GTA Indestructible Deer

In an attempt to raise money for charity a modification of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V has been created, which involves the creation of an indestructible deer. The character of the deer is not actually being controlled by anyone directly, it is being given a series of computational commands to follow. The deer interacts with the other AI characters in the game, with some choosing to just ignore the deer and some responding by attempting to shoot it.


The deer is ‘playing itself’, with all activity unscripted… and unexpected

The deer is available to watch by clicking here through a live video stream using Twitch TV. This follows the deer has it moves through the fictional world of San Andreas, it is routinely picked up and dropped into new places to avoid the risk of the deer becoming stuck.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 13.00.42

In the time that I sat watching the deer cam, it appeared to get stuck in an old mining entrance and was failing to run down a busy road, getting mown down by other drivers. The latter is precisely what I imagine the deer was created to emphasise, GTA is a satirical game that aims to exacerbate and humorously critique everything that is wrong with society in America. The game ridicules characters that engage with inappropriate or illegal activities, ranging from intrusive paparazzi all the way up to serious organised crime. GTA V allows the player to hunt and kill the animals in the game environment, with at least one of the small game missions involving hunting elk and other wildlife for money. Whilst hunting is present and legal in American society, hunting as a practice is globally disputed, with the several versions of practice banned in the UK.


Not only does the game allow the hunting of animals in the game environment, but the player is free to engage with animal abuse in the sense that players can intentionally run animals down and subject them to continual abuse before they die. This indestructible deer demonstrates how animals can be subjected to a huge amount of abuse in the virtual world and in the real world. The fact that this deer can’t die, means that it is almost constantly being attacked by the other ai in the game. If the deer walks down a busy road it gets continuously knocked down by other traffic, stands back up and gets knocked down again. Although this deer could be considered as virtual animals hitting back and gaining power, this deer isn’t programmed to try and defend itself, or run out of harms way. Which means it is continuously shot, run down and even has abuse yelled at it by the other ai characters. This deer represents the way that animals are being constantly abused in society and whilst the abuse of ai in the game environment doesn’t actually hurt anyone, there are so many animals in the real world that are suffering neglect and abuse.

So although this indestructible deer appears to be comical and is quite amusing to watch, it makes a larger statement about the treatment of animals in society. As GTA V is a satirical game, the way it teaches is through humorous critique, therefore the apparent slapstick humour of a deer getting hit repeatedly by cars on a busy road can also be considering as a moment of teaching in relation to animal abuse. However it’s not enough to just watch, laugh and perhaps think about the wider context. Suffering animals need help, this deer was created to support a particular charity that helps care for and rehome animals in Seattle. So if you live in the surrounding area, this would be a perfect charity to donate to. However I’ve assembled some more choices below for people to donate to for people who, like me, live in the UK.

RSPCA – this charity cares for all sorts of animals, it works on the recovery, treatment of neglected and abused animals in the UK

The Horse Trust – the charity is responsible for the long term care of horses that have been recovered by other charities and ones that have retired from services like the police

Dogs Trust – this charity cares for dogs that have been neglected and abused, they also try and find new homes for the rehabilitated animals

Prince Fluffy Kaleem (PFK) – PFK is a UK registered charity that operates in Egypt, PFK cares for horses, donkeys, camels, cats and dogs in the area around their base. Treating animals in need and educating owners about the suitable care of their animals.

I haven’t put all of the UK charities below, just the ones I have been following on social media and/or have donated to, but if you think that I’ve missed a really important one let me know in the comments and I will add it onto the list.


The Big Bang Theory – Episode 194

I’m fresh off the sofa from watching the new (to the UK anyway) Big Bang Theory episode: The Opening Night Excitation. The characters Sheldon and Amy take a huge step in their relationship when Sheldon decides to give Amy the gift she has waiting patiently for, to have sex with her. This is a big moment in any relationship, but as both characters are virgins, it’s even more of a big deal. Sheldon and Amy’s relationship is possibly the slowest-moving on the show, as both characters begin a friendship based on a mutual dislike of human contact. However as Amy settles into the friendship group, she finds herself yearning for the level at which Penny and Bernadette have built their relationships up to. Bernadette is married and contemplating kids and Penny, despite some rocky moments, appears to be happily married too. Sheldon however has moved through the seasons of show, reluctant to change his opinion on the idea of physical contact. Regardless of whether you as a viewer think it would be plausable for Sheldon to take such a big step, he decides that he is ready.

