Dear Fallout 4,
From January to December 2018, we enjoyed a whirlwind relationship in a lamp-lit room with the curtains closed in the daytime. We weren’t in a motel, and you were hardly a secret of mine; I couldn’t stop talking about you. “And then, the Brahmin were on the roof, the ghoul fell through the desk, and I’d bought a dog off a man trapped in a bush.” We would laugh together. I would laugh anyway, gently rocking in my concave wingback to stimulate blood-flow to my legs, having spent over 300 hours with you in those first three months alone.
I am reminded that when you first appeared on the scene in 2015, I had promised myself that I would avoid you with your tricksy temptations of open-world misadventure and your bobble-headed trinkets. Afterall, I had played Fallout 1 and 2 in my youth during the Summers of ’98 and ’99. By “during,” I mean “entirely encompassing,” in the same way that the Fat Man mini-nuke entirely encompassed the Radroach, the building he was formerly within, and the surrounding town and its environs when I accidentally pressed the “fire” button in-lieu of something much less cataclysmic, like “jump.” My stance changed with 2018 proving to be very much an eventful year in my life. By “eventful,” I mean “terribly horrific from the outset,” so let us not dwell any further here.
During our adventures, sunny in outlook but punctuated by hazy green radiation storms, I met and made the companionship of one Nick Valentine, a raggedy gum-shoe automaton. He was more of a Metropolis Bogart than a Tinfoil Magnum. When it came to freeing prep-school prisoners, killing centuries-old mob bosses, and risking our lives for the Railroad emancipation movement, “Valentine loved that.” In return, this is my Valentine’s love-letter to you, Fallout 4.
Lest you feel that this is the simple story of a man and his extra-special relationship with a sentient robot, there were other companions along the way, which yes, some of them I shamelessly romanced for their perks. There was a cheery, spherical butler; a fella who seemed neurologically interconnected with the fates of all settlements across the Commonwealth and constantly reminded me as such; a French-speaking scientist that I dressed as a cavewoman (with authentic Grognak battle axe accessory!); a gravel-voiced, desiccated rogue in revolutionary-era garb; and a sassy journalist modeled after the screwball comedies of the 30s, only this one was less His Girl Friday, than “Our Girl Post-Apocalypse and everyone is dying of radiation poisoning and being attacked by really big, what are they, flies or wasps or something?” They were mosquitos, Brian; they were mosquitos…