Stumping in the wasteland: On the politics of Fallout

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Bitmob editorializes on the politics of Fallout.<blockquote>There might not be Democrats or Republicans, but the Fallout universe still has a diverse political landscape -- even discounting blood-thirsty raiders and Jet addicts. Given that survival is rough in the wasteland, the residents of the former United States usually live under martial law despite whatever faction they might look to for protection. Without a standardized law or economy to stabilize society, shows of force are the only way to keep the peace. The methods and belief systems of these factions, however, still vary greatly.

    The Brotherhood of Steel, with their signature power armor and energy weapons, is probably the most recognizable faction. The Brotherhood seems to be the most pragmatic of all the parties that player characters encounter. Their primary motivation is not the mere restoration of society; they stamp out all forms of chaos and disorder, such as rival factions or super mutants. However, their willingness to collect and restore old technology suggests that a return to the status quo might be just underneath the surface.

    The New California Republic is similar to the BoS. They patrol the Mojave Wasteland and try to protect their citizens from raiders and slavers alike. Though they may be overzealous in their territorial desires, their motivations are not entirely ignoble.

    The Enclave, seen most recently in Fallout 3, is perhaps the most relatable faction in the series. Much like contemporary politicians, they rely on fear mongering and willful ignorance to stay in power and often don’t appear to have the best interests of their constituents in mind. The Enclave, if you trust its radio broadcasts, believes that a return to America’s former glory is just right around the corner. According to them, we just need to purify the human race by killing all of the super mutants and “infected” citizens of the wasteland.</blockquote>Thanks GameBanshee.
  2. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    * sigh * I wish the writer of this article had inspired his musings more on Fallout 1 and 2, and less on Fallout 3, though Fallout NV returned somewhat to the original ideas.

    (this is mostly directed towards the BOS part, about the taking out forms of chaos and disorder)

    The BOS were never really that interested in rebuilding society, well not as long as outsiders were still alive.
    They were simply waiting for the rest of the human species to die out, inherit the world and then rebuild.
    In the meantime they would claim technology and do trading for supplies they did not create themselves.

    The Enclave originally was pretty much the same, they saw themselves as the last true humans and what is left outside their organization as mutations.
    Perhaps useful for slave labor, experimentation, and limited trading for mass supplies but that was pretty much it.

    Allistar Tenpenny is also a strange choice, he never seemed to hold any ideas about wanting to build something.
    More living the luxurious life in his tower.

    The NCR and the Caesar's Legion fit better, as does Mr House, I guess other better suggestions for political factions might have been Vault City, the Shi, and would the Wrights from New Reno (in their winning ending) and the Followers of the Apocalypse count?
  3. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Meh. Is this yet another article about old and new Fallout, written by someone who didn't really played the old games?

    This alone is enough for me to stop reading.

    Don't get me wrong-- An article about the politics in the Fallout games can be really interesting. But please, can we finally cut that shallow stuff and go a tad deeper than "they are good and want to rebuild" and "they are not so good and want to kill everyone while rebuilding"?
  4. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Why are all the interesting and unexplored themes for articles always written by some ignorant...someone?

    Seriously, aside from articles people on and from this forum write, all others are lame...or at least, most of them.
  5. Gaddes

    Gaddes Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 18, 2010
    Wait, what? Tenpenny was a total throw away character, who had zero impact on the Capital wasteland, well, other than ordering Wes Johnson to ask random people if they can blow up Megaton for reason other than "it's ugly".

    Never mind the fact that it's never explained just how he got to the Capital Wasteland. Guess he swam. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the ferry guy from Point Lookout brought him over.

    Could have been an interesting article, but the guy that wrote it has no clue about the factions at all.
  6. Alphadrop

    Alphadrop A right proper chap.

    Aug 21, 2008
    I always imagined him, the Irish plonker and the Russian guy all taking turns on a pedalo.
  7. LinkPain

    LinkPain Mildly Dipped

    Jan 18, 2011
    One thing i like about this article is that he touched the basic core, what you do is what you get and you have to think about consequences. Not just shoot throughout the game.

    But beyond that he barely touched the material, i think he did not even read half of what The Vault wiki has to offer or even The Bible. Not to mention playing original games. This is just the basics, barely touched surface of only recent games. New Vegas has much more to it than he mentioned it, it's not in the same cup of importance as Failout 3. Enclave in Failout 3 most recently...did any of them "playas" or the article maker bother to talk to Arcade Ganon at all?!
    Son i am disappoint.

    I still think that Master and Mutants, the making of FEV and his use, are a much more important to the main story than this democracy autocracy dictatorship crap. World would eventually be bombed anyway considering the history of fighting among nations. And he narrowed BoS so much! His only comment is that he doesn't want to make the article big. Why make it then?
    Fallout story (should)must fit in more than 3 pages.
  8. ReedTFM

    ReedTFM First time out of the vault

    Dec 21, 2010
    The Enclave is quite mischaracterized. They are fascists looking to wipe out the wasteland so the "pure" humans may resettle it. They don't consider the wasteland inhabitants to be their constituents at all.