The episode is based on a dualism comparing sex for Sheldon and Amy to seeing the new Star Wars film for Leonard, Howard and Raj. Both groups go through a stage being nervous about what would happen next and feeling afraid after realising they have built it up so much in their heads. But the end result is happy for both situations. Whilst the set up for the episode is being celebrated as sweet, funny and honest; there’s one part of the episode that I think people should be focusing on and celebrating even more.

Before they move to the bedroom, Amy tells Sheldon that she knows what his plans for the evening are. He asks her if it is okay and in response she flings herself towards him and kisses him. However instead of proceeding, Sheldon stops her and says that he needs to hear her verbally consenting. This is then followed by his thwarted attempts to try and make a contract for this new part of the relationship agreement. The important part is that Sheldon’s character has recognised a crucial step in the build up to having sex with someone for the first time: consent. Despite the fact that Sheldon’s character is notoriously inexperienced when it comes to the dynamics of relationships, even he knows and recognises that both people must consent to an act before it takes place.

This segment is short and forms part of the comedy of the episode, but makes a really important statement to the viewers. The Big Bang Theory has been celebrated for having characters that aren’t stereotypically cool, and making them so. Even the character of Penny who started as an image of the typical  highschool ‘cool girl’ has developed into a character who recognises she has more to offer than just her looks. Many of the episodes have taught the importance of being honest and supportive in relationships, from friendships to marriage. In the light of increasing campaigns around awareness of consent and the complexities of sexual activity in the age of intimate technology, this episode serves as a really good example of the respect that should exist between two people entering an intimate relations. It will be really interesting to see the following episodes in relation to Sheldon and Amy’s new level of intimacy. Whether their relationship continues to move as slowly as before, or perhaps it will pick up speed following this momentous step. Regardless of where the storyline goes, I hope to see many more important moments of teaching like this one.

The Institute [SPOILERS]

The Institute are the organisation that were responsible for the kidnap of your son Shaun. The story of Fallout 4 is built around the idea that you are searching for him to try and get him back, as you move further through the story, you gradually find out more about the Institute. It is common knowledge in the Commonwealth, that the Institute created and is responsible for their creation of the synthetic human or synth. The people of the Commonwealth all have something to say about the Institute, but no one seems to know where the Institute is actually located, this unknown element appears to heighten the fear the Institute hold over the Commonwealth, as no one really knows the true extent of their power. Many of the Commonwealth reject the idea of the Institute and the synthetic humans, with many synths being destroyed or driven away from human settlements. The organisation known as the Railroad has dedicated their time to liberating synths that want freedom and breaking down barriers between the synths and the other members of the Commonwealth. However the latter is difficult to accomplish considering the Railroad themselves have to keep their organisation as covert as possible to avoid being attacked by the Brotherhood of Steel and/or the Institute.




Kellogg is the Institute’s man on the surface, who carries out missions for them that needs a human touch. Although Kellogg himself is not 100% human, he has elements of the synthetic humans inside him, which prolong his life and make him stronger. When you were in Vault 111, you saw Kellogg kill your husband (or wife depending on which gender character you chose to play as) and kidnap Shaun. Therefore as soon as you know where Kellogg is hiding, you choose to seek him out for answers. Unfortunately Kellogg doesn’t want to give up the Institute and you end up having to kill him, taking the synthetic brain implant from his body and take it to the settlement Goodneighboor to have his memories analysed. It is through this action that you hear about Dr Brian Virgil, a scientist who escaped from the Institute. However you don’t know if Virgil is still alive, as the Institute sent a courser after him (coursers are effectively the Institute’s version of assassins or special forces).


Dr Brian Virgil



If you dare venture into the glowing sea, you might make it far enough to find Dr Brian Virgil. The top picture shows him as you would first meet him, a slightly intimidating visage and just as unwilling to talk means you have to do some careful persuading to get him to trust you. If you succeed then Virgil tells confirms suspicions that the Institute is using teleportation to travel in and out of their base. He then provides you with a set of plans, which in the right hands will enable a teleportation device to be built, that can lock onto to the Institute’s signal and enable passage into the organisation. Virgil gives you this information on the promise that you retrieve an experimental serum he was developing when he worked in the Bioscience Division in the Institute. Virgil doesn’t make his opinions on the synths clear and equally he doesn’t let you know why he left the Institute – this is something you have to find out for yourself when you visit the Institute. The image below depicts Virgil after he has taken the experimental serum, if you manage to retrieve it from the Institute, proving that Virgil was making progress in his work before he felt he had to leave. When visiting the Institute, you can find a holotape in the room with the experimental serum that details how Virgil was working on a project about a virus called ‘FEV’, this project was increasingly taken out of his control and was being developed in a way that he felt was highly unethical and irresponsible. For this reason, he decided to leave the Institute at great personal risk to himself. Dr Brian Virgil is a good reminder when you are in the Institute, that the organisation is and will be hiding a lot of information with you, so can you really trust them?


