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Can a Fallout TV Series Even Work?

While technically old news, Amazon is bankrolling a Fallout TV series. The newer news is that it starts filming this year. The guy behind Westworld is doing the first episode, and… well, if say much more, this paragraph will be longer than the original article.

Fallout is one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time. I have played all the major releases, including less popular ones like Brotherhood of Steel and, ahem, Fallout 76. It really wasn’t until the release of Fallout 3 before I realized that that was the sort of experience I had been waiting my entire life for: post-apocalyptic hoarding simulator. I didn’t need to have a quest to be motivated to explore a cave – the possibility of extra duct tape and aluminum cans was enough. And chasing that similar sense of satisfaction fueled my drive into and through practically every survival game that has been released.

I have zero clue how in the world they will translate Fallout to the TV screen.

Some people have mentioned that Fallout might be well-positioned to capitalize on the cultural zeitgeist of the day, e.g. the dangers of unrestrained jingoism. But that actually seems more like a problem: it’s going to seem too on-the-nose despite the source material always having those elements of dark irony. Vault-Tec running unethical experiments on their customers doesn’t quite cut the same way when we have Facebook and other social media doing similar things in the real world.

This is to say nothing on what sort of tone they will go for. I could easily see a Fallout TV ending up more of a slapstick apocalypse romp, with Bottlecap mines, Fat Man launchers, and Stimpaks magically healing broken limbs. Or I could see them trying to leverage more of the darker side of the series, Father in the Cave and similar tragic pathos. But in the latter case… where does the Nuka-Cola, caps as currency, Pip-Boys and the like come in? Super Mutants and Mr. Handy? If you aren’t including that sort of thing, I’m not sure what the point of it is being branded Fallout.

I just don’t see it. The world of Fallout could support little mini-arcs World War Z-style (the book), but an overarching narrative? Or even following the events of one of the games? New Vegas probably has the most coherent plot and story beats, especially if they include some of the DLCs. Well, maybe not the one where your brains are scooped out and you end up getting a teleportation device. Fallout 4 is a more modern tale, especially with the notion of synths and the philosophical questions surrounding them… but also prominently features teleportation by the end. It works in game form, but I don’t see it getting a pass on the screen.

God, I just imagined the first time they bring up a VATS-like effect and aim a Railway Rifle round at someone’s eyeball. There’s no way this doesn’t end up being goofy nonsense. Which I guess will be on brand, but nevertheless feels like the worst of all possible worlds. Which… is also on brand.

Projectors

About two weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that my 32″ TV just isn’t cutting it anymore. That almost seems laughably small these days, but it worked just fine back when I had it in the corner of the bedroom. Now that it’s ten feet away from the couch in the living room? Not so much.

I have no need for for 50″+ monstrosity, but some sort of upgrade seems appropriate. After poking around and seeing as how I could conceivably get a 42″ for $280, I started wondering “isn’t that about the price for a projector?” Yes, yes it is.

And thus began a descent into the madness that is projector shopping.

The basic gist is that you have to be absurdly careful. If you go to Amazon and just type in “projector 1080p,” all the projectors will show up. That is because A) they’re liars and thieves, and B) Amazon and most other sites are complicit with the deception. See, they’re “compatible” with 1080p signal, even though the projector will downscale your Blu-ray to its native 640×480 resolution. If you’re reading this on a PC, right-click on the Desktop and go to your resolution options and switch to… hell, my monitor doesn’t even go below 800×600. Nevermind. Point being, not only is that a resolution from a decade ago, it will also letterbox pretty much any media you would ever play through it.

The other end of the spectrum is legit, native 1080p projectors. Which will cost about $600+ on sale.

I’ll be honest here: I have spent entirely too much time looking at projectors in lieu of, you know, playing videogames. So here is what I’ve got, data-wise:

Projector Price Resolution Bulb life Lumen Zoom Throw Ratio
Vivitek XGA $299 1024×768 4500 3000 ? 1.6 – 1.92
VVME v61 $289 1280×720 20,000 2800 No ?
FAVI RioHD-LED-4T $279 1280×800 20,000 500 ANSI ? 1.6
iDGLAX DG-757 $234 1280×768 20,000 2800 ? ?
EUG 800 $299 1280×720 50,000 2600 1.2 ?

The first thing to note is that top item: it is an example of a tricky Best Buy “deal.” Marked down by nearly $250, everything looks good… up until you realize that it is not native 720p. You might also note how all the other projectors I have listed there have LED bulbs which should last well past 6 years, assuming you run the thing 8 hours every day all year around.

Still, everything feels like a minefield. How loud are the fans? How vibrant are the colors? Why doesn’t anyone list their goddamn throw ratios or the fact they have (or likely don’t have) zoom features? How does 500 ANSI lumen stack up to 2800 bullshit lumen? It’s a mess. How am I supposed to min-max this?!

So once again, dear reader(s), I am open to advice. I’m working with a 12-foot space that’s extremely light-controlled. I’m really just looking for something I can stick on a shelf behind the couch and hit that ~81″ of bare wall next to my computer. If I move my furniture around, I could probably get a little bigger projector space going. I’d love to hit the $300 price-point; if it’s anywhere close to $400, it better be far and away better than the ones I’m already looking at. Not looking to become a home theater enthusiast, I just want a bigger screen.

Late to the Party

This question may be be moot by the time anyone can read/respond to it, but…

If you had zero next-gen consoles or games, which one (1) console would you purchase?

  • Xbox 360 250GB w/ Halo anniversary and Forza 4 ($199)
  • PS3 Slim 250GB Console with Uncharted 1 & 2 and Infamous 1 & 2 ($219)
  • Nintendo Wii Console with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort ($119)
  • None (see below)

I have zero interest in the Wii U or any of the handhelds – I’d be using the console as a Netflix box for a 32″ TV at a minimum. I am heavily leaning towards PS3 right now between the number of exclusive titles that I have some interest in, but I am also aware of how many times PS3 owners have been screwed over in terms of updates, game ports, etc. My PC will still be my primary gaming rig, but if I wait until 2013 and the next-next-gen, then my 32″ TV will be quite out of place attached to my PS2.

Then again, I haven’t actually bought the 32″ TV yet ($180), so technically I could just do nothing at all and wait all this shit out like I have been for the last 6-8 years. Sigh.

#firstworldproblems