I never played Fallout. In 1997, when it was released, I didn't even have a computer - and even more so, I didn't know what a role playing game was. It wouldn't be until many years later when I discovered the likes of Baldur's Gate that I would enter the genre.
Thus, I find myself in the year 2020, where I've never played Fallout. I changed that.
You enter the world with a character selection screen, and a mission is given to you - go find a water purification component that has failed, in order to allow the other residents of your vault to continue drinking safe water.
What you're not immediately told, however - (probably said this stuff on the back of the box) - is that the world is ravaged by the aftermaths of nuclear warfare. That, of course, is the whole hook of the Fallout franchise.
What if the whole world was a wasteland of apocalypse following a nuclear conflict? Mutants, dangerous gangs, depravity, and an aesthetic that is wholly unique.
How does it play, 23 years later?
Well, that depends. It's a voyage, not only into history; but into the genesis of a landmark gaming series. The interface is incredibly dated, and not as responsive as one would expect of a modern game. There's a large latency between pressing a button and having a reaction - which is part of the game engine itself.
Beyond this, controls are easy to use, and atmosphere is awesome - the world (and the creatures that inhabit it) - are deadly, oppressive, and dangerous. As you progress, it gets slightly easier, as the story unfolds in classic style for a RPG - with the added opportunity to do slightly more than what the game developers originally intended.
I wouldn't recommend that someone go back and play Fallout for the first time in order to experience the birth of the series - like most of the other titles in this series - I had difficulty becoming engrossed in world - its level of cheesiness is too high.
I can definitely see the groundwork the title laid for the future - without it, we wouldn't have had games like STALKER, or The Outer Worlds, which took the genre of dystopia in different directions.
A fine, ancient piece of technological curiosity, - but also something that reminded me of the joys of playing Jagged Alliance - as this game has similar combat mechanics and perspective.