In many ways, this is a part II to a previous blog on Fallout 4‘s Nick Valentine, and how codes and conventions of well-known, distinctly American cinematic genres—in that case the crime/noir/detective film—are often used as access points through which many video games reinterpret and represent the past. Here, I want to briefy talk about the new (and final) addition to the Fallout 4 universe, the Nuka World DLC pack, and how it similarly pays reference to the western genre (something that I’ve been looking at in my current PhD research too).
But first, I want to start with my first impressions of the DLC more, since I’ve more or less ended up entirely hating all of the others.
I was so excited for Fallout 4’s new Far Harbor DLC, with all its promise of a new, big storyline, a new case for the Valentine Detective Agency, and an entirely new environment to explore. To be honest, I was so underwhelmed with the previous DLCs that I didn’t really have anything, nor the inclination to write about them, but Far Harbor did seem to offer what I wanted from new content. The trailer looked particularly great, and I love anything that involves Nick Valentine, so I faithfully downloaded it on Thursday morning and set aside the day for playing.
Far Harbor’s official trailer, Bethesda.
But, my initial reactions are not entirely positive.
(Yes, there will be spoilers)
Filed under Games, Reviews
Videogames with historical (or counter-historical) settings often mimic and recreate popular media images of the ‘real world’ as the basis for their virtual environments. Of course, this is a necessity for texts which consciously try to build highly detailed, immersive and interactive virtual landscapes, depicting ‘the past’, in an effort toward facilitating ‘authentic’ player experiences.
But though a technologically advanced and unquestionably postmodern medium, many contemporary video game creators also recreate and utilise ‘old media’ materials, placing these texts and items in-game to be collected or accessed by players.
Clearly, I’m a collector (Fallout 4)
“Well, that’s some real solid detective work”
– Nick Valentine, ‘Getting a Clue’
In a recent review of Black Mass published in The Independent, the writer argued that ‘Hollywood was always going to make a film about the life and crimes of James “Whitey” Bulger’. Hardly an entirely new ‘story’, it’s already been the inspiration for Showtime’s Brotherhood (2006-2008). Now the story of the ‘notorious US mob boss’ who ran South Boston with the Winter Hill Gang has also made its way (allegorically) into the Boston depicted in Fallout 4, as have the codes and conventions of the detective/mobster genre, through the storyline of Detective Nick Valentine and his pre-war mobster nemesis, Eddie Winter.
Filed under Film, Games, history
This blog post follows from the previous, general look at the use of the past in Bethesda’s Fallout series, and more specifically, the repeated reference to and use of American historical memory as the foundation for alternate-history narratives. Here, one Fallout 4 quest is discussed at in more detail, ‘Road to Freedom’.
Chris Sullentrop of Kotaku already blogged about ‘Approaching Fallout 4 like a tourist’, and how this one quest in particular allows the player to ‘role-play’ as one. But there is arguably more to the use of these historic sites than giving players the chance to be tourists.
(Trying to keep spoilers to a minimum, but obviously, for this quest in particular, they’re unavoidable).
Filed under Games, history