A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:
This is a personal moment for the viewer, so every example is signed by the contributor. If you start off with "This Troper", really, you have no excuse. We're going to hit you on the head.
This revelation can come from anywhere, even from this very page.
Also, this page is of a generally positive nature, and a Fridge Brilliance does not have to be Word Of God. In fact, it usually isn't, and the viewer might be putting more thought into it than the creator ever did. This is not a place for personal commentary on another's remark or arguing without adding a Fridge Brilliance comment of your own.
Click here to return to the video game Fridge Brilliance page.The Fallout Universe
The computers look ancient. Completely out of place for the time setting, considering that computers involve engineering and science (and seeing how advanced functions they do in the games. The Fallout universe has nuclear power at the forefront of the societies energy source. EMP's are the result of nuclear missiles being detonated above ground. The intense radio waves they produce destroys modern computer architecture. Older computers that would have been made in the 1950's would have survived, as their architecture (vacuum tubes, rather than silicon transistors) is more resistant to radio wave damage.
I always wondered why the world of Fallout was stuck in the 50s. And then it hit me: This is a world that runs by 50s science. It's not stuck in the 50s, it practically IS the 50s! - gumbal1
It also gives you a good idea as to why the Pre-War world fell. They took an attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". But when it did start to break, they were so stuck in a cultural rut that they refused to adapt, even as their world started to crumble around them. The world was stuck in the 50's not just because it worked on the 50's mass-idea of science, but because they refused to change. What else refuses to change? War. The lesson? Societies need to adapt and change in their modes of thought and how they see the world, or they will become stagnant and destroy themselves.
The Brotherhood of Steel are essentially Communist, and the Enclave are the remnants of the old Pre-war Government. I'll let that one sink in.
How on earth is the Brotherhood Communist? Their philosophy is to keep advance technology from falling into the hands of others and extreme isolationism. In no part does it involve anything about the equal distribution of wealth or creating a classless society.
Their internal culture is actually heavily class based and rather unequal in resource distribution and information dissemination, given their tendency to generally favor combat technologies and therefore the Knights. On top of that, Initiates, Scribes, and Knights have clearly defined roles in the Brotherhood. Also, they are descendants of US military forces, also very heavily role and class based, due to rank, and given the US' war with the Communists in the game, it seems highly suspect that they would embrace something their predecessors fought against.
They don't express interest in improving the lives of the ordinary person, they have no interest in liberating labor (slaves) or controlling local economies, and their most sacred principle is taking technology from the many for the benefit of the few. Likelihood of communism: zero percent!
That the Vaults weren't ever meant save anyone: they were meant to test different issues related to long-term 'generation ship' space travel. The Enclave's original plan was to colonize another planet. Think about the different experiments used in the Vaults.
Another theory: since the pre-war governments didn't know exactly how the world would work after the bombs fell, every Vault was designed to run in different ways, with different problems, different cultures and other random variables. Think of it this way: if you're trying to cook some food for someone you don't know - instead of making a single meal, you might make multiple, smaller meals with more variety, so that no matter what food that person likes, there will be something there for them. In the Fallout universe, no matter what the post-war world would be like, at least some of the Vault dwellers would be able to survive in the wasteland, because every Vault is different, and every Vault would be conditioning its inhabitants to live in a different way.
Except the plan was originally to colonize another planet, and the vaults were to experiment the effect of long-term isolation on humans, with the bizarrely esoteric experiments, such as releasing hallucinogenic gas into the air after ten days, being mostly just for the hell of it.
That isn't a fridge example, that is ACTUAL canon.
I just had one while reading this page. Above there's constant mentioning of the 50's and the Cold War fears. That made me realize that Fallout is basically a combination of what the future was to people in the 50s (ray guns and cheesy-looking robots) and their greatest fears (a nuclear holocaust). The weapons changed to meet the expectation of the future while many of the appliances (radios, soda machines, refrigerators) stayed the same as in the mid to late 50s. We're playing the same thing that was Nightmare Fuel for someone living in the Cold War.
