Skim & Watch: MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

One of my favorite games to play is Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 4. The game is very heavily based in character progression and customization of “builds” to influence your specialization in terms of attacking, defending, and external techniques like crafting. The premise of the game starts out as you exiting a cryopod into a nuclear wasteland caused by a world war 30 years ago. The Earth is filled with multiple dangerous biomes of creatures, foes, and tribes at every turn. Resources are scarce and your ability to scavenge for food, weapons, and crafting is the sole determinant of your survival. 


There are many interconnected mechanisms at play in this postwar world, and they all form a cohesive end-goal of being able to survive in this nuclear wasteland. You can circumvent the need to scavenge by various self-learned techniques like cooking and crafting, all of which require you to meet a level requirement earned by experience in the craft. The more time you spend cooking foods, the better you get at it – this character skill progression is very satisfying as you go from level 1 to level 100 through time spent in the game. The roleplaying mechanism of the game is also enjoyable, as you can customize your character through skill acquisition, weapon choice, specialization, and interactions with other citizens of the nuclear Wasteland. Your actions and faction choices in this game directly affect the outcome of the game, which underscore the roleplaying mechanism. There is also the “settlements” mechanism of Fallout which is very similar to a “Sims”-like experience building a nuclear settlement. The mechanism of death from the nuclear wasteland also is multiplied tenfold by the sheer amount of things you can die to – radroaches, fall damage, gaseous toxins, poisons, guns, baseball bats, and chainsaws are just a few. The weapon and armor acquisition path of this game is also incredibly satisfying, as it is discovery-based or quest-based, which incentivize gamers to explore the world and do quests they encounter along the way. All these mechanisms make Fallout very fun!

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