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Axel Bennett
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CГ©line Dion - Only One Road (Official Video)

Fallout: New Vegas also features a licensed soundtrack which is broadcast as diegetic music on the in-game radio stations. The songs cover the gamut from country-western and the 60s Rat Pack-era to more modern music recorded during the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. According to the game's credits, the radio features songs from Columbia Records, Capitol Records, Decca Records (Geffen), Dominion Entertainment (K-tel),[nb 23] and RCA Victor Records. Several songs were licensed from Soundies Inc. which had digitized songs from transcription discs made available to the public for the first time. The game also features Bing Crosby's "Something's Gotta Give" then-recently digitized in 2009 from previously lost tapes.[90][91] The game also uses a 1979 re-recording of "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" making it the only Ink Spots song used in the Fallout series that is not the original version released on Decca Records.

CГ©line Dion - Only One Road (Official Video)

Fallout 76 also features a licensed soundtrack which is broadcast as diegetic music on the in-game radio stations. Many songs are themed towards the game's setting in Appalachia with country and bluegrass songs as well as songs relating to the coal mining industry. According to the game's credits, the radio features songs from Decca (Geffen), Columbia, King (De Luxe), Capitol, Dot, MGM, Cadence, and RCA Victor Records. Comparing the credits from the previous games, only "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" was licensed from Soundies Inc., which had prior to going defunct had digitized songs from transcription discs to make them available to the public for the first time, and is co-credited in the credits with The Orchard. An additional song, "Headin' Down the Wrong Highway" was taken from the same 2000 album of Johnny Bond songs also used for Fallout: New Vegas.[196] The song is credited as licensed from Bloodshot Records which had formerly partnered with Soundies Inc. to preserve music from transcription discs.[197][198]

In the chapter "A Tune at the End of the World" in his 2014 book, Cheng recognized that despite the critically acclaimed score by Inon Zur for 2008's Fallout 3, much of the attention of player and critics was directed towards the music from the three diegetic radio stations of the game: Enclave Radio, Galaxy News Radio, and Agatha's Station.[nb 100][248] Cheng describes the player character growing up in an underground vault throughout childhood until a sudden incident forces the player to leave and escape into the nuclear wasteland on the surface such that "the first time in your life, it seems, you're alone"[252] He notes the dual nature of music being a warm companion or an unfeeling entity in Fallout 3. The player is notified by their "Pip-Boy" device seconds later of the availability of a new radio broadcast signal offering "noisy relief from the silence and solitude of the Capital Wasteland. Music and voices from the radio bestow a sense of imagined community by promising that somewhere, someone else is listening to the same thing." However, the "promise" turns to illusion as the player realizes every station runs on a loop featuring music from a distant past and most NPC's "never acknowledge (much less sing along to) these canned broadcasts."[253] The charismatic chats by President Eden on Enclave Radio are merely the work of an artificial "self-aware supercomputer".[71] Galaxy News Radio has "spirited monologues sound spontaneous and plausibly live, but since the player is able to hear Three Dog on the radio while watching him mill around the station (not performing on air), it can be inferred that his speeches are recorded."[254] Agatha's Station features violin improvisation with the eponymous character looking "to be the only person creating new music in this artistically bankrupt world." A request for a "live performance" is "a real treat", "a rare simulation of live musicality in the game" at first. Author William Gibbons in his 2018 book wrote that Agatha's live music "embodies art's tenacity even in the most adverse of circumstances" giving proof that civilization, humanity, and hope survives in the wasteland compared to the "'dead' records we hear on other radio stations".[255] However, repeat performances reveal herself to be an automaton where "the motions of her fingers and bow don't line up with the music" and "like any NPC, inevitably loses her magic luster, baring the gears that turn like clockwork beneath her painted skin."[256] Gibbons concurs that her "liveness" requires a "suspension of disbelief on our part."[255] Like the wasteland itself, the radio provides hints of life, but also emptiness.

Cheng explored two examples of the diegetic music affecting the gameplay experience in 2008's Fallout 3 both within the game and to the player at the game's controls, or diegesis. The first centers on a quest regarding the option of blowing up the city of Megaton with a nuclear bomb. The author noted his first repeated playthroughs of the game in 2010 and 2011 involved disarming the bomb instead, being given a modest reward by the residents of the city, and igniting the wrath of the city's antagonist.[261] A subsequent playthrough in 2012 explored the other option meeting the city's antagonizers, characters named Mr. Burke and Alistair Tenpenny. At this time, Cheng notes he was using a video game recording software to capture the gameplay as he planned to show the footage at future presentations regarding his paper.[262] He comments on how the physical action of the player pressing a button on a controller is directly reflected with pressing the remote detonator in the game to a point where this "mimetic link" was "almost too close for comfort." The brilliant light of the mushroom cloud, the silence of the delayed sonic reaction suddenly combined with the music of Enclave Radio playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever" where the "piece invokes the American nation in all its cultural and military pride." However standing before the "Big Red Button", Cheng noted it drew his attention to "Mr. Tenpenny's embodiment of the Enclave's radical authority and extremist ideologies." Following the utter destruction of the distant city, Enclave Radio played "America the Beautiful" which made it "made it all the more tasteless" as if "rubbing the noses of the departed in Mr. Tenpenny's triumph."[263] Cheng stated that this was the first time he turn the radio off, "mostly out of tedium, maybe partly out of shame." Reviewing the recorded footage, Cheng remarked how he had pressed the button almost in sync with the closing of the march whether as a coincidence or "preemptively obliged to put on a show for the eventual lecture audiences". Whether theatrical or not, Cheng also notes it was the obedient thing to do where he had hesitated to press the button, but was compelled by the march as well as the gameplay. He wondered if he had been more or less likely to continue with the act if the radio was playing classical music or if it was turned off.[264] Cheng cites other examples of "blame displacement" in historical situations in addition to quotes from other players posted in online forums about this ethical dilemma taken from a moral standpoint vs. a pragmatic standpoint even as a simulated scenario.[265] In a footnote, Cheng gives an anecdote of presenting the Megaton gameplay at the Harvard Department of Music in 2011. After asking for volunteers from the assembled professors and graduate students to push the "Big Red Button", half the people in the room hesitantly raised their hands. The volunteer picked at random to set off the fictional bomb said she felt "strangely guilty" in front of her peers and professors "even though the people [the Megaton residents] weren't real!"[266]

In a 2019 video essay for Polygon, Brian David Gilbert criticized that the songs in Fallout were old and lacked new music, citing the songs "Anything Goes" (1930s), "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"/"Jingle Jangle Jingle" (1940s), and "Big Iron"/"Johnny Guitar" (1950s).[nb 108] He also criticized the 185 years from 2102 to 2287 in Fallout, saying only two people, Magnolia and Red Eye, were still recording new music.[nb 109][284]

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