    Even fallout3 sort-of kind-of indicated this with the end game option to add the modified fev to the water. It was supposed to kill anyone with any mutation. Which would have been most everyone including the player. Although this result was neutered by the broken steel addon, still, note they were not looking for votes.

    Eden's propaganda was probably more to discourage organized resistance than to recruit anyone.
  9. Khan FurSainty

    Khan FurSainty Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Apr 23, 2009
    I think The New California Republic is a pretty cool group. Eh tries to protect their citizens from raiders and slavers alike and doesn't afraid of anything.
  10. LinkPain

    LinkPain Mildly Dipped

    Jan 18, 2011
    It is Bethesda problem for overlooking simple facts about factions in Fallout. Even if they want everything done "their way", making foolish mistakes and then using DLC packs to remedy them and charging large sum of money is them going from a bad move to shitworse. But they got that money.

    BoS being similar to NCR is bullshit too. If anything, they resemble Templars in some way and not a democratic state of the union.Secluded, not butt open like, again, Failout3.
  11. 4too

    4too Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 30, 2003
    The Power Of Projection

    The Power Of Projection

    Can't say I read this @ the ponderous pace required by a technical instruction.

    My breezy view,

    the observation that comes to my mind is how each individual high lights the gray areas with their own experiences and, or, agendas.

    At least, I don't detect in this web page's text filler, the preaching of “isms”, like, as, I read in the essay's comments.
    Which alternate reality is being proselytized here?
    Too simple a parable for my taste. How does the 'Ma Bell' corporate monopoly fit in this “ ' IRL ' ” cosmology?
    Anyway, the comment's purveyor of misdirection is not a fan of government interference,
    so he may have: “ ' the strength of 10 because his heart is pure' “ … aspirations of a bold chevalier.

    What I want to present is detecting the 'play with in a play',
    that we can observe as much about the writer by what they projected on a base of knowledge,
    that we all deem reasonably familiar,
    as they expose their grasp, or gasp, of the Fallout mythology.

    News? A mainstream-ed writer paints the picture by his own derived numbers with a commercially limited palette.
    Whether in Crayolas or Krylon, sure that mom has a spare magnet on the refrigerator to display the master work.

    Me? I have to turn over a card or two?

    I dapple the isolationist BOS with “ A Canticle For Liebowitz “ tech monasticism,
    fortified by a latent Templar militarism,
    on a covert operations leash.
    More facilitators then protectors.
    Not kings, but king-dom makers.
    Fractured faction, each chasing their own tales, and shadowy conflict of interests.
    That Science-terrific! ecclesiastical cat can swing any way a plot requires.

    {As washing off the finger paints, 4too turns off stage: Oh Mo-om, what's for lunch?}

  12. Eternauta

    Eternauta It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 8, 2010
    Bitmob did not really offer a good analysis. Too short, too simple. And like it has been said already, it seems to be based on Fallout 3, which makes me think the author knows nothing about the Fallout world.


    While playing Fallout 2, I usually felt an inclination towards the NCR when it comes to big factions. But it was just because I hate Vault City (in fact I've placed plastic explosives on Lynette in more than one playthrough - Montonero style!).

    The Wright family from New Reno was nice and helping them has always been my favorite ending for Reno... but just didn't seem to have the power to expand and change much outside New Reno. I could say I think they were similar to a good government in a small, not so powerful country, and that is why I felt sympathy for them.

    The Shi always got my attention. They are a very interesting faction and I think they should have been worked on a bit more. Although a bit technocratic, they didn't seem "evil". I guess they never had much protagonism because of their isolation.

    What I never liked about Fallout 1 and 2 is that helping the "evil" group was never a real option. I know you could join the Unity in Fallout 1 but that only lead to "Vault 13 is now dead". When I first played the game I decided to join the Master to see if it was a valid option to beat the game. I was expecting my character to become some sort of Super Mutant high rank and actually be part of the Master's domination. Anyway, I just wanted that to be an option, but I don't like the Master and the Children of the Cathedral.
  13. Tremer

    Tremer It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 5, 2010
    Well... i think nobody can make a long complex analysis about Fallout 3´s politics. can you?
  14. Eternauta

    Eternauta It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 8, 2010
    First I don't think an analysis about politics in Fallout 3 would be worth it at all, as the factions are too simple. The Brotherhood of Steel are an obvious example, even if they are just a branch, as they turned into the "good guys" in that game. And that's it. You got good ones and bad ones in Fallout 3.

