Fallout 2 as a postmodern computer game
The computer game Fallout 2 is a sequel to the well-known hit Fallout. As a simple reproduction it copies and enhances the engine of the original game but in terms of conveyed ideas it becomes a postmodern play of meanings with the player. Its presented world recalling the atmosphere of the 1950–1960s in America – the atmosphere saturated with the fear of nuclear annihilation, Fallout seriously gave a warning of military totalitarianism. The main idea expressed by Fallout 2 consists in the cognitive subject’s distancing from culture and the sense of multiplicity: each solution, both in the game and in culture, is but one of a number of those available. The choice of a solution invariably brings about both positive and negative consequences. To put aside the player’s objective determined by the plot line, the presented world in Fallout 2 is like a panopticon which houses as exhibits various cultural stereotypes concerning the US history and a global development of civilisation. The player-hero roams the game world like a Baumanian tourist, entertaining themselves on the way with solving puzzles and above all with identifying multifarious quotations from particular “texts of culture” (film, literature, television, history) and genre conventions (western, SF, horror film). Humour and irony, omnipresent in the presented world, as well as quotations from Fallout and allusions to the players’ experience with computer technosphere lead to the deconstruction of Fallout 2 and exposure of its conventional nature as a computer game. In spite of challenging the reality of the presented world the problems posed to the player remain real. The player’s true though hidden objective boils down to the recognition of and reflection over allusions to social phenomena (political systems from democracy to utopia, organised crime, religious sects) and moral problems (a choice of the lesser and greater evil, truthfulness and deception).