Fallout (video game): Wikis


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Fallout box art

Original box art
Developer(s) Black Isle Studios[1]
Publisher(s) Interplay
Designer(s) Tim Cain
Leonard Boyarsky
Christopher Taylor
Series Fallout
Engine Fallout engine
Version 1.1 (21 November 1997)
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X
Release date(s) DOS/Windows
NA 30 September 1997
EU 1997
Mac OS
NA 1997
Mac OS X
NA 2002
NA 24 July 2008
Genre(s) Post-apocalyptic CRPG
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: M (Mature)
USK: 16+
ELSPA: 15+
OFLC (NZ): R16
OFLC (Au): M15+
Media 1 CD-ROM, digital download
System requirements
10+ MB free space, mouse[2]
Pentium 90 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, SoundBlaster-compatible sound card.
Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, DirectX 3.0a or 5.0, 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, DirectSound-compatible sound card.
PowerMac, 16 MB RAM, CD-ROM, System 7.1.2.

Fallout is a computer role-playing game produced by Tim Cain, developed by Black Isle Studios (though before the studio was named "Black Isle") and published by Interplay in 1997. The game has a post-apocalyptic setting in the mid-22nd century, though its story and artwork are heavily influenced by the post-World War II nuclear paranoia of the 1950s.

The game is sometimes considered to be an unofficial sequel to Wasteland,[3] but it could not use that title as Electronic Arts held the rights to it; and, except for minor references, the games are set in separate universes. It was also intended to use Steve Jackson Games' GURPS system, but that deal fell through due to the excessive amounts of violence and gore included in the game,[4] forcing Black Isle to change the already implemented GURPS system to the internally developed SPECIAL system.

Critically acclaimed, the game inspired a number of sequels and spin-off games, known collectively as the Fallout series.


Gameplay in Fallout consists of traveling around the game world, visiting locations and interacting with the local inhabitants, and is typically in real-time. Occasionally, inhabitants will be immersed in dilemmas which the player may choose to solve in order to acquire karma and experience points. Alternately, the player may choose to ignore requests for help, in which case he or she has the option of acting on behalf of an opposing faction, or purely in self-interest. Experience points may still be rewarded if the player acts for an opposing interest or in self-interest. Ultimately, players will encounter hostile opponents (if such encounters are not avoided using stealth or diplomacy), in which case they and the player will engage in combat.



Combat in Fallout is turn-based. The game uses an action point system wherein, each turn, multiple actions may be performed until all points in the pool have been expended. Different actions consume different numbers of points, and the maximum number of points that can be spent may be affected by such things as drugs or perks. 'Melee' (hand to hand) weapons typically offer multiple attack types, such as 'Swing' and 'Thrust' for knives. Unarmed attacks offer many attack types, including 'Punch' and 'Kick'. Players may equip at most two weapons, and the player can switch between them by clicking on their respective icons. The Perception attribute determines characters' 'Sequence' number, which then determines the order of turns in combat; characters with a higher statistic in this attribute will be placed at an earlier position in the sequence of turns, and subsequently get new turns earlier. Perception also determines the maximum range of ranged weapons, and the chance to hit with them.

Character development

Character development is divided into four categories: attributes, skills, traits and perks.

The maximum level, without patching the game, that the player character can achieve is 21.[5]

Basic attributes

The protagonist is governed by the SPECIAL (an acronym for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck) system designed specifically for Fallout, and used in the other games in the series. Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game.[6] The SPECIAL stats continually add bonuses to skills. This is done 'on the fly', i.e. if the SPECIAL stats change, the bonuses are automatically and instantly adjusted. Some 'perks' and coded events within the game require a certain level of particular SPECIAL stats.


There are eighteen different skills in the game, ranging in value from 0 to 100 percent. The starting values for Level 1 skills are determined by the player's seven basic attributes, and initially fall within the range of 0 to 50 percent. Every time the player gains a level, skill points are awarded that can be used to improve the character's skills (five points, plus twice his Intelligence attribute). The player may choose to tag three of the eighteen skills. A tagged skill will improve at twice the normal rate and receives a bonus at the start.

