And RPGs/video games in general. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one. Also, as a side note, When I refer to "the modern games" I mostly refer to Fallout 3 (despite it being plural, I know) and any obvious points you see me make are purely for the sake of rhetoric and are likely not worth pointing out. I officially joined this website some five months or so ago, but I've been lurking a lot longer than that (years, as it were). During that period, I was mostly on the fence about NMA, specifically on the topic of the new Fallouts; whilst I certainly agreed that the writing had been dumbed down to a level that almost seemed like a joke, I found the way posters treated fans of the new games somewhat caustic, cantankerous and other synonyms of hostile. It seemed to me that the way people were driven away simply for disagreeing and the vehemence with which users defended their views bordered on maniacal and I wondered why. I'm not a huge fan of Bethesda's titles; I don't think they could make a proper RPG to save their lives. However, I still sympathized with the newer audiences flooding in because my first introduction to the franchise was Tactics, which is less than stellar; I thought that it being part of their identity drove them to defend it zealously just as you (and now I) here at NMA defend 1 and 2. But as I browsed places like /r/Fallout3, /r/Fallout4 and sugarbombed, that's not the impression I was getting. It seemed to me that these people genuinely thought that the newer games were well written and offered a wide array of choices for every quest, even though basically everyone here would claim the opposite. I honestly only bought the first two as a token effort to catch up with the lore of Tactics, since in my eyes it was basically more of the same. I don't think I need to tell you that they are spectacular; I enjoyed every second of them and Fallout 1, in particular, will always hold the No. 1 spot in my own top five. I tried to share this experience with my friends, but none of them were interested; they all grew up with Oblivion and Fallout 3 and were very put off by the graphics and gameplay. "Why", I thought to myself, "Would they be concerned with the combat and visuals when they themselves claimed that the best part of an RPG is the story?" "Well," I concluded, "It's because that's what they grew up with." A lot of my friends had PlayStations and the like growing up, but I didn't catch up and buy a console until I was in my teens; as such, we had very different views on what constituted a game in most regards. Incidentally, the fact that I was the only person in my circle even today who thinks Bethesda games are incredibly dull is the main reason why I joined the website; circlejerk or not, at least I can find some like-minded people here. But back to the point; I realized that Obsidian and Fallout 3 are what are considered the standard for RPGs nowadays. It's not the set of tropes and mechanics we became accustomed to, it was a whole new system. The classic, isometric RPGs may still exist today, but they are no longer center-stage; to many, they are the offshoot of things like Skyrim and the Witcher 3. "Surely, I'm not the only one who's realized this on NMA," I continued with my internal monologue, "It's just statistics." And it's true; if I hadn't added the line above, I'm sure many would have pointed out, in kinder words than mine, that I just stated the obvious while using way more paragraphs than any intelligent man ought to. So why do we defend Fallout 1 and 2 and sometimes Tactics? Because of the writing? Here's the clicker, though; I don't think the writing in the classics is a valid selling point. This is where this already overly lengthy post ventures into the territory of gaming at large. I'm certain you'll agree when I say that video games are at the very least a valid form of entertainment; but why aren't they more readily accepted as an art? Violence certainly isn't it; Quentin Tarantino made it abundantly clear that movies can have blood pouring down in buckets and still be considered an art. Is it the flimsy plots? I've read my fair share of Mills & Boon and I can tell you that they sell like hot-cakes. Hell, even comics are arguably an art, so why not video games? It's because all of the examples I've listed were genres. While all entertainment industries have preferred genres and conventions, the AAA industry is the only one to limit itself so thoroughly. No matter how great the writing or how incredible the exploration, combat is always a central, if not the only mechanic in the game. Publishers have found a comfortable, broad-market appeal originating from the most primal of power fantasies and their unwillingness to budge is reducing the market to a puerile landscape of shooting and stabbing in various forms, of which Fallout is part of. Make no mistake, it isn't just them. Even among indie games one would be hard-pressed to find one that doesn't contain combat in any form; even Undertale, which was fantastic in encouraging you to take the pacifist path, had a central combat mechanic (and arguably rewarded you for it). Combat isn't an intrinsically bad thing, but when it becomes nigh-universal in a medium, it betrays a juvenile streak which infects everything else; as great as the dialogue in whichever Fallout you want to pick is or the story of Spec Ops: The Line, it still bears the cross of its target audience and has a stick-it-to-your-teacher kind of humour and writing, no matter how clever. It's no Othello, is what I'm trying to say. So here's the point: until games learn to branch into properly differentiated genres, they'll be outgrown and forgotten. They'll remain a childish thing because that's who they're aimed at; whimsy and shooting and roleplaying are all well and good, but everyone gets tired of childish violence eventually. So can we really blame new fans for never having played the old games if it was before their time? It's not as if they don't know of War and Peace or other great classics of literature or have never heard of Casablanca but still try to argue for the sequel Casablanca 2: Casablanca Harder as a masterpiece in its own right; they're enjoying an experience tailored to their demographic that they will eventually outgrow and the constant, mutating nature of culture means that one day they may very well be the ones arguing that Fallout 12 has strayed from the path, perverting the good name of the games they used to enjoy. It's hard to imagine an industry where games like the Sherlock Holmes series are their own entire genre and shooters are getting a significantly smaller piece of the cake, but I don't think it's impossible or even unlikely to happen. Games like Fallout, though recognized as classic even today, will be relics of a bygone era; a time where video games were mostly just adolescent fantasies. So what's the point of NMA? Why did I even join if I think it's protecting the integrity of a poorly-written fiction? Well, for the same reason I'm making this post. I think we can understand the direction fiction is taking in this medium and we can discuss it appropriately; whether the Fallout franchise is merely a catalyst for this discussion or a microcosmos representing an evolution in virtual entertainment is yet to be seen. TL;DR (or 'Getting to the Goddamn Point'): The original Fallouts are a part of a different generation of gaming with different rules; comparing them to the new ones is not only difficult but pointless as the new fans won't even have the same frame of reference as we do and the games possess a different focus, just as it will be pointless for them to compare Fallout 3 and 4 to Fallout 12 or whatever. As a side note, I still think the writing in Fallout 4 sucks, but I don't want this to turn into a discussion about it in particular.