I love Christmas, and I especially love it when I’m back home in the UK for it. As I said in my Christmas and Gaming piece, the festive season is made all the more festive when I’m surrounded by all the food, tradition, music, food, films, food, places, and food of my childhood, and the allure of all of that starts to get me excited sometime around the end of March. In fact, because my UK-based Christmas is a once-every-two-years thing now, it’s possible I get even more excited about it than when I was a kid. The weird thing this year, though, is that even though I am 90% ridiculously excited, there’s 10% of me that’s going to be a little bereft.
Well, my PlayStation won’t be in the UK this Christmas, which means that Fallout 4 won’t be in the UK either. And because I’m hopelessly, helplessly addicted to Fallout, that’s going to be really, really grim. And, right now, I’m not really sure how I’m going to cope! I mean, I’ll have my PS Vita with me, so I’ll still be able to game – which is something, I guess – but as cool as the Vita is, let’s be honest, it’s not Fallout 4 levels of cool, and it’ll likely be the equivalent of trying to wean myself of class A drugs armed only with a bottle of children’s cough syrup.
In an attempt to lessen that withdrawal, my plan was to blitz through some preliminary set-up type stuff in the game, finish a few bits and pieces here and there – essentially leaving me at a natural place to walk away from it for a bit, but this being Fallout, I’ve spent the last week actually going backwards in that regard. ‘I’ll just wrap up a couple of my ongoing side-missions’, I thought (like an idiot), but each of those has led to me accidentally running into more side missions, quests and characters, so the quest list I was trying to tidy up is looking messier than ever. I’ve even taken to running away from people – especially Preston fucking Garvey – because they seem to positively delight in heaping even more stuff onto my (already quite full) plate.
The other day, I shit you not, I spent 5 minutes watching Sanctuary through my sniper scope, just so I could check where Preston was, and so I could work out a route to my crafting station that would avoid me coming within a hundred feet of him and giving him the opportunity to start any of his ‘I just got word from one of our settlements…..’ bullshit. I thought I’d got lucky because he wandered away from it, but just as I was fist-pumping and thanking the gaming Gods for throwing me a bone, I literally ran into a woman who wanted me to rescue her friend who’d got kidnapped. Again. FFS!
Anyways, that’s all to say that it would’ve been hard enough going cold turkey anyway, but considering I’ve now got more loose ends than a Sci-Fi show cancelled mid-season, I’m going to be twitching and fretting my way through the festive period like Chicken Little with a really bad case of Tourette’s. Whilst everyone else is busy filling stockings, or decking halls – or even figuring out how you deck halls – I’ll be worrying about a settlement that I was supposed to be protecting from Raiders, but didn’t quite get around to. Likewise, while everyone’s chipping in with the food preparation, I’m just as likely to be sneakily swiping the carrots I’m supposed to be peeling, because just before I left the Fallout 4 Universe, a settlement had acquired a little Exclamation Mark on account of not having enough food for its population, and I can’t quite deal with that IRL. And on Christmas Day itself, when everyone else is figuring out how to hide their uneaten Brussels Sprouts, there’s a fairly big chance I’ll be doing mental calculations regarding their scatter/damage potential if they were loaded into my recently acquired Junk Jet.
To put this all into perspective, I didn’t play on Fallout 4 for a weekend – i.e. two consecutive days – and during that time, such was my disorientation and desperation that when I found one of my girlfriend’s Bobby Pins under a cushion on the sofa, I put it in my pocket for later lock-picking shenanigans. That’s a true story – and it was on day one – so imagine what I’m going to be like over the next five weeks!?
Honestly, I’m a little worried about it.
I mean, it could be worse. My own ‘morality code’ in Fallout, for example, prohibits me from pick-pocketing, so at least I won’t risk arrest if lines do get a bit blurry, and obviously, VATS doesn’t exist in Real-life either, so I won’t be using it to bash people in the face – but that’s still only a teensy silver lining in an endless sea of grey and foreboding cloud. And yes, I know that my Fallout world will effectively ‘pause’ whilst I’m not physically playing it, but even so, I’ma still be worrying about Super Mutants and the like.
Should I have made a few extra turrets a priority before I left? Would I cope better if I’d joined the Brotherhood before exiting, rather than leaving them hanging? What’s around the corner from that last location I unlocked before I pressed quit for the last time this year? These, and a million other worries, questions and, let’s be honest, obsessions are going to be hanging over me like a toxic cloud of Bloatfly poison throughout the season of “being jolly”!
Quite how it all plays out remains to be seen, but when I rock up to the airport on Sunday with all my clothes stuffed into a trash bag (packing having been on the list of stuff that got bumped for more Fallout time), it’s going to be uppermost in my mind. Usually it’d be the thought of mince pies, or presents etc that’d be keeping me awake in the run-up to Christmas, but this year, it’s going to be Settlements, Unfinished Quests and Unexplored Locations that do that.
I knew this day was coming, sure – and back when Fallout 4 was announced, and after I was done losing my shit, obviously, I quickly realised this would be a bridge I’d need to cross. But, like I always do, I’d put off thinking about it, and I’m pretty much at it right now, with no real plan on how to deal with it.
So, yeah, anyways……wish me luck with that. And if, during the Holidays, I suddenly, randomly start writing huge tracts about the utility of Christmas Baubles as a crafting material, or how to create the ultimate Jet/Psycho/Christmas Pudding combo at a Chemistry Station – you know it’s just me dealing with things in my own way. Or, that I’ve got a bit carried away with the Children’s Cough Syrup.
Either way, consider this a heads up!!