Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Fallout

Go To

A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:

This is a personal moment for the viewer, but follows the same rules as normal pages, meaning no first person or natter. 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.

Here Be Spoilers: This page is full of them. You have been warned.

Click here to return to the video game Fridge Brilliance page.

The Fallout Universe

  • Fifties:
    • It seems odd that the world of Fallout was stuck in the 50s. But this is a world that runs by 50s science. It's not stuck in the 50s, it practically IS the 50s!
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Saturday, October 23rd, 2077 is the day the bombs fell. A quick look at the calendar will reveal that the developers of the original game really have Shown Their Work in regards to accurate time scale.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • It seems odd that people would be so cheerful about the Old World, but 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 are 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. 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. This even continues in Fallout 4, where the Institute seems to agree with Ulysses, and are attempting to intentionally destroy the few remaining records of the Old World so they can build a new one that won't nuke the world to pieces again. The Sole Survivor, the first player character in the series to come from the Old World, even gets some dialogue options to express what their Pre-War life was like, and they can either wax nostalgic or viciously condemn it as the hell it was.
  • Why can you 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? But 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. This is made explicit in Fallout 4, where there are multiple unique issues of the skill magazines with their own distinct artwork and you have to collect them all to get all the perks.
  • Fans who have played multiple games in the series will notice that weapons change in appearance from game to game. This at first seems to make no sense at all. Why does an Assault Rifle in one game look different than an Assault Rifle in another game? That is until you start to understand the world of Fallout. The US was split into commonwealths, basically adding another level in government. In the lore, it's implied that the different commonwealths tended to compete with each other over interests. It's very likely, in an effort to make themselves different, that each Commonwealth manufactured their own goods. Not only this, but also regulate what goods entered their commonwealth (An explanation as to why Sunset Sasparilla is not in Fallout 3). It's possible that the weapons in each game represent what weapons were allowed for import/made in said Commonwealth during pre-war time.
  • Since the Fallout Universe is stalled in the 50's, their technology lags far behind our own in many areas. Not only in computers, but it could also lag behind in machinery used for petroleum production. Methods such as steam injection or the use of unconventional sources like shale rocks and oil sands might never have been developed, meaning they probably had to rely on the easiest pockets of oil to access. It also doesn't seem like the United States made any significant research into areas of renewable power outside places like Hoover Dam, Acadia, and Helios. Add all this to massive growth in population with an increased need for power and it's no wonder the Fallout-verse experienced such a severe energy crisis. Their need for energy outpaced their ability to provide it.
  • The Bethesda games have a flashlight built into the Pip-Boy which you can turn on or off. This explains where that uncanny halo of light that surrounded the player in the original two Fallout games came from, and why you never needed a light source at night or underground.
    • Even better, why is it a halo of light, and not a focused beam? Because it isn't a flashlight; it's actually the Pip-Boy screen with the brightness turned all the way up.
  • It makes sense that the world is littered with radioactivity, right? It ended up going into a nuclear war after all... Until you realize that the nuclear war happened literally 100 years ago. Radioactivity decreases exponentially with time, and isotopes created in a nuclear explosion are short-lived (which kinda makes sense on its own, since nuclear warheads are generally supposed to use as much energy as possible in the shortest possible time - well, literally to blow something up. Fallout is a byproduct) so, according to the famous Nuclear War Survival Skills book, the fallout from a nuclear warhead decreases by a factor of 10 roughly every 7 hours. So, after 100 years there wouldn't be much radiation to speak of... Unless there was some other popular source of radioactive material... Which, unlike bombs, isn't built in such a way as to release all the stored energy at once, but rather to do it slowly... Like a nuclear power plant... Which was, before the War, the go-to energy source in all of US, to the point where nuclear cars and houses powered by small, underground household reactors were commonplace.
    • Really. While most nuclear test sites are perfectly safe to visit by now, you know one place in the world where radiation can still kill you, even after more than 30 years? Chernobyl.
  • The nuclear bombs used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were firecrackers compared to the nuclear weapons that existed in the real world in the early twenty-first century. You would think that, fueled by jingoism and fervent militarism, and given about 50 years to innovate, the world would have created even more powerful nuclear bombs capable of widespread destruction only dreamed of in our world. Which raises the question of why a city like Salt Lake City, a city of relatively minor strategic importance, was nuked 17 times. But then you remember, the transistor wasn't invented until the 2060s. Modern computers were built off of the transistor, and Fallout's technology developed in a drastically different direction as a result of its absence. The world was stuck in atomic bombs, and could not advance into the more powerful nuclear bombs. So instead of searching for a way to increase the size of the bombs, they went for quantity over quality