It seems kind of strange that Unarmed would be governed by Endurance instead of Strength, like Melee is. However, having a higher Damage Threshold (which is also tied to Endurance) means that the impact would be less likely to cause damage to the puncher himself, so it's an interesting example of a Required Secondary Power.
The back story says that in the years leading up to the war, all the fossil fuels on Earth were used up, and the subsequent collapse of global economies and the scramble for resources was one of the driving factors behind the Great War. This explains a lot about the setting. Why are cars nuclear powered? No oil for fuel. Why is everything glass and metal? Because you can't make plastics without oil.
Radiation isn't what caused these freakish Fifties-style mutations. The FEV got out during the war and infected humans and animals. The mutations blamed on radiation ('ghoulification' for example) was either the result of the individual either adapting to lethal levels of radiation with help from the FEV, or the FEV itself mutating with exposure to radiation.
Contradicted by the authors. The Fallout universe works on 50s SCIENCE! and mutations that are not said to be the work of FEV are caused by radiation, including ghouls ( Harold being an exception).
Him? He's not a ghoul. Though he has a resemblance.
Garden of Eden Creation Kit : a Garden of Eden in a cellular automaton is a configuration that can't be created following the automaton's rules ; considering Fallout is basically a playable cellular automaton, how can you really have that in a kit?
I was playing Fallout 3, and wondering why a good deal of the people I met were so cheerful about the Old World- then it hit me last night: It's safe to assume most people can't read, and that oral tradition would deteriorate. Political tensions and the New Plague have no meaning to them; the only things that have any meaning to the people of the Wasteland is how big and (relatively) safe the cities were... How kids could play in the streets of D.C. and this strange thing called "grass." Even the Lone Wanderer is probably waxing nostalgic about it due to Vault 101's Patented Propaganda Process. Woggs123
This explains why Ulysses in Fallout: New Vegas, one of the few people who has actually studied history, hold House and his plan to revive the Old World in such contempt. To Ulysses, House and the Old World are both ghosts that need to die.
I always wondered why you can read copies of the same skill book and get a skill bonus every time. If you've already read it multiple times, what else can you learn? And then it hit me, those books are over 200 years old. They are probably badly damaged, missing pages, or have unreadable text. It also stands to reason that each copy is missing different information (for example, let's say that one copy is missing pages 101 to 116 and another copy has those but is missing pages 13-54). So when you read multiple copies of the same skill book, you are actually just piecing together a complete book out of the fragments you have.
It makes more sense for the works that are periodicals, since you're reading a different month of, say, the DC Journal of Internal Medicine or Grognak the Barbarian. (Wait, my killer swordsmanship moves come from comic books?!)
When the Overseer banished you, I thought "Damn the overseer", but when you realize that in the sequel, he knew about the experiments and Enclave. He knew you can't stay here since you will be at risk of being captured by the Enclave eventually so he sends you off north to hide from the Enclave hoping that at least one of you makes it out alive. Your tribe did...for a while.
Let's re-bastard him for a bit. He knew about the experiments and the Enclave. He knew they needed the Vault citizens as a control group; but also needed some Vault stock to leave, settle down, and generally be able to be abducted by the Enclave otherwise 13's experiment would fail. The Overseer set you up. Ignoring FO 2's Guardian of Forever encounter (Which, given FO 2's general tone, is probably a non-canon joke anyway), you have to wonder how much of FO 1's plot was a set up. You have to wonder if the Water Chip failure was accidental or intentional on behalf of the Overseer. If it weren't for the existence of the the Master and the Military Base, how likely would it have been that the Vault Dweller would have been exiled soon afterwards for some spurious reason? The exile was planned, the resulting mutiny by some of the other Dwellers was planned, Arroyo was planned. Everything happened because the Enclave required it, and the Overseer was a bastard for letting it happen.
