If there is a negative side-effect from the continual improvement of graphics in video games, it’s that the average gamer has little to no patience for a step or two backwards in terms of visual quality and scale. The obvious exception to this trend can be seen in indie game development, where creators are often more limited in implementing complex 3D graphics due to budget and manpower constraints.
One of the most common approaches to addressing such constraints is to draw inspiration from older or ‘retro’ games, which were designed with similar limiting factors in mind. As such, my experience playing the original Fallout felt much like playing a modern indie RPG title rather than stepping back in time seventeen years to 1997 when it was released. That is, of course, after I downloaded and installed the high resolution patch and made peace with the inability to alt-tab.
The quality of graphics in a game has always been pretty low on my list of considerations when assessing the merit of a game, especially in the case of strategy or role-playing games. This was definitely an important factor in my enjoyment of Fallout, which more than made up for its out-dated visuals with a mature and sophisticated plot that I think was ahead of its time.
Since I had previously played both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, I was already somewhat familiar with the events and even some of the locations in the original game. Despite having a basic understanding of the overall plot, I listened in on most of the game’s many conversations, which are impressive in their diversity and humor. Most of Fallout’s objectives can be completed in multiple ways and involve a combination of combat and detective work that requires the player to pay close attention to detail.