My award for the most entertaining piece of entertainment for the year doesn't go to an album, a book, or a movie...but to a video game. Keeping in mind, that I am in the prime demographic for video games, I still couldn't believe how amazingly entertaining Fallout 3 was. It had everything that a game should in my opinion. The story was incredibly well thought-out. The characters were developed (even some of the minor character like Mr. Tenpenny and of course the kids in Little Lamplight). The world was detailed and expansive and free-range. You could play the game or just wander and either way was a treat. Add in the fact that was post-apocalypse and that was it...two months of my life were lost playing this game.
One of the most intriguing features of the game was how varied you could make your character by choosing and adjusting which components you valued (strength, intelligence, etc). A very D&D approach that works well. But what was more amazing was how these choices and how your actions affected the game and storyline. As the character, you were allowed to chose between right and wrong and those decisions had consequences.
There was also no stone left unturned in how they thought out this post-apocalyptic world. Given that it was made for adults, they didn't hold back anything, including a side missions that gave you the choice whether or not to sell kids into slavery. I've seen how some are horrified this was included in the game, but again, this game is legally only sold to adults (If you buy this for your children, you might want to rethink your parenting).
Sidenote: I did appreciate and applaud the fact that children in the game were immune for weapons and could not die.
So, why have this element in the game? Easy. It adds to the storytelling and the completion of this pretty brutal landscape.
I honestly see games like this as the future of the novel in many ways. The story is all written and created, but YOU, the reader are able to interact with the story. The main character is you and you can fill out the novel however you wish. This is the first step to the Star Trek holodeck...which any Voyager fan will remember, had celebrated holo-novelists. Book people might not want to hear this, but it's evolution. I don't think it replaces books, because nothing can replace the cerebral bliss of imaging a story or the pure poetry of prose....but this kind of storytelling can also be good writing in the same way I'd say movies like "Memento" or "City of Lost Children" are amazing writing.
So congrats Fallout 3...you are my Entertainer of the Year.