[[caption-width-right:300:PLAYER is reduced to a thin red paste.]]
->''"Your life has ended in the wasteland."''

A 1988 CRPG that was groundbreaking in its combination of a gritty post-apocalyptic setting with a nonlinear play style. The designers notably sacrificed more modern graphics for extended detail in the gameplay, as well as creating a rich backstory that appeared in the game's copy protection, a set of 'Paragraphs' that were referenced by number at various plot points. Woven into the paragraphs were numerous {{Red Herring}}s not referenced in-game to keep players from skipping to the end of the story.

Celebrated on several sites, most notably at the [[http://wasteland.rockdud.net Ranger HQ Grid]], which includes info about the game as well as some surprisingly good FanFic.

After a very successful {{Kickstarter}} [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2 support campaign]], Creator/InXileEntertainment, under Brian Fargo's leadership, developed a sequel, ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland 2}}'', with Creator/ObsidianEntertainment, and Creator/ChrisAvellone in particular, joining in as co-developers. The game was released 19th September 2014.

An enhanced version of the original Wasteland - with optional music, voice-overs and an integrated paragraph book has been released on digital distribution sites (including Steam and gog.com) to coincide with the sequel.

See Also ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'', the series' SpiritualSuccessor.
!!This game provides examples of:

* ActionBomb: The Radiation Angels at the Temple of the Mushroom Cloud explode into a pile of glowing blue dust after you defeat them. Why, yes, it ''is'' radioactive.
* ActionGirl: Christina, a mercenary and potential party member who has a unique picture. She likes to use full-auto on her weapons, and starts equipped with an UZI submachine gun.
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: In the southeast corner of the agricultural center's farm, there are four foot tall pears. They're pleasingly plump, and perfectly prepared to possibly plummet onto passing pedestrians.
* AfterTheEnd: "Somehow, life goes on in the Wasteland."
* AIIsACrapshoot: AI research goes pretty badly awry, [[spoiler: and is hinted to have caused the nuclear holocaust in the first place.]] Notably, the game's main villains are a robot army [[spoiler: commanded by an insane Cyborg and an ancient Military AI.]]
* AKA47: Played with. Some weapons use their real-life names, and the [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] explains that some of the fictional ones are simply future versions of then-contemporary firearms, but many of the game's weapons are still entirely fictional.
* AmbiguouslyHuman: The triplets in the courthouse have gray skin; Ugly John has a purple tinge. Growing up in a radioactive wasteland with a thin ozone layer can be harmful...
* AnAxeToGrind: The Proton Ax, found in a deserted building guarded by one of the game's most powerful enemies. It's the most powerful melee weapon in the game, capable of [[BloodyHilarious reducing enemies to a chunky red salsa.]]
* AntiHero: The player characters can be a group of these depending on the player's style -- going straight into near-VillainProtagonist levels (you can, for example, choose to [[MoralEventHorizon freely butcher the innocent children at a former summer camp]] because [[DisproportionateRetribution some of them made fun of you]]).
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler: Finster believes that with the nuclear holocaust, humanity has proven to be bad stewards of the earth, so he is wiping them out it to start over. The [=PCs=] are just in his way.]]
* ApocalypticLog: A number are found and related in the Paragraphs, including actual logbooks from [[spoiler: the Sleeper Base.]]
* ArtificialStupidity: Recruited Party Members are only under a small amount of control by the player. Often they refuse to take orders, [[LiteralMinded or take them too well.]] They also can't tell between friendly and non-friendly [=NPCs=].
--> "[[TriggerHappy Christina]] rips a clip on the rabbit."
** VAX and Christina in particular will use full auto (which empties a magazine) as an attack option 90% of the time, wasting precious ammunition. This is especially painful if they're using the rare energy weapons.
* BaldOfEvil: Ugly John.
* {{Backtracking}}: There's a fair amount involved for numerous quests, most notably finding the Real Bloodstaff.
* BeefGate: The Guardian Citadel can be approached very early, but the game notes that it will be impossible to defeat the defenders until much later in the game.
