Fallout 4: Your Character is an Idiot, Also Everybody Else [MAJOR ENDGAME SPOILERS]

[This post details world-changing quest lines towards what I assume must be the end of the main quest line in Fallout 4.]

I thought I was outsmarting everyone. I thought I was working towards peace. Then the writers decided that peace in a game about war is apparently impossible, and the game somehow funneled me into a quest holding a bomb that would undo everything that I had been working so hard to accomplish. No warning, no dialogue box saying, "Yo, this is gonna mess up EVERYTHING," nothing.

Take this! It's a key to unlock the credits!
Take this! It's a key to unlock the credits!

Throughout the course of my 30 hours with Fallout 4 I took careful steps to ensure I always had an "out" or peaceful solution to any problem involving the multiple factions in the world. The only group I didn't care about was the Brotherhood, because the Brotherhood are dicks and always turn out to be the bad guys. Instead, I found myself mostly balancing between the Minutemen and the Railroad. This wasn't particularly difficult, of course, as they don't really seem opposed to each other (at least until towards the end).

Then the twist comes, and you learn all about the Institute. I won't bother going into the minutiae of their whole deal, but I took one look around and said, "Well this is obviously the best hope for a future for the human race. Better side with them. I should also get around to everybody topside and tell them the truth." Upon returning to Sanctuary, my guy even told another character, "Remember, the Institute isn't our enemy." Awesome, I'm gonna bring peace to the Wasteland.

You got this! Peace is on the way!
You got this! Peace is on the way!

Unfortunately, the Institute and the Railroad are diametrically opposed. OK, no problem, I'll just have to walk on eggshells and be super careful about how I tackle each mission. As I worked my way through Father's quests, I was careful to pick responses and take actions that avoided as much conflict as possible. And hey, lucky me, there are some clues that I'm actually gonna pull this off:

  • I reclaimed a group of synths by letting the BoS, Institute, and Railroad shoot at each other like idiots.
  • I talked a scientist into going to the Institute without firing a single bullet at a Minuteman.
  • I started the Institute's reactor, being sure to note that it was a resource for EVERYBODY.
  • I changed the words to Father's "Institute Announcement" to be a message of peace and comfort.

Huh, that's funny. It doesn't look like the announcement triggered anything. Oh well, maybe later... what's that? We're having a meeting? What about? Oh, you want to go to war with the BoS? Just like that?! Ok, well maybe I can-- oh, nope, no dialogue option that says, "What the hell is the matter with you idiots?" Um... build more synths, I guess... cause weapon development is probably a bad start to peace...

Well, glad that meeting's over. Hey, Father, I just got back a-- you what now? I'm sorry, you want me to kill the leader of the Railroad?! Just like that?! Look maybe if we-- Um. Where's the option that says, "Hey, I know these people. What if I brought them down here and we talked about what's really going on? Also, what the hell is the matter with you, you idiot?" I... don't see it... Well, I'm not gonna kill her. Guess I'll go warn her.

Hey, Desdemona. First thing: why are you an Othello reference unless you plan to marry a synth? Also, the Institute wants to kill you. What if instead I brought them up here and we talked it ov-- oh... nope that second part isn't an option. Oh, the only way to progress this dialogue is if I say I'll side with you. Well, yeah, of course, I'm not gonna murder anyone because of a misunderstanding. Anyway... oh, you want to rescue the synths from the Institute? Um... ok, but what if we first got this whole thing sorted ou-- no? Meet a contact at the Institute...? Ok, back I go.

Hey, guys, is anyone here trying to save syn-- oh hey! Listen, I know you want to help the synths. Now personally I think this whole thing is a little misguided, but if it maybe opens the door to a dialogue perhaps we sh-- start an uprising you say? Two things: Isn't that gonna get a bunch of innocent people killed, and also, why are you an idiot? How can I stop this fr-- I can't...


Hey, Desdemona, I guess we're starting a robot uprising? Listen, this is all really getting out of hand. What if we used the inside contact and my position to bridge the ga--OH SHIT WE'RE BEING ATTACKED BY THE BROTHERHOOD FOR SOME REASON! Better kill all of them! Well shit, I guess war was inevitable with the BoS. At least that was a cool explosion. Anyway, back to the Institute.

Hey, man- er, synth, things are getting super messed up. What if we reconsi-- ...kill everyone in the room...? I'm sorry, you literally told me to kill everyone in this ro-- Yeah, there it is as my objective: "Kill everyone in the room." Does that include the innocent, unarmed people who keep complimenting my success on that last mission? It does. So I'm a murderer now.


