Jan. 20th, 2013

green_dreams: Sepia-toned picture of a dog, with the caption "Will reload saves for Dogmeat." (wasteland hero)
So. There's this thing Fallout: New Vegas lets you do, which is talk to people. Almost all people, in fact, and if you're good at it, you can win a great number of conflicts that way. (I think I did that with everyone of note in my playthough, except Caesar and the Legate, because, uhm, no. It's my game and my story and my relaxation, and I get to decide that some people are horrible enough that shooting them is okay.) People will let you go, people will decide to cover for you or actually support you.

Colloquially, this is called talking the monster to death (thank you, TV Tropes!), even if you usually don't actually kill them, and I tend to think of it as talking them 'round, as Daniel Webster is purported to have done to the Devil's jury.


John and I were discussing F:NV this morning, since the weather brought on thoughts of snow globes, and from there we got to the cigarette butts (these are A Clue) you can find early on in the game, and I was mentioning that I'd missed them the first time. John was surprised, and was explaining their use at one particular point, and then a sudden realization came upon me.
"...son of a bitch, Benny talked me to death."
*pause* *John started laughing*
"No wonder I let the little prick live.[1]"
*laughing harder*
And then there was a lot of, well, sputtering.

I mean, I went there with a plan of what to do. There was no advantage to changing it, and there was, I think, some personal satisfaction to letting it play out as it would have. And then the character said things, things mostly that weren't even intended to persuade me, and the next thing you know I'm thinking "okay, right, I personally object but I can see the rationale, here," and the next thing I'm dishing out resources to let him get away and busily annoying certain people it is expensive (in terms of game resources) and painful to annoy by doing so.

I know that part of it is that I generally actively dislike being a bad guy in video games, but... damn. A story that can change your mind, even a bit, is not a hugely common thing. Affect you, upset you, show you something new, sure[2], but not so much make you ditch a plan and decide to do something harder. Admittedly, most stories don't unfold in a context where you are directly involved in making decisions, but still.
[1] I am not in the habit of using such language, but really, he shot me in the head and buried me in a shallow grave before the game even started, I feel some acrimony is not unwarranted.
[2] Okay, not sure, but a lot of stories do and can.
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