Sometimes it seems impossible to find a a couple of hours that can be spent away from the real world. People over 25 might find time for a good book but computer gaming belongs to the young – almost any good computer game requires at least a few hours to learn the controls and become familiar with the setup, and the best of them can easily hold your interest for anywhere from 20-60 hours. (Not to mention that most of the shooting games are so fast and require such twitchy reflexes that I couldn’t have played them even when I was young. The sheer speed required to play Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead is mind boggling.)

fallout

If you’re young at heart and have some time free, take a look at Fallout 3, a new game from the team that developed The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It’s visually rich without requiring a rocket for a computer – if your Vista computer meets the specs that I suggest (including a 256Mb or better video card), it will run it beautifully. Theoretically it is the third game in a series that started more than ten years ago but it stands completely alone and no prior knowledge of the other games is needed.

More importantly from my old fogie perspective, it can be played slowly. Fallout 3 is a single-player role-playing game where your character explores an enormous environment, the ruins of Washington DC after a devastating nuclear war, with complete freedom to walk or run, fight or flee, explore randomly or follow the plot from start to finish. If you’re new to this style of game, the first half-hour is a brilliant tutorial to help you learn the controls and build your character. The opening scene is literally your birth, where you choose your gender and the name of your character. You learn to walk as a toddler and learn how to interact with characters and use weapons while your character is still a child. When you finally step outside, you’re ready to take on the world, and you’re rewarded with a stunning view of a landscape that stretches for miles in all directions, all of it ready to be explored.

I grew up playing computer games and I love watching the kids play some of the exciting online games that are on the market now, but I can’t make time for a game very often any more. I’m making a bit of time for Fallout 3 and loving it. Go read some reviews, click here to check it out on Amazon, and see if you might enjoy it!

fallout-wp1-1680x1050