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Aaamaazing: Capitol Wasteland Wonderland

�Humans always repeat their mistakes� said the ominous Japanese voice which would set the tone for the start of something special. This was the start of something that led me into some figurative dark times and out of some actual dark times, and also the start of a gaming experience that is truly worthy of being called great.

When the winter of 2009 rolled around things had taken a decidedly bad turn for me. Circumstances led me to some of the darkest times in my life. This was a time where getting out of bed in the morning was a decidedly large chore and anything beyond that was exponentially worse. On advice of my doctor I decided to take about a month and a half off of work and just get things sorted and get my head right. It was during this time that I stumbled into Fallout 3.

I hadn�t played a Fallout game for around 10 years at that point. I played the original two and thoroughly enjoyed them at the time but since that time I hadn�t given Fallout much thought. I was out buying food when I stopped into the Tsutaya (imagine Blockbuster video but Japanese) and on whim picked up a drastically reduced in priced used copy of Fallout 3. I went home and got right into it.

So anyway, �Humans always repeat their mistakes� is the first line. Nothing about war and it never changing, no Ron Perlman giving me the lowdown, I played the Japanese version of Fallout 3. Everything was in Japanese, all the character voices, all of the text, even the radio shows. The experience is the same though. Moira is still goofy with a moustache, raiders still yell the same few random phrases at you, Three Dog is just as annoying, and John Henry Eden sounds as presidential as ever. Overall, the voice acting in the Japanese version is pretty good.

The game starts with a bang. �Nothing says character immersion like emersion from another character� I thought when, in the opening scene I am literally born into the world. Character creation is half creation half tutorial split between the various ages of the Lone Wanderer. By the time I had exited the vault I was thoroughly hooked into the game. Maybe exiting the vault was the exact moment I was completely and utterly enthralled. The outside world is bright and the screen brightness is actually washed out like it would be if you emerged from a dark area to a bright area in real life. For a minute, I couldn�t tell if it was actually my eyes doing that or if it was the game itself. For a second, the line between Lone Wanderer and me was blurred with that. I knew then I had something special.

And special it was. I found myself wandering about aimlessly just waiting for random things to appear on the horizon. The excitement of something new being just over the next ridge led me to wander and wander. It was literally like exploring a new world. It was exciting and interesting and best of all, it was completely enthralling. It gave me what nothing else had during that time, escape and release from darkness.

Like stepping out of the vault for the very first time, I too in my real life started to have that same fade back to the real world. The fun and excitement I had in Fallout 3 bled into my real life mentality and I started to have fun and excitement in reality again.

I played through Fallout 3 a total of six times. Every time I found new things I hadn�t found before. I found new ways to play the game and new areas I never visited. I played every DLC and it was the first Xbox game that I ever perfected.

The Capitol Wasteland, though a dark and dismal place was my wonderland. I place of escape from the trite realities of the real world. It was a dreamland that helped my real life and allowed me to overcome some terrible, real world darkness. Due to this, Fallout 3 will always have a special place in my heart as something that is truly Aaamaazing.
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About Hakujinjoeone of us since 12:43 AM on 02.01.2011

I'm a translator living in Tokyo.