Corrections: a) the Enclave didn't have a special need for Vault 13's unmutated population before they started experimenting with FEV between the games. b) Vault 13 was intended to be sealed and undisturbed for 200 years to research long-term isolation (kind of important data when planning non-FTL space travel). Thus, putting the Vault in a situation where the Overseer had to open the Vault door prematurely under extremely stressful circumstances would be detrimental - and indeed the situation led to Dwellers revolting against him and freeing themselves from the Vault experiment. the Overseer is still a bastard for not letting people go because Enclave wouldn't like it, though. There is till some Brilliance to it: Overseer wasn't completely full of shit when he said that encouragement to leave the Vault would result in much misery. Attempting to live off dead, irradiated land didn't exactly fare well for Arroyo.
Listin to "Maybe" again. Pay attention to the lyrics. They could possibly be interpreted as being about The Overseer forcing you to leave Vault 13.
"I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" was the first choice for the music in Fallout 1. However, Interplay couldn't afford the rights to that song, and the developers settled on "Maybe."
Access to later game maps has revealed that Stupidity Is the Only Option. The Vault Dweller in Fallout 1 went in the only direction that did not have fresh water. If he went north, he would have hit Vault City with its hundreds of spare water chips: if he went east, he would have hit the Mojave and Lake Mead, which was untouched by the nukes. Instead he went south... -SYLOH
Rhombus, despite given a voice and talking head, seems to be a pretty minor character in the first Fallout. He has little to say outside of effectively telling you to shut up and leave, and contributes to no quests. It's generally better to not speak to him at all, lest you anger him. However, he is the one factor in the game that determines the future of the Brotherhood of Steel. If he dies, then the ending reveals that the Brotherhood goes on to conquer the wasteland. But if lives, he takes over as the next High Elder, and continues the organization's isolationism. Therefore, we can credit Rhombus for being the one most responsible for making the Brotherhood's isolationist policy as extreme as it was by the time Fallout: New Vegas rolls around. -Exotrix
The Master wanted to capture the inhabitants of Vault 13, yet in the bad ending-cinematic, the mutants kills everyone. Why?
Because, the Mutant you see is your character - you decide to spoil the Master's plan by killing the inhabitants so they can be spared the fate of Super Mutation.
In the opening scene of Fallout 3, with the nuclear devastation, and that opening song involving not wanting to set the world on fire, and only wanting to start a fire in your lover's heart. Now compare that to John Henry Eden, who speaks of his country that he loves so much, even referring to it as his "dear, sweet America," and who says he wants to reach out into you, the listener's, heart. Now, remember that Eden is an amalgam of the personalities of dozens of Presidents, including the warmongering ones who triggered the nuclear war with China. And note Eden's long-term goals. They may not have wanted to set the world on fire, but....
You do the tutorials in Vault 101.
John Henry Eden talks with a Virginian accent. Virginia was the home state to more presidents then any other.
One could argue that Eden is doing Northern Virginia, but even that is a Mid-Atlantic accent without more "Southern" inflections. Eden's speaking mostly like Fake AmericanMalcolm McDowell with a generic folksy Southern twang and a few other inflections, without Northern Virginian patois or a Deep Southern drawl. This is especially notable compared to other areas of Virginia, such as Appalachia, Richmond or Rural Virginia (which have very different accents that are drastically different from each other as well as the north), as is the realization that Eden claims to be a good ol' boy from Kentucky and definitely does not have that accent.
Agreed. "Dear old dog," my butt. In retrospect, shouldn't he have claimed to have grown up in "the East-Central Commonwealth?" Kentucky hadn't been a separate political body since the 1960s sometime... oh, well, it was probably still referred to as Kentucky by its inhabitants.
In many reviews of the game I had read, snarky attention seemed to be paid to the fact that so much of the Capital Wasteland was still standing and often relatively unmolested after a nuclear conflict and 200 years of exposure. At first I was inclined to agree, but then I thought of the cultural divergence between the Fallout universe and ours. Society seemed stuck in a perpetual and idealized version of the 50's from what seemed to be post-World War II up until 2077. That's over a century of Cold War paranoia, which means that society had been nuke-proofing everything up until the Great War. Along with whatever technological advances afforded the process, of course things like large buildings, power generators, and the like would still be standing; they were built to last. —Big Wheel
But it's inconsistent with previous lore. The West Tek Research Facility in Fallout 1, a high tech research facility, was hit by a direct nuclear blast and the surface structures were completely gone, leaving a giant hole in the ground. Los Angeles is called Boneyard because the buildings have been blasted apart so much that only the metal "bones" of skyscrapers remain.