Liam Binet/Patriot


Liam Binet is the Railroad’s man on the inside, who is responsible for the escape of lots of Institute synths, the Railroad refer to him as Patriot. If you choose to inform the Railroad about your venture into the Institute, they will request that you make contact with Liam Binet and deliver him a message. This message prompts Liam to arrange a meeting with you, he introduces you to another synth Z1-14 and the three of you conspire a plan to evacuate not just one, but thirteen synths at the same time. Liam requires you to get some information for him, which prompts another side mission where you have to make your way through a laboratory. Liam appears to really care about getting the synths to safety, however he is very reluctant about the idea of anyone getting hurt. For this reason, you have to tread carefully around him and not tell him anything that might make him think synths or humans are in danger. It is unclear whether Liam is a synth himself, as there are other humans working in the Institute. If he is a synth, this would explain why he is so keen on getting the others to freedom. If he is a human, then his motives are completely selfless and he is risking a lot for a individuals that are not even of the same species or kind as him.



Z1-14 is Liam Binet’s synth ally in the Institute, he is responsible for communicating messages to the other synths in order for them to escape. The Railroad asks you to see whether Z1-14 can arrange for all the synths to be evacuated from the Institute, not just the thirteen agreed on in the plan with Liam Binet. Z1-14 asks around the synths and confirms that a large number of them would fight for their freedom, however there is a real possibility some of the synths might get destroyed, even with the help the Railroad promises to offer. This is a piece of information that you should think carefully about in terms of telling Liam Binet, as he doesn’t agree with the idea of violence and could back out of the plan and alert the Institute. If you work with z1-14, you can secure that the synths will have an adequate amount of weaponry to take on oppositional forces when the time comes to evacuate. Because z1-14 is a synth, it is understandable that he wants himself and the other synths to have a chance at freedom. It is worth noting that he seems to only have a minor role in the Institute, appearing only to be tending to the plants on the main floor. Perhaps if he had a higher station in the organisation then his opinions might be a little different, it seems that as of now Z1-14 doesn’t have much to lose by engaging with Liam Binet and the Railroad.


Dr Madison Li


Dr Madison Li is a scientist working in the Institute, however before she found the Institute she used to work for the Brotherhood of Steel (BOS). Elder Maxson explains that she left her project and that the Brotherhood need her back in order to get the project back on track. However the full details about the project are not obvious, Maxson only tells you that it is something to do with nuclear process possibly nuclear weaponry. The Brotherhood sets you a mission to persuade Dr Li to leave the Institute and rejoin the Brotherhood. I didn’t really get an opportunity to back out of this mission, as I accidentally spoke to Dr Li before I realised that she was the one the BOS wants. Although I tried to select the least persuading options in the conversation, Dr Li decides to return to the BOS. I haven’t seen any immediate impact from this mission, but I imagine that the BOS will be a lot more powerful if Dr Li does help them develop a nuclear weapon. The thought of the Brotherhood possessing nuclear weaponry is very unsettling, since it was nuclear annihilations that caused the war in the first place.




This is where the story gets slightly confusing – when you teleport into the Institute, you come across a small boy who you believe to be Shaun. However the boy doesn’t appear to recognise you and becomes visibly distressed, calling out for ‘Father’ to come and help him. An elderly man appears and reads out a code, which appears to shut shaun down. It is then that you realise that the version of Shaun you were trying to talk to is actually a synth. The elderly man, is the individual who is known as ‘Father’ – and he is actually your son. He explains that when he was originally kidnapped from the vault, we were refrozen for another 60 years, so weirdly your son is actually physically older than you now. Father/Shaun is the head of the Institute and he explains that he was taken because the Institute needed DNA that was free from radiation in order to make the synthetic humans. Father is named so because all the synthetic humans are made using DNA, therefore technically they are all his children. You learn that you were released from the Vault for two reasons: Father wanted to see whether you would survive in your attempt to find him and he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Shaun is entering the last stages of his life and wanted you to find the Institute so that you could take over from his as the leader of the Institute. Naturally Father is invested in the work of the Institute and views the synthetic humans as the property of the Institute. Therefore when any synthetic human escapes from the Institute, he feels he has the right to send coursers after them and eliminate any members of the Commonwealth that seek to prevent him taking the synths back. When talking to the Railroad, there are links made between the ideology of Father and that of slavery – these synths are being labelled as property, not individual beings with rights of their own. Father gives you the opportunity to be in charge of the Institute and as a player this allows you to either take down the Institute from the inside, or take your place as the leader and eliminate all the other forces such as the Railroad and the Brotherhood of Steel.


