Fallout Retrospective

Every now and again, a retrospective for Interplay's original Fallout pops up on the web and we're compelled to go read it if only to trigger some recessed-yet-fond memories of the post-apocalyptic RPG. And by "now", I mean right now, as there's a retrospective on Games Radar that is drawing our attention this weekend:

By now it was the late 1990s, a tired time for PC RPGs. Acres of ground had been lost to all the fancy FPS newcomers bringing guns to a swordfight. But with its unique '50s propaganda vibe and an unprecedented level of player choice, this helped spark a role-playing resurgence that would grace us with the likes of Baldur's Gate, Deus Ex, and story-driven sweet thing Planescape: Torment from Black Isle Studios, the developer that sprouted from the core Fallout team.

When the GURPS association fell through before launch, in came the tailor-made SPECIAL system: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck, topped up with your à la carte choice of character skills, traits and perks. Then off you went, out of your comfort zone and into a world where the old rules had burned to a crisp when the bombs fell back in 2077.


Of course, classic Fallout looks a bit scruffy now, and it was never the most forgiving of adventures, so in some ways the series' growth has thrown a harsh light onto its origins. But this was visionary stuff, opening up avenues for morality or hair-raising immorality, then leaving you to deal with the karmic consequences of lying, betraying or resolving disagreements with people like the old Vault 13 Overseer by, well, murdering them.