Ok, they're all dead. Oh hey, Railroad guys. Alright, so I'm thinking we sneak in, get the synths out undercover, and try to use the synths as leverage to make the Institute listen and we can work for pea-- what the hell did you just hand me? A bomb?! For what? THE REACTOR?! The reactor that I helped build an hour ago that could provide a near limitless supply of energy to the entire Commonwealth?! That's your solution?! You idiots didn't even know this place existed! And now you want to-- no. No, no, no.

And with that, I quit the game. I don't even know if I'll go back and finish it. I don't even know if there's a save far back enough that can undo the damage without having to redo hours upon hours of quests. I spent so much time making decisions that I was certain would end up leading to all these faction leaders sitting in a room together saying, "Oh man, we are all idiots." I took my power armor helmet off and put on a stupid hat just to make me more charismatic so you might listen to me.

Pictured: Potential Voice of Reason - Certified Idiot
Pictured: Potential Voice of Reason - Certified Idiot

But my character is an idiot, because despite being the most important person on the planet in this story, he never once said, "HEY! I can fix all of this because I'm basically in charge of all of you." How depressing it is that peace can't be an option in a game world plagued by war.

But I suppose we have the game's tagline to explain away any chance of that happening.

An Update - A Second Chance to Be Disappointed

I load up that *NEW SAVE* I made right before murdering a bunch of innocent people. I have to know.

This time, I teleport back to the Railroad HQ and accidentally drop one of my grenades in the center of the room at Desdemona's feet. I try to knock it away from her by shooting it, but instead that makes it explode. Weird. Then my gun accidentally discharges in the direction of a Railroad worker. Then I accidentally implant 5 railway spikes directly into Tinker Tom's face. Oh boy, I've really made a mess of things, haven't I? Where's the dialogue option that says, "Sorry I killed all of you but I come from the future and know that your actions are going to doom the human race for the sake of not-actually-humans?" Oh, I guess I wouldn't see it; I killed everyone I could have talked to. Well, I guess I'll go back to the Institute, since now everything is totally going to work out for everybo--

Son of a bitch...
Son of a bitch...

Hey, so I guess you're dying now. Like right now. Yeah yeah, I know you talked about this, but holy shit, it's just happening without any fanfare at all. Anyway, son of mine who's a psychopath, I killed all those people who were just doing what they thought was right.

The game's writers, you mean? Yeah, I know.
The game's writers, you mean? Yeah, I know.

Well, at least there's a future for the human race now, right? Seeing as how the only threat to the Institute was a group of ragtag rebels whose numbers were dwindling because they couldn't protect their own safehouses and also didn't know where this place actually was (we'll ignore the part where they already had someone working on the inside). So what's the last thing? That last BIG quest that's gonna make good on this tragedy. Is it get the minutemen down here to spread the word that were not gon-- there's nothing...? What? Wait, what were we working towards that made me kill ev--

--of sending my own father to murder a bunch of people!
--of sending my own father to murder a bunch of people!

Soooo... when do we get to the part where we fix the Commonwea--


The screen fades back up, I get a new perk, and... it's done. I really made a difference, guys. What's that? Some dumb argument in the Bio Lab? SURE! I'll go fix that! Let me put on my charisma hat and pass the dice roll! I mean, I could go into a huge diatribe about the illusion of choice and why this is maybe the most disappointing thing to happen in a story ever, but the last guy already taught me the perfect attitude to not even bother.

Games are art.
Games are art.

Actually, now that I think about it, there is one way I could have prevented all of these needless deaths. Let me find that old save again...



Happy Hour Improv Joins Extra Life!

I belong to an improv troupe in Las Vegas called Happy Hour Improv. We run a gaming web series called "Happy Hour Game Time," in which we play some games and yell at each other. So when I caught word that Extra Life was starting up, I pitched the idea to the group and we immediately decided to join the cause.

We'll be doing our 25 hour live stream on November 2nd with a whole mess of rotating guests from the Las Vegas improv and theatre community. They are all hilarious people, and we'll be switching games constantly, ensuring fresh, funny content all damn day. We also all tend to suck at games when we're recording, so the tempers will fly and there will be no shortage of frustration taking the form of blaming each other for our faults. It shall be grand.

If you're in Vegas, enjoy some gaming comedy, or just want to help some kids, check out our team be and sponsor us. Even better, join the team and help us hit our $1000 goal. There is nothing we would love more than to have to raise our goal limit!