In my personal experience, I have found Father/Shaun as a character that I can’t relate to. The synths in the Institute appear to be in awe of Father and worship him, but I can’t help but think this is because they know he has the power and authority to have them destroyed if not. This poses two options: either these synths are programmed to have a devout appreciation for Father, or they recognise how valuable their life is, therefore they are taking action to protect themselves and keep themselves alive. I have chosen to ally with the Railroad, Liam Binet and Z1-14 in order to try and save any of the synths that want to be liberated as I feel they have never been given the choice to live away from the Institute. Despite my character’s personal relationship with Shaun, I don’t feel like he embodies any of my morals as a player therefore I won’t be taking his side if it comes to a fight. However I will play along for as long as it is needed for the Railroad to take action. This will also allow me to find out more about the Institute as an organisation, the ideology, the human members and the synthetic members.

The Minute Men [possible spoilers]

The Minute Men are possibly the first organisation you come across in the world of Fallout 4, as one of the first story missions leads you to save Preston Garvey and get your first suit of power armour. Their ideology is that if people need help, the Minute Men will always come to their aid. However there are only a few members of the Minute Men left after a tragic event where the old leader General Becker was killed. In this new post-war world, their ethos still remains however there is an incentive to help people in the hope that they will in turn join the Minute Men. There are a number of missions you complete for the Minute Men, including challenges like taking back a castle from the Mirelurk Queen and smaller side missions which are mainly meant for you to discover and ally to different settlements across the Commonwealth. When you help the people of these different settlements, you will have access to their workshop and they pledge their allegiance to the Minute Men.


Preston Garvey


Preston Garvey is the first Minute Men character you meet, when you complete the first story mission after leaving the vault. You rescue Preston and his group of followers from the raiders and they travel to the settlement Sanctuary. After this mission Preston becomes available to be your companion and after he comes along with you on several missions, he tells you the history of the Minute Men and suggests that you become the new General as he thinks you have what it takes to be a leader. This comes with some perks, as you can summon the Minute Men to your aid at any point with the use of a flare gun and if you continue the Minute Men story missions you have the opportunity to get the General’s uniform, which offers a lot of protection from damage and radiation. Preston Garvey doesn’t make his opinion on the synthetic humans very clear, but later on in the story the Minute Men are summoned to protect a scientist that the Institute decide they want to take. This case demonstrates that the Minute Men want to stick up for the ‘little guy’ in the situation, protecting the people that might not be able to protect themselves. Whether they would still embody this ideology if a synthetic human called on their support, I don’t know but I would like to think that they would help any being in need.


Ronnie Shaw


Despite Preston believing he was the only other member of the Minute Men left, we meet Ronnie Shaw later on in the story. Not only is she a veteran member of the Minute Men but she was around long before General Becker. She makes it clear that your title is something you’re going to have to earn and isn’t completely friendly with you straight away, but that’s understandable. When you help Ronnie Shaw and a few other members of the Minute Men take back the Castle from the Mirelurk Queen, I got the impression that Ronnie is in charge of this settlement. This seems like an acceptable offering for her and she seems to approve of you from the moment you defeat the Mirelurks. Again, Ronnie Shaw’s opinion on synthetic humans is not made completely clear, the only concept we can be sure about is her dedication to the Minute Men.


Mama Murphy


Mama Murphy isn’t necessarily a member of the Minute Men, but she is in the group of people under Preston Garvey’s protection in the beginning story mission. She’s the character who tells you to go to Diamond City if you want to find out what happened to your missing son Shaun. Mama Murphy appears to have visions about the other characters and about the future, although you learn that these visions are induced by drugs so whether they are valid is not clear. Still as a player you might as well engage with her character to see what she has to say.