* BettingMiniGame: The casinos in Vegas provide these. [[RealityEnsues Naturally, they generally do nothing but drain your cash.]]
* BigDamnFireExit: Big damn escape pod, actually.
* BloodyHilarious: Due to the graphical limitations of the game, the results of combat were described rather poetically, resulting in enemies being ''"[[LudicrousGibs turned into chunky meat kibble]]"'', ''"reduced to an undertaker's nightmare"'', or ''"[[PinkMist blown into a fine red mist]]"''.
** ''Player exploded the (enter creature name) like a blood sausage.''
* BoringButPractical: Assault rifles are, short of rockets and energy weapons, the most practical weapons around.
* CargoCult: Guardians and their collection of technology they don't even try to understand.
* CharacterCustomization: Name, gender, and nationality, none of which affect the game in a meaningful way.
** Gender is actually used in just one case.
* CharacterPortrait: Seen in combat for enemies. They also appear in some dialogues.
* CloningBlues: If you take the time to learn the associated skills, you can clone any of your party members. This can be used either to invoke WeHaveReserves should you manage to lose one of them in battle OR to outfit your team with a carbon copy of your toughest Ranger to increase the team's overall ferocity.
* CreatorCameo: Faran Brygo is an obvious reference to game designer Brian Fargo.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: Averted. Dropping below 0 hit points results in a number of progressively serious wounded states, and unless the Medic or Doctor skill is applied, the character is [[FinalDeath gone for good]].
* CutAndPasteEnvironments: The graphical limitations of 1988 computers means a lot of reused environments and level designs.
* DamageSpongeBoss: The [[spoiler: Night Terror in Finster's Mind Maze.]] [[SkippableBoss Thankfully, he's avoidable.]] Many late game enemies are this unless the party is equipped with energy weapons.
* DungeonBypass: You can use the sewers to move around towns without triggering RandomEncounters. Many buildings have multiple ways through as well, allowing the player to skip through hostile encounters.
* DungeonTown: Most major settlements. While the first is empty, the agricultural facility to the west has hostile animals, the town to the north has wandering bandits, etc.
* DumpStat: Charisma. It affects almost nothing of any value, whereas other stats can be game-changers if balanced correctly
* EverythingBreaks: Not really, but the furniture in the abandoned buildings is described as about to fall apart at the lightest touch.
* EverythingIsTryingToKillYou: Bunnies, lizards, jerks, and cacti are but a few of the Wasteland's many dangers.
* ExpositionBreak: Several appear throughout the game, conveniently broken out into paragraphs provided in the manual. The UpdatedRerelease integrates them as in-game pop-ups with voiced narration.
* FatBastard: Fat Freddy: his name is not a coincidence. His in-game description also recalls the FatSlob trope.
* FetchQuest:
** Two [=NPCs=] request that the Bloodstaff be found and returned to them. The player can turn it in to the first one for a reward in Needles, and then ask for it back to give it to Charmaine in Vegas.
** In Vegas, Fat Freddy asks the Rangers to kill Faran Brygo for his Onyx Ring.
* GangOfBullies: The kids in Highpool who laugh at your troop of hardened soldiers falling on some slippery rocks. [[VideogameCrueltyPotential You can kill them]] if you choose to, although everyone hates you for it and it results in the town becoming deserted.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Being created in 1988, the game world is an aftermath of USA-Soviet nuclear exchange from 1997, with Cold War getting hot.
%%* GrimyWater: The fish are biting. Ouch!
* GuideDangIt:
** Much of the game's context, backstory, and even basic features are left unexplained in the game proper, and no version currently available contains the game's manual. This means that modern players will typically have to hunt down game guides in order to figure out how the game's stat system works, and even what you're supposed to be doing in the first place.
** The end game is nearly impossible without energy weapons. These require your characters have an IQ of 23 to be able to even use them. This means you have to create your characters with as near an IQ to 18 as possible and then constantly raise it when given a chance to get to the minimum requirement.
* GunsAreWorthless: Played straight during the first half of the game, when a decent Brawling skill lets you deal way more damage; partially averted after the party reaches Last Vegas and finds assault rifles. The [[AnAxeToGrind Proton Axe]] is still a valid alternative until the end of the game, though.