All the bulidings in DC are made with reinforced concrete, why is that important? Buildings made of reinforced concrete remained standing at ground zero in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Skyscrapers aren't built like that, and have a lot more surface area for the blast wave to impact. Each building would also shield the building behind it progressively lessening the damage.
The problem there is that not only were there nuclear bombs to contend with, but there is also over 200 years of weathering and no maintenance, with an on-going war between Super Mutants and everyone else during that time. Many concrete buildings, even reinforced ones, are only built to withstand a relatively short amount of time (nuclear reactors are only built with about a century of stability, for instance). While major buildings like say, the CN Tower, are often built with longevity in mind, smaller, less important buildings would fall over and weather away.
The necessity for Project Purity is often questioned - however, there is no apparent farming infrastructure compared to the West Coast. The soil and ground water were either intentionally salted by low yield dirty bombs, or contaminated by the Vault 87 FEV. If you could de-contaminate an entire river, you'd restart the area's ecosystem.
I heard complaints about how in Fallout 3 somehow everyone is surviving off of 200 year old food, but I picked up a package of Fancy Lads Snack Cakes one day and realized - they're Twinkies! Everyone is eating T.V. dinners and junk food stuffed full of so many preservatives they could last for 200 years. Which makes me wonder, just what are "Dandy Boy Apples?" - Rantingdude
Preservatives in real life only work so well. Even Twinkies go stale in a few weeks and become inedible shortly after that. So this remains a wild inaccuracy placed largely for atmospheric reasons.
What you and I call 'inedible' differs very much from what the post-apocalypse population consider 'inedible'. Quick quiz, which would you rather eat: expired Twinkies or the inside of a giant mutated cockroach?!
Except in that span of time, a Twinkie would be completely inedible. Die Hard shows what happens if you eat Twinkies that are left too long.
Die Hard: an educational film! (I'm not saying they're wrong - it just seems like an odd place to learn one's science.)
My Fridge Brilliance for that is similar, because I wondered why there were so much food in cans and packets, all instant and stuff. Then I realised: in the Fifties, people ate basically no fresh food, because preserved food was all New and Scientifically Improved. This is thus the perfect explanation for why there's so much food around. - Air Of Mystery
I thought it was because all the organic stuff has rotten away or been eaten already.
Incorrect. Canned food dates to 1819, and food preservation through cold storage and seasoning goes back centuries, whereas people in the 1950s actually ate more fresh food than today.
Actually, there's an even better Fridge Brilliance for the food. The radiation in the game is not real radiation, but the radiation depicted in 50's fiction, the kind that can mutate people to have superpowers, animals to grow larger... and preserve food! The radiation keeps the food from spoiling.
Radiation is used to remove bacteria in a fashion similar to pasteurization; it does nothing to slow the breakdown and denaturating of proteins and so on, to say nothing for the growth of new bacteria after the cleansing.
In the real world, yes, you are right - but in the Fallout world of 50s SCIENCE!, things are different,
When I came across the giant fire ants, I stood back and shot them to death because I knew they'd shoot fire at me because of the name. It wasn't until much later I realised that the name wasn't meant to indicate they shot fire, but that they were literally a giant version of fire ants, and their shooting of fire had nothing to do with their name. When I heard stories of people getting killed by the flames because they pulled out a baseball bat or something and tried to smack them in the head, the brilliance struck me.
Some Fridge Horror for me: I was exploring the world at my leisure, and stumbled across a wrecked, abandoned farmstead. I read through the logs and got some warm fuzzy feelings about how people are still thriving in the post-apocalyptic world. Reading the last log, I figured they got spooked by some raiders and decided to up and leave. It wasn't until I went to get a snack that it hit me - On my way to the farmstead, I had just passed through an area called the Grisly Diner, a raider-occupied, trapped diner, complete with seemingly freshly-cut bits of bodies hanging from chains. Oh, Crap. -Chaz GELF
Some people complained about the stereotypical 'little green men' aliens (Mothership Zeta DLC), and their equally stereotypical technology. I was inclined to complain with them...until I realised something. Fallout is set in a fifties stasis. And back in the fifties, that's what people thought aliens were like, so their design is keeping in perfectly with the setting!