Similar with Mama Murphy, Sturges doesn’t appear to have an active role in the Minute Men as he appears to dedicate his time to making sure Sanctuary as a settlement is safe and in working order. When you are required to build the teleportation device, you are presented with a choice between the different organisations and Sturges appears to be the resident technology expert in the Minute Men organisation. It was Sturges I chose to help build the teleporter, as I wanted to try and keep a low profile about having an allegiance to the Railroad in the hope that it would mean I kept my cover for as long as possible. As far as I can see, it didn’t make that much of a difference compared to another player who chose the Railroad, but it was interesting to try. Sturges doesn’t make his views on synthetic humans known, he is just obliged to help you make the teleportation device because he is allied with the Minute Men.


The Minute Men seem like a set of decent people that are trying to make the post-war world a better place to live in. Protecting the settlers in the Commonwealth from the raiders, super mutants, gunners and ghouls is in my opinion, a very worthy cause, so I have completed lots of side missions in order to liberate settlements. I’ve noticed that after you stop discovering lots of new settlements, you end up defending the same settlements over and over, however you do get paid a sum of (bottle) caps each time, so if you’re running low on caps, it’s a good idea to complete these missions. In addition to this, for every mission you complete you get some more XP points, which go towards you levelling up. It is unclear what the Minute Men’s stance is on synthetic humans, but they jump at the chance of protecting a single scientist against the forces of the Institute. As this organisation is made up of lots of different people from the Commonwealth, the opinions on synths must be really varied. Some Minute Men members from the settles in the Commonwealth might have experienced the Institute kidnapping and replacing real people with synths, in which case I would expect their attitude towards synths to be adverse. If or when it comes to a battle against the Institute with the Railroad, I will use the Minute Men flares and see what side they fall on and how they react to the prospect of defending synths – so watch this space!

The Railroad [possible spoilers]

The Railroad are an underground organisation fighting for the rights and the freedom of the synthetic humans. Some of the members are liberated synths and some of them are humans, but all of them share the same ideology in relation to the synths: that they have the right to their own lives, free from their makers. To find the Railroad, you need to follow the Freedom Trail until you reach the church, go down into the basement and enter the password  to gain access to the secret base. From then on, you will be able to fast travel straight into and out of the underground base to save you from having to keep going upstairs and outside.



Desdemona is the leader of the Railroad and makes all of the decisions about what the Railroad do and what their direction should be. She has been criticised by some of the other members for being too emotional to be a good leader, as she sends agents on missions that appear to hold too much of a risk compared to the payout. When you first meet her, she appears to be quite stand-offish (her agents point a gun at you on her orders) but she quickly accepts any help you have to offer and wants you to commit to the Railroad. Obviously any allegiance with the Brotherhood of Steel wouldn’t go down well if Desdemona heard about it, but she’s also not keen on the Minute men either, if you are the general of the Minute men when you start engaging with the Railroad. At some point she will ask you to either side with the Railroad or the Minute men, presumably if you chose to side with the Minute men, that would mean your allegiance with the Railroad would terminate and they might turn against you. Desdemona expects commitment from you, which includes total dedication to the Railroad and their cause.




Deacon is quite a complex character, when you first meet the Railroad he devises a plan to get you promoted from ‘tourist’, which means a volunteer citizen, to a proper Railroad agent. If you accompany Deacon on this mission, you can join the Railroad as an agent and Deacon becomes available to be your companion. When you spend more time with Deacon, he pulls you aside and tells you that he is in fact a synth and he gives you his recall code, which will give you vital information in return for a complete wipe of his memories. He advises you to only use it if necessary and even suggests that he wants the code back in case you read it out accidentally. Deacon tells you that he was one of the first synths with which a total cerebral reset was implemented, meaning he doesn’t possess any of the false memories that a normal synth would, he has no memories at all of his early life. However Deacon it turns out, consistently lies to you and it is up to you as a player to try and determine whether to persuade the truth out of him, usually by confronting him and calling him a liar. Your relationship with Deacon is quite a funny one, as you can never really know when he is telling the truth or not, I get the impression that he is testing your reaction to some important truths and therefore he has to throw some lies in there as well to protect himself. This is quite reasonable considering the people from the Commonwealth don’t have a positive view of synths as many of their population have been kidnapped and replaced by synthetic humans as an experiment.




