I remember playing the first two Fallout’s all the way back in 2004 and 2005, I ran out of Vault 13 in search of a chip. The first two Fallout’s were games that struck a chord with me although I didn’t think much of them afterwards. However, Fallout 3 was a game that was completely different from those two, while it wasn’t a reboot in the form of the franchise but it was a reboot of the ideas set forth by the originals, it didn’t follow any of the original games in terms of gameplay and instead it was a first person adventure game in the style of 2006’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Fallout 3 struck a chord deep within me with the likes I’ve never seen before, I love Necropolis and the rival families of New Reno, Nevada but the opening of Fallout 3 stayed with me, even now 9 years after the fact. What do we do with Megaton?
I emerged from Vault 101 into the hellhole that is the Capital Wasteland, the former city of Washington D.C, the nation’s capital. I walk down the road and there it is on the side of the road, Megaton. Megaton is the first settlement that you see, it’s a cone-shaped settlement that protects it’s citizens from the hells of the Capital Wasteland and when you approach for the first time, you can hear the Deputy who happens to be a Robot talking or sometimes, he is shooting at some ants and as the player approaches, the metal sheets open and you are lead into Megaton.
Once past the gate, the local sheriff will approach you and ask what’s your deal. As soon as you’re done with him, Megaton reveals itself to be just not a cone-shaped place it’s a giant hole in the ground with an atomic bomb in the center of the town. Outside, is the remains of the nation’s capital and yet Megaton survives and it’s full of people. For example, Moira Brown wants to do research for her book that will soon spread all across the nation and even reach the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as seen in Fallout 4.
At the bottom of the town lays an Atomic Bomb that never exploded, it spills out radioactivity and people worship the bomb. They fear it’s anger and question why the bomb made the world as it is and they embrace it, while at the same time, made the town possible and led to the existence of Megaton.
Appropriately, the main quest continues and you have an option to start a side quest that is all about the bomb. A mysterious man by the name of Mr. Burke tells the player that Megaton can be wiped out and he hands you a detonator and a implication, and proceeds to tell you to meet you at the tallest tower this side of the Potomac. That same tower is owned by Mr. Tenpenny and he’s evil. A richman wanting to explode Megaton because it’s getting in the way of the beauty that is the Capital Wasteland.
If you ally with Burke and Tenpenny, Megaton is destroyed with a mushroom cloud rising above the clouds. This single choice has stayed with me throughout my career in videogames and I haven’t experienced anything like it yet, even with Fallout 4 or any RPG since including The Witcher 3.
Choices make us and that’s what so important about Fallout 3. Things aren’t complicated at all and it’s all about making a choice and living with it. The dice have been played and the stakes have been risen.