Just be glad they didn't show up in Tripods. (Beat) I take it back. Why the heck couldn't they have shown up in Tripods?! That would have been a Crowning Moment. ;)
The Pitt is quite possibly the single most uninhabitable place in the Fallout universe - And that's saying something. Why is this? In the 50s, Pittsburg was so polluted, and the smog so thick, it was not uncommon to have streetlights on during the day. It's since improved in the real world, but Fallout's US never advanced culturally past the 50s. The air and environment of the city continuously got worse until the day the bombs hit... It may have degenerated further with radiation, but Pittsburgh was almost entirely toxic to start with.
Or that smog actually shielded the place somehow like an aerosolized version of a lead blanket. Sure civilization crumbled and everything went to hell soon after the bomb... but it's telling that the city itself is still there (only decayed a bit) and that people were living there even before the Brotherhood moved through and "cleansed" the area.
Similar to "Maybe" in Fallout 1 as stated above in this page, listen to "Way Back Home's" lyrics. Fitting to the Lone Wanderer's banishment from Vault 101, his former home, after either peacefully and violently fixing the chaos.
The first time I played Fallout 3, I was a little annoyed that President Eden's plan was to release FEV to exterminate the mutated inhabitants of the Wasteland, when President Richardson's plan in Fallout 2 was... to release FEV to exterminate the mutated inhabitants of the Wasteland. Lazy writing, I thought. Then I realised, Eden is a computer, who contains all the records of the presidents of the US, from Washington to Richardson. He would have known all about Richardson's plan, and being a computer, he's completely lacking in imagination. It's not lazy writing to have him apeing Richardson's idea, it's positively brilliant.
I, too, was faintly irked to see the pattern repeated - but aside from your reasoning being good in-game ("The plan was not flawed: the execution was. Begin the plan again"), I figured Fallout 3 had to be written to clue a lot of folks into the conventions of this series - folks who had never and might never play the first two. Therefore, the game had to have the Brotherhood, the Enclave, Forced Evolutionary Virus, the Garden of Eden Creation Kit, and... yes... a master villain plotting genocide from his hidden lair.
Littlehorn and Associates... who would be so evil as to hire people to kill others? The Enclave is paying Daniel Littleton to hire anyone merciless enough to hunt down others since life is cheap and microfusion cells are better spent on abominations than on pathetic sacks of meat.
Many people note the hypocrisy of an African-American like Eulogy Jones leading the Slaver faction - however, Jones' philosophy of Might Makes Right (with the slaves being slaves because of weakness, rather than racial inferiority) is reminiscent of African warlords who enslaved those who were captured during wars with other tribes - and since Jones and the Slavers sell off their slaves to other factions and individuals for the right price, this is also reminiscent of the warlords selling off their slaves to the Europeans during the colonial era.
At the end of Broken Steel, you have the option to fire a Kill Sat on the Brotherhood's base. Now, why didn't the Enclave did this before? Because it's the Pentagon, one of the symbols of the Old World and of America's power. It would be far too valuable as a symbol if they can re-take it. Of course they wouldn't fire on it!
Likewise the opening song for New Vegas (Frank Sinatra's Blue Moon) was how Victor saved you from certain death. Since in an uncaring wasteland where your death will just be another casualty. It was really rare to see someone save you from certain death. Very meaningful indeed.
Always wondered why both Arcade and Veronica were Straight Gay and then I realized it was rather symbolic, both were part of the remnants of what's left of civilization and that with them swinging the other way, it was effectively the end of the Enclave and Brotherhood and the fact that the people related to those factions are slowly but surely dying out.
