Fallout: New Vegas (PC, 2010)

(image from Fallout Wiki)

And finally, we get to the inspiration for this post. I was watching the new Fallout TV series on Amazon Prime, and decided that I wanted to play through Fallout: New Vegas for the third or tenth time.

New Vegas is, to me, the greatest RPG that has ever been made. It helps, of course, that I am beyond fascinated with post-apocalyptic fiction, and the setting of the Fallout universe (and New Vegas and the Mojave Desert specifically) holds tremendous appeal to me.

I’m not going to wax lyrical too much about the game, this post is already long enough as it is and I would be very surprised if most people reading this aren’t already aware of just how Good A Thing it is, so instead I’ll just relay the memorable moment that I had whilst playing that inspired this post.

The game starts you off in a small town called Goodsprings (which actually exists, and holds an annual Fallout Weekend at the bar featured in the game) and points you in the direction of the New Vegas Strip in order to further the plot. But, as seasoned players will know, heading straight for New Vegas is a massive risk as you have to contend with some of the Mojave’s nastiest creatures — Cazadors and Deathclaws to name the two main culprits.

Instead, most players head down to Primm, then on to the NCR’s Mojave Outpost before heading to Nipton to check out some suspicious looking goings-on. And it’s in Nipton that our story takes place.

The first time I played New Vegas, I was following this path to the letter, and as I approached Nipton, I was approached by a very excited gentleman named Oliver Swanick:

(image from YouTube)

Oliver informed me that he’d won the Lottery, and that certainly explained his excitement. As you can see from the picture, he was so pleased he was even thrilled just to be breathing in the air. He didn’t tell me what he’d won though, but I wondered just how much money would be the prize in a post-nuclear Lottery.

The character I was playing was something of a bastard, and I wanted to find out, so as soon as he stopped talking, I shot him clean in the head, killing him stone dead. I searched his corpse and, to my dismay, found that he wasn’t carrying any riches in particular. I looted what little there was of value from his belongings and carried on to Nipton, where I met the runner-up in the Lottery, an ex-convict called Boxcars.

It was whilst talking to Boxcars that the unintentional hilarity of the past few minutes made itself clear to me.

You see, Boxcars explained that Nipton had been taken over by a number of legionaries from Caesar’s Legion, their group being led by the ridiculously cool looking (and sounding) Vulpes Inculta:

(image from Fallout Wiki)

The Legion rounded everyone up in the town, and accused them all of profligacy. As punishment, and because Nipton was a town famous for its lottery, Vulpes decided to run his own lottery. He gave all of the residents a lottery ticket and then drew tickets one by one.

To quote Boxcars himself: “He started drawing tickets, and that’s how people got punished. First up was the ‘lucky losers.’ They got decapitated – guess that’s ‘lucky’ because it’s pretty quick. Then came the crucifixions. Goddamn but those went on and on and on… Third-place runners-up got enslaved. I got the fuck beat out of my legs, and the winner they let go free.”

And it was here that, internally at least, I cracked up. The idea that Oliver Swanick had had the ridiculous good fortune of avoiding death by winning this sadistic lottery, only to immediately run into my character and have his head blown to pieces by me… it just really tickled me. I had this mental image of him ascending to the Gates of St. Peter and just wondering what the hell he did to deserve that.

I promise I’m not a psychopath. Honest.

So, there it is. A few of my most memorable moments in gaming over the course of my life. I don’t get an awful lot of spare time for playing games these days, and when I do it tends to be quick ‘casual’ play so I don’t expect to make many more such memories… but who knows?