    Second, no I can't make a long complex analysis about Fallout 3 politics, mainly because of what I wrote above. I actually never said I could, and that does not cancel the fact that Bitmob's analysis is cheap. I could try to make such an analysis (on Fallout 1/2 however) but I don't feel like making one because, no matter how interesting it could be, I'd prefer to examine every single dialogue option and every single detail before actually typing down strong statements. I guess, however, that what I'd say about Vault City, the NCR and the Enclave is that each faction shows one aspect of the USA: Vault City -> xenophobia (they want to keep outsiders away with their walls, or use them for "minor" duties); NCR -> imperialism (they want to expand over the Wasteland and convince everyone that their political system is the best); Enclave -> a kind of patriotism which is strongly related to the US government. This last thing might sound strange to some of you, but "patriotism" doesn't work the same way everywhere. For example, here in Argentina it is very common to think that "patriotism" is necessarily against the government (no matter what that is), especially in the last decades in which we've had very corrupt governments that have harmed our economy. I can't think of a single Argentinean film in which a politician does something good for our country. USA however tends to produce films in which the President/government is the good guy.

    And I did gave my humble visions of the factions in my last reply, according to which I have a favorite ending for each one of them.
  15. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    I was really hoping for so much more from that article. It reads more like an advert saying, "hey there's more depth to Fallout 3 and NV."

    Ok.....Then again, some of the responses to the article are even dumber. What I have been thinking about is how Fallout New Vegas reflects our current reality more than it does a possible future or past.

    Bear with me a moment-

    One view of the Philosophy of History is that Historians don't really tell "the truth" of the past but rather they offer an interpretation of the past based on the perceptions and values of the time in which the historians write. I have always thought that was rather unsatisfying. Historians are often a bunch of intellectual geeks who got to finish a Ph.D and then got jobs teaching history to the next generation, they are hardly representative of the time and place. Maybe an argument for popular history- based on popular sales, might be more representative, but I doubt it. Even so, there is some merit to say that people view history through the lense of their experiences, and those moments are not the same as the people who actually lived in the past. We don't get so much as "the truth" but a shade of the truth, an interpretation consistent with the views of the time.

    Fallout New Vegas is a game of an alternative future. But the future might also be now in the sense that the metaphors are much more relevant to today than a future. What we see in Fallout New Vegas is a reflection, a shade, of our present politics in guise of a futuristic post-apocalpytic world that is, in its bumpy way, rebuilding.

    The story- Two sides fight over Hoover Dam, a source of power. One is a democratic republic that has stretched its imperial ambitions a bit too far. the other side is a tyrannical state founded on a collection of traditional tribes (traditional cultures), unified by a common ideology and method of total warfare which engages in campaigns of terror and assassination. Its a pervesion of Rome, perhaps, or of Fascism, or of a militant and monolythic Islam? Or some kind of synthesis of all these. But it plays to an American psyche of "Other" of an alternative evil, an "other ideology."

    Yet around these factions, people are trying to get by and live their lives. For the most part, these folks no that war will come to them, yet they are generally trying to live out their lives with normal routines. The news reports from Mr. New Vegas seem to update the community the way many people continue to connect to conflicts in the US- listening to the radio as they drive to work or have breakfast.

    Society breaks into factions, some very social and philanthropic- the Followers, others more exclusive (BoS). Due to the chaos of the time, communities respond. Primm needs a sherriff, the Westside has its homegrown milita, while "the King", a gangster, is willing to donate to "good works." The factions are like small civil society organizations operating without the benefit of a central authority. Shades of this exist today in less developed parts of the world.

    As I am playing this, I keep thinking of the setting of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly- Civil War era characters seeking fortune while the world around them moves to the tides of war. Like in that film, the two sides are warring over a piece of real estate both feel is vital, and both the bridge and the dam are platforms for expansion. But there are also metaphors to the US, the stretched democracy that finds itself engaged in an imperial war over power.

    One of the things I have noticed is how many of the soldiers and combatants- NCR troopers or raiders, are female. I don't recall that so many women were combatants in the older Fallout games. Old folks are also playing a larger role in the story as well, even if most of the population seems to be fairly young. Homosexuality is much more prominent in the story- a few of your potential comrades are gay or bi-sexual. There seems to be greater tolerance for drugs.

    I especially enjoy the idea that these tribal societies seem bent not on creating their own ideas and ideologies (which I think we saw more of in Fallout 1 than the other games) but rather to adopt and adapt to the ideologies and concepts of old. There is a process of social development through emulation of the past that runs throughout this story, and serves as a platform for the metaphors of politics and popular culture.

    There is a politics of Fallout. I can't speak to Fallout 3 (never played it), but I can for New Vegas. I am still exploring the game.

    Politics definitely has played a role in Fallout 1 and 2, even if what we are seeing in both those games is a slow process of state reformation from a largely atomized society (Fallout 1) and the creation of various forms of political order (Fallout 2), to the clash of those political forms in Fallout 3 New Vegas. If Fallout 1 and 2 spoke to a reinterpretation of the historical process of state building, (a process that stretched hundreds of years in Europe and continues in the developing world), the new version speaks to our current political reality.