Glory is one of the liberated synths who is now fighting for the freedom of the other synths as a Railroad agent. She is not afraid of combat, something you find out when you both get sent to a mission by mistake and end up taking on some Generation 1 synths together. She doesn’t really like being questioned a lot about her past, apparently the one question nearly all the synths get asked is if they can actually remember anything about the Institute, which is who made them. She doesn’t like to be associated with the Institute as she is so clearly fighting against them, however this is understandable considering the reaction she must have got from the Commonwealth population if/when they found out she was a synth. Unlike the members of the Brotherhood of Steel who seem put out that you get promoted up their ranks straight away, Glory doesn’t seem to bear you any ill will in relation to your appointment as an agent. The Railroad seems to operate on mutual respect and dedication to their common goal and this seems like a much healthier way to run an organisation than the brutal ranking of the Brotherhood.


Tinker Tom


Tinker Tom is the computer scientist of the Railroad, he is the one of the characters you can go to if you need help building the teleporter for when you want to get into the Institute. He seems a little bit crazy (and his voice really reminds me of Cat in Red Dwarf) but he always seems to get the result, he will also send you on some side missions of his own to get some surveillance technology in place around the Commonwealth. It is Tinker Tom’s efforts that puts you in touch with the Railroad’s man on the inside of the Institute who they have given the code name ‘Patriot’. Tinker Tom doesn’t really make his opinions on the synths known as much as some of the other members, which leads me to believe that he might not be one. But he still appears to be dedicated to the common goal of the Railroad.


Dr Carrington


Dr Carrington is the second in command after Desdemona, but he is under the impression that he would make a better leader than her because he is capable of making the hard decisions that would mean less Railroad agents are put in what he sees as unnecessary danger. Carrington sends you on some of his own missions, which involves securing dead drops and finding out about the fate of other Railroad agents. He’s also really useful if you are vulnerable to damage, radiation and chem addiction as he will fix all three for you for some caps (the currency in Fallout 4 is bottlecaps). Despite his opinion of Desdemona, Dr Carrington seems to be totally committed to the cause of the Railroad, however he doesn’t appear to trust you from the beginning. It takes some successful persuasion efforts to start winning him over (not sure if this is because I’m a female character with some extra charisma perks) but he still seems to be slightly edgy towards you.


Overall the Railroad seems like an organisation that are fighting for a good cause, despite the complications associated with synthetic humans and their rights. There is a piece of dialogue, which I think occurs when you first met Desdemona, when she describes how the Institute sees synths as property. I chose the response which likens the way the Institute think to slavery, which is actually quite a good point. Although the synths are artificial, they have been constructed to replicate human life as closely as possible, which means that they appear to have (or maybe they really to have) emotions, they can express humour and they can even be sarcastic. With such a closeness to human life, these synths must be at least considered as beings capable of having a life without the Institute controlling them. Between the Brotherhood of Steel and the Railroad I have decided that the Railroad’s revolutionary ideology suits me a lot better. Yes the synths are artificial and yes my character does have kill a lot of real people in the form of raiders, so the case is naturally very complex. Why should the super mutants and the raiders be killed and the synthetic humans be left alive when they can just as equally pose a threat to the innocent citizens of the Commonwealth? Who am I to make a decision on the synthetic humans when I don’t know the full story behind them? All I can do, is to continue to negotiate my way through the world of Fallout 4 and make judgements based on the synthetic humans I encounter on my way.


Dogmeat is one of my favourite aspects of Fallout 4 probably because I am a real animal lover, but from what little I have heard and read about the previous Fallout games, Dogmeat has stayed with the franchise and developed with the advancement of game design.


You meet Dogmeat pretty early on in the story of the game, when you come across the Red Rocket. Dogmeat is just casually standing outside the station and you have the chance to make him your companion by greeting him. Through this process of greeting, you recruit Dogmeat to be your first companion and he shows his usefulness when you come across some of the enemies in the game. Dogmeat can help you fight anything that attacks you, although he does suffer from health damage after some time. He can be tasked to find enemies and items in the area, he can carry some of your items for you when you reach the weight limit and he can even perform tricks for your entertainment. Dogmeat is your first companion and you can choose to keep him throughout the entire game, but you might miss out on what the other companions can offer you.