It's less the idea that Gannon and Veronica coming out as gay led to the downfall of their respective factions, than it was the drastic decline in power of their factions that allowed Gannon and Veronica to openly express their views, both sexually and in a general social sense. Obviously, Veronica's chapter of the B.O.S. is symbolic of a declining, close-minded, Knight Templar organization (with their homophobia being another policy to enforce "natural growth" with what little remained of their population), while The Enclave Gannon descended from... well, that should be plenty obvious. However, just because the two are more open to outsiders and cooperation doesn't ensure they'll be around after their factions "die out" - nearly all of their endings are DownerEndings that shatter their Wide-Eyed Idealist hopes (if not get them Killed Off for Real), and even the best are still BittersweetEndings where they are either Walking the Earth alone, or desperately trying to do what little they can to guide their societies steadily, but painfully slowly.
Also, in a similar vein as the post above: think about the cover for a second. The first Fallout game that didn't have a suit of power armor on its cover, but an NCR Ranger. Even though Power Armor as a symbol for old-world technology still is powerful, it gets replaced after 200 years with the symbols of the new world, just like the factions tied strongly to the old world get exchanged with new structures.
Oh, no. The NCR Ranger outfit is still old world tech, it's just being used by a different faction, just like with the Brotherhood's Power Armor. Go play Honest Hearts (focus on the subplot featuring that old survivalist who fled to Zion after the bombs fell) and Lonesome Road. There's plenty of evidence of military-grade armor that is exactly like NCR Ranger equipment.
On the other hand, let's look at the iconic factions the games revolve around. For Fallout, it's the Brotherhood of Steel (descending from US military), Fallout 2 has the Enclave (a remnant of the government) and sort of a cameo by the Brotherhood, Fallout 3 has both, and the other games prior to New Vegas tend to focus on the Brotherhood as well. New Vegas, meanwhile, focuses on the showdown between New California Republic and Caesar's Legion. Both of these factions draw inspiration from the old world, but claim no descent, and look to the future carving their own destinies. It stands to reason that, as the previous games focused on remnants of the old world, New Vegas is the first game in the series to (thematically speaking) let go of it. The NCR Ranger may wear pre-War gear, but instead of a remnant of the past, he represents new order arising amidst the wasteland.
The Vaults play only a minor role in the game, but the game has to start you out with a Vault Jumpsuit anyway for consistency's sake. But why Vault 21? 21=7*3. 777. JACKPOT.
Also, 21 is blackjack.
Actually, Doc Mitchell gives you the Vault 21 jumpsuit and Pip Boy after he patches you up. It's Vault 21 since he came from Vault 21 (You can ask Sarah about it). But the reason that Vault 21 is the one that was placed in Vegas and had a gambling experiment probably is because of those reasons.
Which makes it an out-of-universe joke (by Obsidian) and an in-universe joke (by whoever was responsible for handing out Vault numbers at the Vault-Tec headquarters). Nice.
Some people were disappointed that the House path forced you to destroy the Brotherhood when there was originally dialogue to save them (thus a patch was made to re-enable it). But the decision to remove that choice better fits one of the themes of the game-that all sides of a conflict are grey as opposed to black and white. Think about it - on the other three paths, the Courier eventually has to kill or disable House, thus earning negative Karma. Therefore, a quest was made for the House path that requires you to lose karma to make it so no choice is 100% righteous.
Raul's Equipment, his choice in weapons hints that he had firsthand witnessed the White Line Nightmare.
In Lonesome Road: "You Can Go Home Courier" signs all along the path are placed there NOT as a discouragement.
One quest involving homophobia in the NCR Army (specifically, a Gay Option mechanic warning the Courier that "friends" weren't exactly tolerated) was obviously meant to be a Take That to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies in the real American Army (and thus now Hilarious in Hindsight with it being repealed). However, similar homophobia in what remained of The Brotherhood of Steel gave the explanation that they had very few numbers left, and thus needed as many of it's members as possible to reproduce - since this was After the End, the homophobia in the NCR may have also arisen from a stigma that citizens needed to reproduce, and while they're now far better than the Brotherhood of Steel, that stigma still hangs for a reason beyond the pre-War homophobia.