(This contains some minor spoilers for Wasteland.)
It was March of 2012. I headed on to IGN to check the news (it was about a year before I discovered Destructoid), and my eyeballs almost popped right out of my head. Brian Fargo wanted to make Wasteland 2, and was using a site called Kickstarter to raise money for it. I had heard of crowdfunding once or twice, but never really considered it before. I immediately went to the site, read everything I could, and decided to drop $100 right then and there. Why did I do this?
This is why.
I was 10 or 11 when my older cousin came to a holiday gathering and gave me his copy of Wasteland. I was pretty clueless about PC gaming at this time in the very early 90's. He gave me a basic synopsis of it, and I couldn't wait to go home and boot up the computer. After what felt like an eternity with the family, I arrived home and got started.
I was blown away. This was like nothing I had ever experienced before in my short gaming career. I knew I liked RPGs, but I had only played Dragon Warrior and the original Final Fantasy at that point. I loved the customization of my team of desert rangers. Despite being turn based and depicted in text, combat had a visceral, brutal feel to it. I was blowing away bikers with assault rifles and beating mutant dogs to death with crowbars. My enemies were dying horribly at the hands of my rangers in post-apocalyptic America, and I was having the time of my life.
I wasn't seeing anything like this on my NES.
Sadly, I could never finish the game. There must have been some defect on the disk, because the game would crash at a certain point in Finster's head every time. This still didn't stop me from playing over and over again. I played this game so much that the disks literally wore out. I tried mailing them to the EA address in the instruction book, but I guess it wasn't up to date. (This was a few years after release at this point.) I never heard back, and could no longer play one of my favorite games ever. Thanks to EA sitting on the IP, a sequel never came. Thankfully, Brian Fargo didn't let that stop him, and he created the Fallout franchise. At least I could still get my post-apocalyptic RPG fix.
I like keeping the look of the original's box art
Fast forward to 2014, and I got my hands on the sequel to the beloved game that cemented my status as a die-hard RPG fan. While having obviously updated graphics, and a not so archaic interface, it kept that same sort of "feel" that the first game had that I played decades earlier. I assembled my new team of rangers and headed out into the wastes of the American southwest. The first thing that I really liked was the ties to the original game and the team of rangers that I adventured with. It was cool to see that the rangers had taken over the Guardian Citadel that I had stormed in the original game, and that Highpool and the Ag Center were still going.
Early in the game, you are forced to choose between saving one of the two settlements, which I thought was a nice touch. I liked the other instances where there wasn't one single solution to a problem, although I wouldn't have complained if it was expanded even further. There wasn't much in the way of stealth options, which was a bit disappointing. The trip to Los Angeles later in the game was a welcome change of location. My favorite event in the game occurs very late, when you get to call on the help of everyone you've assisted throughout the game, and fight a huge battle with them on your side.
Overall, the game was nothing ground breaking or anything truly new, but it didn't need to be. I got an enjoyable sequel to one of the games that has influenced me the most, and for that I am thankful. Even more, Bethesda seems content to continue throwing away the great RPG elements of Fallout, so this game came at a great time. I consider every dime of that hundred dollars I spent to help make this game happen completely worth it. This ended up being part of a renaissance of sorts of cRPGs coming back in modern times. As my first experience with a Kickstarter game that I backed, it was a positive one, and I've already pledged another $100 on the upcoming Wasteland 3.