When you meet other people that can come your companion, you have to choose where to send Dogmeat so he can wait for your return. The first time I had to decide this, I chose to send him to Sanctuary where Preston Garvey’s group relocate to after you save them from the raiders. However when I tried to find him in Sanctuary after some time has passed, I couldn’t find him at all. I thought I had lost Dogmeat forever! After researching some forums I realised that there are several different doghouses in Sanctuary where Dogmeat might be waiting and sure enough I found him resting in one of them and I was able to get him as my companion again. So if you’re playing Fallout 4 and you do lose Dogmeat look for the dog houses. When you choose a settlement to locate yourself (I chose the Starlight Drive in) go into the workshop and make a doghouse for your settlement, so you are more likely to know where to find Dogmeat if or when you have send him away.


The Fallout 4 version of Dogmeat is really quite expressive, when you interact with his character he displays lots of realistic dog-like behaviour. He whines, he barks, he even plays with objects when he’s not needed and he is also susceptible to an adorable sneezing fit that many people have observed and captured in their gameplay. The character of Dogmeat is important in the game because it gets people to show empathy, there is something really appealing about the dog and even if you find you hate all the other humans in the game, you can always depend on your relationship with Dogmeat. He reminds you that there is innocence, happiness and trust in this apocalyptic world, despite what all the other characters and monsters throw at you. There are some people in the game that reject the idea of living in the world of the Commonwealth, preferring to live in a world below ground which is controlled and safe. However Dogmeat’s character works to show you that there are some elements above ground, in the Commonwealth that are good. Otherwise how would Dogmeat’s character have survived in the world? Someone else must have cared for him before you, therefore surely there must be some good people out there.

In addition to this, the gameplay in the story can become really quite violent and perhaps without you realising it, you are faced with some graphic and brutal scenes as you navigate your character through this world of dangerous people and monsters who are constantly attacking you. As a player, you can become a bit desensitised to this violence especially because of the V.A.T.S system, which effectively dehumanises the character you are attempting to kill by reducing them into a set of targets with numbers representing their vulnerability. In this world that is so unlike the world we live in now, Dogmeat is the one character that really grounds you in reality. So that all the choices you make are made in relation to your own personal experience of the world you live in and the knowledge you’ve gained of this new post-war world.


Dogmeat’s character could be considered a symbol of the life before the war, before the bombs were dropped and you were frozen in the vault. A symbol of the life that seems impossible now because of the damage inflicted on the world. Previously your character was living a happy life as a classic American family, with the house in the suburbs and the white picket fence. This reference to ‘man’s best friend’ reminds you of how different life must have been for your character before the war (despite the fact you don’t get to experience this). Your own experience of reality as a player is drawn upon through this metaphor, meaning Dogmeat constantly reminds you of the idealistic goal of life living as a happy family. In addition to this, the premise of the story is that you are trying to find your kidnapped son, in the hope of becoming a family again, despite the fact that your significant other has been killed. Dogmeat can be considered as a symbol of the hope you have for Shaun, for that family life that has been torn apart by the war.


The Brotherhood of Steel [possible spoilers]

The Brotherhood of Steel (BOS) is one of the organisations operating in the world of Fallout 4 and there is an opportunity to join them in order to try and find your missing son Shaun. The BOS is military in nature with a strict system of ranking to which all the members must adhere to. There are a few main characters that you interact with as you start to find out about this organisation, each can offer you an incite into how the BOS operate and what their ideology is towards the other inhabitants of the Commonwealth.


Scribe Haylen


Scribe Haylen is part of the team operating under the control of Paladin Danse, she appears to be quite friendly however she does come out with some harder comments as if to try and establish a sense of toughness. If you choose to offer Paladin Danse help when you first meet him, you are introduced to both his team members at the Cambridge Police Station. When you have free time to look about the building you may find a holotape from Scribe Haylen. When played you hear Haylen questioning her place in the BOS, admitting she only joined initially for protection and that she doesn’t believe in the brutal ideology of the other members. Furthermore in conversation with Scribe Haylen, you have the chance to persuade her to talk about her attempted relationship with Knight Rhys. Haylen admits that she thought there was a mutual attraction there but that Knight Rhys valued the Brotherhood’s cause above all other aspects of his life, including romance. Scribe Haylen seems like a troubled character who has joined this organisation looking for the promise of safety, she appears to enjoy her work with technology but can’t help but question the overall ideology of the organisation.


