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Box art, ruins and a power armour helmet

1997 - PC - Interplay

The first Fallout game and probably still the best. ♥ I've heard it described as depressing and I can't understand that. I mean, yeah, sure, the life in the ashes of the nuclear holocaust... but... there's life! I think it's really sweet and optimistic generally in tone (even more so than Fallout: New Vegas, which are the only two Fallout games I can describe like that at all - and, probably not uncoincidentally, my favourites).

The turn-based combat is super fun. Companion and inventory management suck (I bundle these together because one of the best things to do is pickpocket your companions so they can carry more & so they don't charge you for what you 'take' from them lmao). The maps are all really interesting, including the world map and the way you traverse it. And it shines best in its characters and the interactions you have with them. The talking heads are sooo cool and of course The Master has to be up there as one of the greatest video game antagonists ever.

The soundtrack is also sick as hell - mostly plagiarised, but never mind that, it's some fabulous arranging by Mark Morgan (and some composing, too). It's hard to pick a favourite - maybe Shady Sands :)

Though there's lots to do and see, the game is also actually quite short compared to modern RPGs. That's great because it really lends itself well to replaying with a different kind of character, doing things in different ways (there are 3 preset characters who specialise in 3 different endgames, pretty much, so stick to one of those if you're new and don't want to accidentally make a weak character).

I never actually replay as a new character, just a new spin on my fave premade, the stealthy Natalia Dubrovhsky, who I'm flat out obsessed with. Look, I made her in a dollmaker, I write fics about her, and I'm basically always thinking about her!! ❤❤

You can buy it here and you need to patch kids back in because that was how they got rid of killable kids in the original UK release lmao, which is apparently the one Bethesda is now offering (and, tbf, the one I got for free from GOG+Interplay a decade ago in the latter's final fuck you to the people who bought their IP). You will also want this DirectDraw fix, unless you're playing on Win98 maybe :)

If you haven't played before, maybe be aware that the sequel is not so good at all. It has different writers and it shows. It has redeeming factors but it's quite a mean and unpleasant game in a lot of ways, totally unlike this one.