  • The difficulty curve from the beginning is notably steeper for Fallout 3 than New Vegas or Fallout 4, which makes plenty of sense. In New Vegas you play a road-hardened courier with a long history of surviving the wastes (and a short history of surviving being shot in the head), and in 4 the player character is assumed to be an army veteran. Who are you in 3? A 19-year old whose entire life has been spent locked up in a secure and tightly run vault whose survival/combat experience totals up to a couple of potential dust ups with Butch and a handful of potshots at radroaches with a BB gun.
  • The reason why all vaults (barring 34, which was deliberately INTENDED to be loaded with military-grade armaments and armor) mostly lack anything resembling adequate equipment is simple: the Vaults were never meant to save anyone. They didn’t care if the Vaults would be able to survive following the conclusion of their Experiment, and they cut costs accordingly.
  • When using V.A.T.S, the percentage of a hit on your target will not go any higher than 95% even at point-blank range. There is always a 5% chance of a missed attack. If one looks up basic statistics, you will realize that RobCo most likely used the 95% confidence interval for the V.A.T.S. A confidence interval is a range of values where you are sure there is an x% chance that the true value lies within it.
  • The morality and reputation system reflects each protagonist's personality and background in their respective Fallout game.
    • Fallout 3 has a simple good and evil karmic system. The Lone Wanderer is a young vault dweller that has a simplistic moral framework with some influence from his/her father's religious teaching.
    • Fallout New Vegas centers much more around reputation and karma become secondary. The Courier has more experience with different people, societies, and environments of the wasteland. For this reason, he/she is much more aware of nuances. The Courier also does not have a specific upbringing in terms of beliefs.
    • Fallout 4 does not have an explicit karma or reputation system. In fact, the main focus is more on companions' reactions and relationships. The Sole Survivor focuses much more on personal relationships and solely his/her son, Moreover, he/she is a Fish out of Temporal Water from Pre-War America, so he/she has no idea how the Commonwealth's societies view one another and therefore has to rely on companions' views to understand everything.
  • In the original Fallout, one of the death messages you can receive states "The darkness of the afterlife is all that awaits you now." In this universe, is the only fate awaiting everyone The Nothing After Death?
    • Unlikely, as I think it could simply be a nod to the whole, "everything is getting dark," scenario where your senses all start to fail you, naturally. That, or it could also be just something that was written to be creepy.
  • Thinking about it... Fallout contains futuristic equivalents to common archetypes in Western Medieval Role Playing Games.
    • Melee weapons = melee weapons
      • Knife, combat knife, switchblade, Bowie knife = dagger
      • Chinese officer sword, katana, machete = longsword
      • Hatchet = waraxe
      • Tire iron, police baton, lead pipe = mace
      • Bumper sword = greatsword
      • Fireaxe = battleaxe
      • Rebar club, sledgehammer, super sledge = warhammer
    • Firearms = bows, crossbows, and arrows
    • Energy weapons = magical spells
    • Unarmed = Dungeons & Dragons-style monk
    • Stimpaks = healing potions
    • Metal armors, power armors = plate armors
    • Brotherhood of Steel, NCR Rangers = The Paladin
    • The Enclave = The Empire, Black Knight
    • New California Republic = the Good Kingdom
    • Raiders = bandits
    • Khans, Great Khans, Caesar's Legion = barbarian tribes
    • Shi = the mandatory Wutai faction
    • Gun Runners, Crimson Caravan = merchant guilds
    • Boomers = Dwarvesnote 
    • Feral ghouls = undead
    • Molerats, giant rats = rats
    • Radscorpions, radroaches, mantis = giant spiders
    • Wild dogs and coyotes = wolves
    • Robots = golems
    • Super mutants = ogres and orcs
    • Nighkins = goblinsnote 
    • Deathclaws = dragonsnote 
    • Uninhabited vaults = dungeons
  • Throughout the series, the Brotherhood of Steel is known to be... quite enthusiastic with regards to confiscating Pre-War technology, no matter how mundane or seemingly harmless. Given the status of consumer goods Pre-War, though... half the things that we take for granted today could kill you. Fission-powered cars explode if they get damaged, robots go berserk on a regular basis, and let's not get started on Nuka-Cola... they're being paranoid about technology because they can't be sure of a piece of Pre-War tech's safety just by looking at it. Unfortunately for everyone else, it's quite apparent in later games that their tech-thieving no longer adheres to any reasonable standard.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, when they're about to enter the rockets in REPCONN test site's basement before taking off to "the Great Beyond", some of the Bright Fellowship's ghouls put on cartoonish spacesuits which look like they're straight from a Fifties' sci-fi comic book, which makes sense considering the Fallout series is basically After the End Zeerust: The Game. But, if you played Fallout 3, the Mothership Zeta DLC includes another spacesuit... which looks exactly like a realistic, real-life one. That's not necessarily an oversight caused by both games being developed by a different team. Those cartoonish spacesuits are found in a place belonging to REPCONN Aerospace, a firm which you also can visit their headquarters in the same game. The headquarters includes a tour guide and a gift shop. The Bright Fellowship's spacesuits probably are repurposed disguises which originally were part of REPCONN's merchandising. The Mothership Zeta's realistic spacesuit? It's found on the corpse of an actual astronaut, who has been kidnapped by aliens while he was doing a space flight.
  • A unique trait of the Fallout series is how it looks on the apocalypse, defining itself more as Post-Post-Apocalyptic than just Post-Apocalyptic. As opposed to most series focusing on the immediate aftermath of the bombing, invasion or whatever caused the end, Fallout puts its focus later on down the line, looking to the time during society's rebuilding, to the point that it is possible for certain areas in America to be brought together in unity. It focuses on the fallout of the apocalypse.