Knight Rhys


Knight Rhys doesn’t make a good first impression, far from the idea of military personal being respectful and un-bias Rhys really seems to hate your character from the moment you meet him and doesn’t make any attempt to hide it. The reason Rhys does not like you becomes clear if you choose to join the Brotherhood of Steel as Paladin Danse promotes you to the rank of Knight straight away, going against the idea of working your way up the ranks, which Rhys would almost certainly have had to do. In addition to this, there is the knowledge that Rhys had to make a choice between love and the Brotherhood and chose the Brotherhood. Therefore seeing your character flitting up the ranks would doubtlessly question the system of the organisation he has effectively given everything up for. Despite these complications Knight Rhys appears to be the model for you to follow if you want to progress in the BOS, you must put your own agendas second to the Brotherhood’s cause in order to make the Commonwealth a better place.


Paladin Danse

Fallout 4 companion guide danse

Paladin Danse is in charge of Knight Rhys, Scribe Haylen and also your character if you choose to join the BOS. When you follow a military distress signal you come across Danse trying to fight off a pack of ghouls with other members of his team lying injured. If you help him defend Cambridge Police Station, Danse offers you to accompany him on some other missions and then eventually to join the Brotherhood. On a mission with Danse you find out his stance on synthetic humans (synths), Danse views synths as an abomination that needs to be destroyed. This might be because he mentions one of his team was previously killed by a synth, so it’s understandable why he bears a grudge. It becomes apparent then that the BOS’s objective is to eliminate the synths from the Commonwealth, and the Institute for making them regardless of whether the synths consider themselves to be independent beings or not. Still if you do join the Brotherhood, Paladin Danse personally vouches for you and you are immediately promoted to the rank of Knight, which grants you your own set of T-60 power armour. Despite his adverse view on synths, Danse appears to be a character that is free from conflict, just heavily dedicated to the cause of the BOS. If you as a player decide that you agree with his views, then he could prove to be a valuable companion, that is if you can bear to get rid of Dogmeat!


Elder Maxson


If you join the Brotherhood of Steel you accompany Paladin Danse onto the giant flying airship called the Prydwen. Once aboard this ship you are debriefed by Elder Maxson, who is the leader of this division of the BOS. His view on synths are very much the same as Paladin Danse, the synths are unnatural and therefore need to be destroyed as they could pose a threat to the Brotherhood and the population of the Commonwealth. As the BOS’s aim is to act in the interest of the Commonwealth, Elder Maxson makes it the Brotherhood’s responsibility to deal with the synths and the Institute. The intentions of the Brotherhood appear to be slightly more sinister than they first appear however when Maxson gives you the mission of persuading an Institute scientist to rejoin the BOS after an argument prompted to leave her post on a research project. Maxson admits in discussion that this project was developing some sort of nuclear weapon and that the scientist is the key for getting the project back on track again. Although the BOS appear to want to protect the people of the Commonwealth, it appears as though they may be creating weaponry that will just put them in danger all over again.


Once you join the Brotherhood of Steel, you are effectively pledging allegiance to their cause of eliminating the Institute. The mentality of this organisation appears to be quite brutal with their goal only to destroy all synths, not to try and understand the reasons behind their creation. Although they claim to be acting in the best interest of the Commonwealth, when talking to the settlements around the Commonwealth people don’t generally remember asking the BOS for their help. They can only remember the moment when the BOS airship appeared in the Commonwealth skies, making it seem like the BOS may acting with their own interests as a priority. Once your character infiltrates the institute the BOS will increasingly put pressure on you to destroy them from the inside, persuading scientists to leave and turning against the Institutes synths in battle. If you refuse to turn again the Institute, or hurt any other the BOS members as a result, you will become an enemy of the BOS and they will aim to eliminate you along with the Institute.

In my play through of the game I have joined all organisations: the Minutemen, the Railroad and the Brotherhood of Steel. This is partially because I want to see what the ideology of each organisation is, and also because I want to see how each of the missions can contribute to the overall storyline. What I have learned is that each of the organisations will ask you to choose them over the others, none of them want to work together because they appear to have conflicting aims. The Brotherhood of Steel, although a powerful organisation with access to lots of weaponry and technology, resists the idea that the synths themselves could be capable of living a life without violence. Having talked to some of the synths that are in the Railroad, I have acknowledged that even if they aren’t real humans, they are capable of expressing very humanistic concepts such as sarcasm, other forms of humour and even lying for the hell of it. Not something I would expect the Institute to program unless they were attempting to create artificial life, not human weapons. I believe that the synths could integrate in society as individual human beings, away from the controlling hand of the Institute. For this reason, if I am forced to make a choice I think I will not be siding with the Brotherhood of Steel, so I can only hope I have enough armour and weapons to keep myself safe from them when I do break ties!