Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Greed in Fallout: New Vegas (Spoilers ahead!)

As you may remember, I have in the past talked about three major philosophies that crop up often in politics: cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and materialism; or perhaps more simply, greed.

Well, it occurred to me today that it so happens that these philosophies are all represented by the major factions in Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment‘s video game Fallout: New Vegas. I realize this may sound odd, but hear me out:

The New California Republic represents cosmopolitanism, or at least a Social-Democratic government that believes in modern-day values. They do to some extent impose Democracy by force, but nonetheless seem to hold more “enlightened” ideals.

Caesar’s Legion, meanwhile, represents Nationalism. They are a reactionary, semi-Fascist force that believes in primitive rituals, very traditional–even barbaric–social and gender ideas, brutal punishments, and a sort of Nietzschean romanticizing of power.

Finally, Mr. House represents wealth, greed and materialism. His reliance on science, technology, wealth, and mathematics (in the form of the gambling in the casinos) demonstrates this.

These aren’t all perfect fits, of course, and I have no idea if any of the writers consciously thought about any of these choices or not when they wrote the game. But it’s an interesting allegory, and I personally think it shows that more thought and care went into F:NV‘s storyline than goes into your typical video game plot, making it far more sophisticated than the typical “pure good vs. pure evil” archetype.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?