways. They easily become a hindrance, but when you’re roleplaying your character and filling in the details with your own interpretation, it becomes that much more interesting. Even with the lack of direct control, the characters you get as your companions are great, especially Dogmeat. He proved his worth to me by taking down the leader of the Skulz in Junktown. Shot him a couple of times with my pistol, and he finished the rest. Awesome.
So the last few things I've done in Fallout is go to the Necropolis, get taken to the lair of Megabyte, I mean, the Mutant Lieutenant (I kept thinking of Megabyte while listening to Tony Jay speak), reload the save and kill the mutants, bring the water chip back to Vault 13, and now I am preparing my team to go after the Super Mutants by doing jobs for the caravans and eventually going to the Brotherhood of Steel. Oddly enough, I was going to say a lot more about this game but I've got other things on my mind I can't think of what else. I will reiterate though, Fallout is still a great game. I've been having a lot of fun with it.
And the Rest
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
I’ve had my friend’s PSP lying around for a month, maybe more, and I was in my room Monday night and figured I’d try picking it up again from where I left off, usually a bad decision for me when it comes to RPGs. I remembered everything that happened up to that point, defeated a boss, and then shut the game off after a random encounter where the enemies caught me from behind and wrecked half of my party. Nice job, game.
Titanic: Adventure Out of Time
This took me a long time to get running, and while I haven’t played any significant amount, I played enough to know the game worked. I’ll give more details about the stuff leading up to it in the next section.
Things Other Than Games
So I mentioned Titanic, a game from 1996, so old that there are only two options in order to get it working on today’s operating systems: Use DOSBox, or install a virtual machine of an older OS. Because there wasn’t any way to get it working on DOSBox, at least there wasn’t anything that indicated it was possible, I had the interesting experience of setting up a virtual machine.
That led to quite an experience that has done quite a few things. One, I am now able to play Titanic on my computer. Two, I installed Windows 95 from a boot disk img file and an install CD that I borrowed from one of my dad’s coworkers. And three, I actually want to try installing more OSes and do other crazy stuff with software that rightfully no normal person should ever have to figure out.
Well for start, I tried downloading an iso of the install disk, but I was unable to proceed with the installation process, which I figured having an actual disk would solve. Turns out I needed a boot disk, and because I don’t have a floppy drive, I had to download an img file and have VMWare recognize the file and have it boot along with the CD. Then half way through the installation process, certain files could not be copied over to the OS, files that were on the disc by the way but for some odd reason I could not direct it to take the files from there and copy them. But by the looks of them, a lot of them was for network stuff, which I had no plans of doing. I got to the desktop, downloaded VMWare Tools so I could get more resolution and color options and other stuff, then it was time to try playing Titanic.
Then came the bigger headache, and that was getting the damn game to run. As it turns out, no sound card was configured. Trying to install any “emulated” hardware gave me the same issue for when I was in the main install process, where certain files could not be found and copied over. I more or less gave up on it until doing what research I could on the internet. One tip that I got was to edit a few lines in the config file for the virtual machine, and then go through the “Add New Hardware” set up in Windows 95. Once again it couldn’t find the files it needed to copy over, but after doing some looking around, I figured out how to get the file from the Win95 disc that was needed and have it copied over. Rebooted the OS, was greeted by a start up sound and a little speaker icon on the task bar. Last thing to do was to check if the game would run, and sure enough it did. There were some audio skipping and stuttering issues, but that was corrected when I installed the DirectX version. I was truly relieved.
Trying to figure out this stuff was frustrating, but looking at it I can tell that it was a cool experience. Part of it was getting help from my dad, who works at a computer store, so it’s nice to take a look at things involving computers and technology. Heck, ever since I built my own computer over a year ago I’ve gotten more and more computer literate, now that I understand the things that make it work and have spent time tinkering around with settings and other options.
But of course, all this wasn’t intended. If there were instructions to get Titanic running on DOSBox, which I assumed there would have given the time this game came out, I probably would not have bothered at all with VMWare. Now that I’ve installed a working Windows 95 virtual machine, I don’t want to just leave it as a means for me to play this one game I bought for $2.50 in a store I visit almost every Sunday. I mean, I even thought about trying to set up an internet connection on it, and see if I could get other old software or hardware running on it.
Heck, the only thing right now that would make it so much better would be to get an old CRT monitor and have Windows 95 run on that. Now I don’t need you to tell me what I think you might say, my dad already said so. They’re big, heavy, bulky, consume a ton of power and other reasons why it’s a waste. I realize that is true, yet I still want one. Having that curved 4:3 screen would make the experience feel more authentic. Well, as authentic as an emulated version of Windows 95 can be, but you get the point. So for now, I’ve got one of my old standard def LCD monitors hooked up with the resolution turned down to 800X600. That’s the closest I’ll get until I decide to waste my own money on the real thing.
Though to be frank, there is a benefit to doing this, and that is the game’s resolution won’t stretch to fill the screen so it’s just a tiny screen on a black background on my main monitor.
So yeah, that is my experience in the realm of virtual machines and Windows 95. It’s cool for people like me who have a weird nostalgia or curiosity about old technology.
Lastly, during the installation of Windows 95, I learned the MSN means Microsoft Network. I’m sure everyone else in the world knew what it meant and I was the only one left in the dark, so feel free to make fun of me for that.
Thanks for reading once again. Xenoblade still hasn't arrived yet, so I may or may not write about it next week. At least I have some other games to fall back on.