A journey through fatherhood in the wasteland
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
By Big Wayne Knight
This article contains major spoilers from Fallout 4
Like many Fallout fans, I eagerly awaited the release of Fallout 4 and got it day 1, that day was November 10th 2015. I remember it well as it took two attempts to get my base character right. When I finally settled on a look for my character I wandered into the wasteland with nothing but a pistol and some vault clothes on my back. My first playthrough took me well into the 400+ hour region. I experienced it all, from playing the story to wandering over the edge of the map. Furthermore, I ploughed through all of the DLC from the £20 season pass, a bargain to be sure. I finally stopped playing this game during November 2016. I managed to invest a whole year of my life in Fallout and not once was I sorry about it.
Fast forward to February 2018, my daughter was born and I had two weeks leave from work. What was I to do while nursing my little one but start a fresh playthrough of Fallout 4.
“What have I let myself in for?”
Those who have played this game will know the opening scene where you are in a stasis pod fast asleep for hundreds of years. Awoken without cause you see a random figure kill your wife and kidnap your son. I looked at my daughter and thought the worst. Fallout had become personal to me! This was no longer a second playthrough. This was a commitment to my daughter, I would avenge the wanderer's wife and find his son!
I went into the great unknown, learning to be a father while helping another father find his son. Ups, downs and sleepless nights aplenty, we fought through dirty nappies together, took on deathclaws, and sought a man named after a cereal brand.
After protecting settlements and battling ghouls, we finally found “Tony the Tiger” aka Mr Kellogg, the shady figure who killed the wanderer's wife and kidnapped his son. I looked into my daughter's eyes and knew what was required. I dispatched this soulless man and took from him the very piece of evidence that would lead me to the wanderer’s son.
At this stage in the game, I realised I needed help, so I searched out the "Brotherhood of Steel". Around this time my baby girl was starting to walk so my time in the wasteland fighting to find the wanderer's son was slowing in pace. I no longer had the time as I had my own daughter to look after.
I put the game away and made a promise that I would find the wanderer’s son when the time was right. A few months later inevitably my little one was developing her own personality just like I had been cultivating my own persona within the wasteland. Every step my girl took and every pinch of food she ate, it was as if she was gaining level up points and each perk came with a smile.
Fatherhood is so rewarding in addition to being a drain on the energy reserves. As my daughter grew closer to 1 year old, she was getting into the habit of sleeping through the night which meant "me" time was beginning to free up, dinners at normal times, getting to catch up with my wife, watching TV shows etc. This extra time allowed me to sample the life I was used to having before my little bundle of joy appeared.
All of this was great but in the back of my mind, there was something nagging me, something that wouldn't shift. Yes, you guessed it, the wanderer's son was still out there, lost, waiting to be found! I dusted off Fallout 4 one more time and placed into my Ps4. This time it had been 7 months since I had wandered the wastes. I had forgotten the path I was on. I realised quickly that I needed to seek out all of the factions to fully engage with the game once more. I finally found the institute, the very people responsible for hiring Kellogg.
(Major Spoiler Ahead)
When I arrived at The Institute I met a man named father and proceeded to converse with & get to know him. As it happens you find out that he is the wanderer’s son, no longer a baby but a fully grown man entering the twilight of his life. I finally fulfilled my promise and could rest easy. Once this mystery had been put to bed for the second time in my life I felt it was time to have some fun in the wastelands. Working along with the wanderer’s son and the numerous factions I casually did my thing. Currently, my Fallout 4 game journey has me producing water for me to sell while I set up a few bases and explore the wastelands. I am now a settled soul who knows the wanderer’s son is safe and sound.
Today, I freely play Fallout 4 as a relaxing past time while my daughter sleeps at night. Just like fatherhood, the wasteland is unforgiving, relentless and rewarding all at the same time. This journey is far from over, my baby girl and I have our own wasteland to wander. This game has been with me for 4 years now and no doubt it'll be with me when my daughter grows much much older!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article, this is my first piece and I hope I get better at this type of writing. Being a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me, it has changed my life for the better but returning to Fallout 4 alongside it, has been an enjoyable journey too.
“War, war never changes…”
Big Wayne Knight