Team Page: www.extra-life.org/team/happyhourimprov

Twitch Page: www.twitch.tv/happyhourimprov

Here's a bit of our show, and a pretty solid example of what to expect this November 2nd:

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TonyBlue Plays - A Voyage Into YouTube Gaming

Thank God for the Elgato Game Capture HD. I have finally found a way to quickly and easily capture game footage off my consoles. Powered up with this little device and Garageband, I am able to do something I've wanted to do for a long time: post videos of games online with commentary. And so, I introduce TonyBlue Plays, a series of videos of random games from all sorts of generations. I'm trying to pick some obscure PS1 games, but I have also done some more recent releases.
This is still a fresh project for me (I only started about a week ago), and I'm looking for feedback and suggestions. So if anyone has any sort of feedback whatsoever, I'd love to hear it. I hope to keep doing this for awhile, and I'd love to have the support of the Giantbomb community of duders behind me. I don't need cash or sponsors, and I'm not trying to do anything fancy other than playing games and talking about them; all I ask is for some honest opinions and interested viewership.
It all starts here, with me failing to crack the 2,000,000 point mark in PacMan CE DX's Manhattan maze. If you enjoy the show, let me know, check out the rest, and I'll keep on truckin'. Game on!


My Journey Into Journey - The Most Emotional Experience I've Had

I just had the single most magical gaming experience of my life, and I knew that I had to drop everything and write about it.

The game Journey just released on PS3, and (having loved everything from ThatGameCompany), I bought it and downloaded it immediately. You play as a figure in a red cloak wandering around an endless desert. You have three controls: move, jump, and sing. It is through these simple abilities that you experience the entire game. As you make your way through the seemingly infinite sand dunes, you come across what appear to be the ruins of an ancient culture, some of which respond and change dramatically when you sing around them. It is through experimentation and curiosity that you make discoveries and progress, and all of it is done without a single word, spoken or written.

What makes Journey truly unique, however, is that you can run into another player in the same location as you at pretty much any given time. If either of you sing, a glow appears around the other player's screen to indicate the direction of the sound. You can then do one of two things: continue on your merry way by yourself, or partner up with the other player and travel through each level together. Once again, there is no instruction whatsoever as to which course of action to take.

I choose the latter.

The other red-caped figure and I first met as we finished freeing flying strips of fabric which formed bridges between several large structures. We made our way to the entrance of the bridge and stopped. It was only a moment, but we both paused at the same time, seemingly unsure as to what was about to happen. As I wondered whether this other mystery player was going to play along or just take off, they sang to me. I sang back to them, and in less than a moment we were flying side by side up and over the fabric as wind rushed past and music swelled to match the tremendous speed at which we were traveling. We both landed at an altar, which we sang at together, causing a small ring of light to appear on the floor as the altar began to glow. Our characters sat down next to each other, and we were both treated to a short animation revealing a type of hieroglyphic presentation of the history of the land. It was at this moment I knew there was something special about this game.

The next level loaded up, and, much to my surprise and excitement, both my character and this other mystery partner entered the environment together. Everything else that followed defies all explanation, as this unworldly, instant cooperation and camaraderie made itself known in the most organic and natural progression I have ever experienced in any medium. In a landscape that stretched on for miles, we stayed right next to each other. As one of us found a symbol we could absorb to increase our jumping ability, we would quickly sing at the other, directing them to it. When we reached the top of a dune, revealing a beautiful vista of light and sand, we both paused for a moment to take it all in, right before surfing down the other side, competing to see who could quickly glide between a series of archways. We both stayed together and stealthily sneaked around several pillars as a giant, flying snake shone an ominous beam of light from its glowing eye, as if searching for escaped prisoners. Every moment was shared together, with no way to communicate other than a series of notes.

Finally, I saw what time it was and knew that I had to stop to go to bed (right after writing this). I felt a pang of sadness as I realized that I had just gone on this amazing adventure with someone I had never met and now had to leave before it was over. The next area loaded after we made our daring escape from the snake giants, and I tried to think of how to tell this other person I was about to leave. They took a few steps forward, but I remained still. I delivered two quick notes, "Hum, Hum" and then rotated around a few times, the best alternative I could come up with in lieu of waving. The other player walked up to me, paused for a moment, and sang "Hum, Hum." I then held down the sing button for a moment, resulting in singing a loud and resonant chord; this was my "thank you." The player reciprocated, and I pressed Pause, causing my character to sit. I then had to force myself to select "Quit Game" as the other character just watched me, motionless, as I vanished from their world; a world we had traveled through together for only an hour. We started an adventure together, but we would have to finish it separately.

We will never know each others' name.

No other game has moved me on such a deeply personal level. It teaches such a poignant lesson about life in shockingly simple way. We all go on journeys with people, and through these adventures we become closer to each other than we ever could have imagined, but ultimately we always end with having to go our separate ways. It's almost as though we never want to achieve whatever the final goal is, because that will mean it's all over. We end up feeling sad and lonely when we reach the end, because getting there was so exhilarating.

This game is truly about the journey, not the destination.