Today is October the fourteenth. In exactly five days, my social life will be over. Why, you ask? Three words: Fallout New Vegas. I will be waiting anxiously the Monday night beforehand, and when the clock strikes midnight and I grab my Collector’s edition copy, I will drive back to my apartment and no one will hear from me for several days. Why? Because Fallout 3 was and still is my favorite Xbox 360 game to date, and I have been as giddy as a little schoolgirl about the release of the newest Fallout. I killed somewhere in the ballpark of two hundred hours on Fallout 3, and I plan to kill even more with New Vegas. So in honor of the game that will destroy my social life for the next week, Fallout 3’s Vault Dweller has earned a spot as this week’s Badass of the Week.
At the beginning of Fallout 3’s gameplay, the protagonist can hardly be considered a badass — all you can do is crawl around, open a play pen, make baby noises, and read from a book. The story moves through the years, and the Vault Dweller is ten. At his or her birthday party, Butch of the Tunnel Snakes picks a fight with you, and you can either show your fearlessness by fighting him back, or by giving in and giving him your baked treat, depending on karma. (I tried to beat the shit out of the kid — hooray for bad karma.) The story progresses some more, the protagonist takes the GOAT, and the story finally halts when the Vault Dweller is an adult, breaking free of Vault 101 and starting on the real adventure of wits, strength, and total badassery.
The rest of the game depends purely on the player. You can choose good karma or bad karma throughout the game. Good karma, you save thousands and become a protector of the people. Bad karma, you steal and cheat and lie, causing death and destruction wherever you go. No matter which karma choices you make, the Vault Dweller remains a badass in one way or another- simply surviving in post-apocalyptic Washington DC takes balls. Lots and lots of balls.
If you’re as ridiculously excited about New Vegas as I am, check out this Q&A that Playstation.Blog just posted. It has a ton of fan questions about the upcoming post-apocalyptic game that may just tide you over until Tuesday. Or it may not. Maybe you should just go sit fetal position in a corner until then. That’s probably what I’ll be doing.