The world of Fallout is a dark one. The day the nuclear bombs fell, humanity and all it had built was scorched to a crisp, almost entirely wiped out. But consider, if you will, that were the bombs to drop at this very moment, 83 million of us would die on the toilet. Around 350,000 of us would die having sex, and even more people would be having sex with themselves.
Were the world to stop right now, we would all be compromised, the secrets of our lives laid bare, our skeletons standing testament to the ways we lived. The creators of Fallout have always understood that. But so much is lost over time, the powers of decay and degradation twisting forms out of shape, making each frozen death captured by the sudden blast unexplainable, devoid of their context.
This is where Fallout gets its signature tone and nowhere else is it displayed better than in the corpse jokes. So, for your perusing pleasure, I present to you seven of my favourite ‘pieces’ across the Fallout series.
Valenti Station – Fallout 4
If you knew you were about to die, how would you spend your last few moments? Would you tell someone how you really felt? Punch your boss in the face? The only correct answer to that question is this: you dress up like a Blues Brother, in your favourite hat and sunglasses (dress your teddy bear up as well, because you have no friends), sit in your favourite subway station, and shower yourself in your life savings before lighting up a cigar.
You’ll find Shades at the Valenti Station, just south of Old North Church, near the park the Radstags usually congregate at. I like to think he didn’t know he was going to die and so this is how he spends a normal day. I salute you, Shades.
The Nucleus – Fallout 4
Life finds a whale
At Fallout 3’s Point Lookout, just out to sea from Coastal Grotto, you’ll find this dino-boy. The skeleton and the rifle make it seem like a Jurassic Park reference, but from the giant skeletons that dot Far Harbour’s coastline and a mention by a caravaneer at Bunker Hill, it’s possible to infer that there are creatures of the deep - Ghoul Whales, which still roam the poisoned seas. Is this one of them?
On the island of Far Harbour, north of The Nucleus, you’ll find these waterlogged lovers. While obviously a reference to Titanic, I prefer to imagine the real-world context of this scenario. Let’s imagine these two were actually Titanic re-enactors. They got a romantic kick out of sneaking down to their local lake and performing the climactic scene from the movie. They were just unlucky that the bombs landed before they returned home to do the usual – recover from hypothermia with a round of love-making..
But it does make me wonder if the Titanic film exists in the Fallout universe. So many aspects of our world are already parodied by the games and we do know there’s a film called Love Sets Sail! starring Vera Keyes and Mike Berlyn. Perhaps that film also has a scene with a giant door and two people who don’t understand surface area…
The Fun House – Fallout 4
In Nuka World (inside The Magical Kingdom) you’ll find The Fun House. It’s a location you pass through when chasing the ghoul magician, Oswald the Outrageous. But if you stop to take a moment, especially in the spinning room with all the doors (and dizzy ghouls), there are some weird and wonderful sights to discover.
Behind one of the doors you’ll find this obviously constructed reference to the shower scene in Psycho. But there are all sorts behind the other doors: toys watching TV, gnomes playing poker, a shrinking corridor with a tiny mannequin – plenty to satisfy a craving for weirdness.
Citadel Ruins – Fallout 3
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate this masterpiece…. I’m not going to lie – this is my favourite. I know, I shouldn’t say that, I’ll make the other skellies jealous, but how can you not love this?
This is Harold Callahan, security officer at the Pentagon. In his day job, he had to deal with a variety of weird incidents; crazy generals shooting vending machines, employees getting it on in the stairwell, secretaries accusing each other of being commie spies. I guess if your day job is that stressful you’ve got to find some way to relax. Either that, or weird incidents simply haunted Harold, right up until the moment a nuclear blast blew a fan into his crotch. RIP Harold.
If you want to find Harold, blow up the Citadel in Broken Steel, and in the ruins you’ll find a door. In Harold’s safe you can find his trusty magnum.
Presidential Utility Tunnel – Fallout 3
It doesn’t take a genius to piece together what happened here. But the real question is /how/ did this happen? Below the White House is the Presidential sub level, a metro leading to the John Adam’s air-force base (as we learn in Broken Steel). When you enter the utility area to access the sub level you’re faced with this. How does someone get a bike and car into a sewer, going to that level of thought in creating the stunt, but then not factor in the light?
My speculation is that this is actually the Last President (or at least a senior member of his administration). Firstly to even get a car into the sewer beneath the White House, you’d need authorisation. Secondly, it’s highly likely he knew nuclear war was coming (everyone did) and thirdly, we know the Last President was a bit of a ‘do-what-you-want’ kind of guy, exhibited by him sleeping with several of his campaign staffers. When the bombs dropped, I think he just said ‘Screw it’ and went downstairs to ride his bike. The rest is definitely not canon.
Villa Police Station – Fallout: New Vegas
This one isn’t funny but it does demonstrate the other side of the corpse posing in Fallout. The kind of scene that punches you in the gut: the bus full of school kids in Honest Hearts; the burnt out trailer with the child skeleton in New Vegas, or this, in Dead Money.
The wackiness of the Fallout games is juxtaposed by the darkness of post-apocalyptic America. You can see it here, as a skeletal hand stretches out from behind bars, the bottles of water that may have given the prisoner more life just out of reach.
Goodsprings – Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is the strangest Fallout game. Something about the glitz and glamour of Sin City turns all the factions into weirdos (maybe it’s the heat?). But hell, if that’s not enough for you, there’s a character perk that adds more oddities to the game.
If you have the Wild Wasteland perk and take a little wander south of Goodsprings, you’ll find Dr. Jones. If you didn’t catch this back in 2010, it’s a reference to the fourth Indiana Jones film, in which he survives a nuclear test blast by climbing into a fridge. The smashed fridge and the skeleton inside are blanching under the desert sun. It’s one of the most accurate and original film references the series has ever made. For that reason, Indy in the fridge will forever hold a place in my heart.
Remember, if you spot a mushroom cloud outside that window, screw saying goodbye to your loved ones. Tell your spouse to get in the bathtub with a toaster, get your kids to pose mannequins so it looks they murdered everyone, and tell grandad to get in the fridge. Then run to your wardrobe and put on the most random outfit you can muster, hurry into the kitchen, and grab the first implement you can find. Then, if you have time, strike a pose! The scavvers who visit in 200 years time will never forget your house.