* HealingPotion: Averted. There is no way for characters to regain health except by resting.
* IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon: Averted. You ''are'' the law, and in the few places that you're not, you can still beat out the competition if you have high enough combat skills.
* ImpassableDesert: In-map desert requires a canteen to pass.
* InsurmountableWaistHighFence: Usually averted. You can blow up or knock down virtually any door, including several that have key slots (though those generally require explosives to knock down) and a good number of walls, and there are plenty of fences that can be climbed, too.
* InUniverseGameClock: The in-game clock runs at different speeds typically depending on the scale of the current map. This makes resting to recover health a lot faster in some locations than in others.
* LateCharacterSyndrome: Mort, Ralf, and other Party Memebers tend to suffer from this. Averted with [[spoiler: [[EleventhHourRanger VAX.]]]]
* LudicrousGibs: Described in loving detail, due to the lack of graphics.
* MonstersEverywhere: The whole game tends to be this, but especially [[spoiler: Finster's maze.]]
* MsFanservice / LeaningOnTheFourthWall: The bathtub girl in Paragraph 1, who exists only to remind players not to cheat by reading through the Paragraphs book. Not heeding her advice gives you a RedHerring storyline about a mission to Mars.
* NonLethalKO: Most enemy attacks knock you out, and you can get back up later (or even mid-combat).
* OneStatToRuleThemAll: IQ. The higher it is the more and better skills you get access to. You pretty much want to start everyone with as high an IQ as possible.
* OnlySixFaces: Because of used and available technology, each type of enemy has standard portray attatched. Rangers themselves have limited and randomly assigned ones.
* OnlySmartPeopleMayPass: [[spoiler: Finster's virtual reality.]]
* OptionalSexualEncounter: The three-legged hooker. [[RealityEnsues Naturally, she gives you herpes.]]
* PurelyAestheticGender: It influences exactly one thing: which restroom you can enter without getting weird looks from people.
* RailRoading: Beautifully averted. While the car takes you from city to city and there are two locations that [=NPCs=] need to reveal, but otherwise, you are free to explore the whole map, returning to any earlier location you like and even trying farther ahead ones.
* RandomEncounters: Everywhere, [[DungeonTown even in the middle of towns.]]
* RedHerring: The manual includes paragraphs not referenced in-game which, if read together, create the impression that the game is really about a war on Mars. This is done to punish players who try to read the paragraphs without being prompted to do so.
* RegeneratingHealth: You can get back to full health by waiting. In some versions, when your entire party is unconscious, they may recover after a few minutes. However, if you are sick or became seriously wounded from combat, you must get medical treatment or die.
* RockBeatsLaser: A spear is more powerful than a sizeable chunk of guns and other weapons. It's also listed under AT weapons with LAW launchers and sabot rockets.
* RPGsEqualCombat: ZigZagged. While most of your experience will come from combat, successfully using noncombat skills can earn experience as well. In at least one place this can be abused for [[GameBreaker infinite experience]].
* SavingTheWorld: Your ultimate goal is to [[spoiler:destroy Base Cochise to stop Finster from exterminating mankind.]]
* StoryDrivenInvulnerability: There are characters who can be attacked and those who can't. The vast majority, including people you wouldn't want to attack, are the former, but a few (like Spam Shade) are the latter. Some of these change types after a given plot trigger, such as if you complete Fat Freddy's quest.
* TheGambler: Dan Citrine's skills qualify him as one. [[spoiler: You can also discover that he was only captured by Ugly John's gang to retrieve a stash of money.]] The same goes for Mort.
* ThreeQuartersView: The city maps; the main map is TopDownView.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential / WouldHurtAChild: It is possible for the player to wipe out the town of Highpool, which is populated almost entirely by children.
* {{Zeerust}}: Being written in late 1980s, the setting's technology is largely based on what was available then -- floppy discs, advanced mainframe computers, no desktops on them and so on.