Skills are divided into three categories:

  • Combat skills: Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Unarmed, Melee Weapons, Throwing.
  • Active skills: First Aid, Doctor, Sneak, Lockpick, Steal, Traps, Science, Repair.
  • Passive skills: Speech, Barter, Gambling, Outdoorsman.

Books, although scarce in the early game, can be found throughout the game world, and permanently improve a specific skill when read. However, after a skill reaches a certain level, books no longer have an impact. Some NPCs can also improve skills via training.

Some skills are also improved by having certain items equipped. For instance, a lockpick improves lock-picking skills. Stimulants can also temporarily boost a player's skills, however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction or withdrawal.

Traits and perks

Traits are special character qualities which can have significant effects on gameplay. At character creation, the player may choose up to two traits. Traits typically carry benefits coupled with detrimental effects.[6] For example, the trait "small frame" improves agility by one point, but negatively affects maximum carrying capacity. Once a trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "Mutate" perk which allows a player to change one trait, one time.

Perks are a special element of the level up system. Every three levels (or every four if the player chooses the "Skilled" trait), the player is granted a perk of his or her choosing. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable via the normal level up system. These include letting the player perform more actions per round, or being able to heal wounds faster. Unlike traits, perks are purely beneficial; they are offset only by the infrequency with which they are acquired.

Karma and reputations

The game also tracks the moral quality of the player character's actions using a statistic called Karma, as well as a series of reputations. Karma points are awarded for doing good deeds, and are subtracted for doing evil deeds. The effect of this statistic during the course of the game is, unfortunately, minimal; however, the player character may receive one of a number of "reputations", that act like perks, for meeting a certain threshold of such actions, or for engaging in an action that is seen as singularly and morally reprehensible. The three reputations a player may receive in Fallout are:

  • Champion - this reputation is received for standing on the side of justice and thwarting evil-doers. The Champion reputation makes it easier to deal with good-natured people, and generally affects non-player characters positively.
  • Berserker - the opposite of Champion received for killing a large number of innocent people. This reputation makes it easier to deal with the darker elements in the Fallout game world.
  • Childkiller - received for killing two or more children. If this occurs, a band of bounty hunters will set out to kill the player character.


The protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of one of the government-contracted fallout shelters known as Vaults. In subsequent Fallout games, he is referred to as the Vault Dweller.

Fallout is set several decades after a worldwide conflict brought on by global petroleum shortage. Several nations begin warring with one another for the last stores of fossil fuels, namely oil and uranium. Known as the Resource Wars, fighting begins in April of 2052 and continues until October 23, 2077. China invades Alaska in the winter of 2066, causing the United States to go to war with China and using Canadian resources to supply their war efforts, despite Canadian complaints. Eventually the US annexes Canada in February of 2076 and reclaims Alaska eleven months later. After years of conflict, on October 23, 2077, a global nuclear attack occurs. Nobody knows who strikes first, but in less than two hours most major cities are destroyed. The effects of the attack will not fade for the next 100 years. As a consequence, humanity lives in underground Vaults though some people affected by the radiation live topside.

The game takes place in 2161 in Southern California and begins in Vault 13, the protagonist's home. Vault 13's Water Chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery, breaks. The Vault Overseer tasks the protagonist with finding a replacement.[6] He is given a portable device called the "PIPBoy 2000" that keeps track of mapmaking, quest objectives, and bookkeeping. Armed with the PIPBoy 2000 and meager equipment, including a small sum of bottle caps which are used as currency in the post-apocalyptic world, the main character is sent off on his quest.

The Master.

The player initially has 150 game days before the Vault's water supply runs out. This time limit can be extended by 100 game days if he commissions merchants in the Hub to send water caravans to Vault 13. Upon returning the chip, the Vault Dweller is then tasked with destroying a mutant army that threatens humanity. A mutant known as "The Master" (previously known as Richard Grey) spreads a pre-war, genetically engineered virus called the "Forced Evolutionary Virus" to convert humanity into a race of "Super Mutants" and bring them together in the "Unity" — his plan for a perfect world. The player must kill him and destroy the military base housing the supply of FEV, thus halting the invasion before it can start.

If the player does not complete both objectives within 500 game days, the mutant army will discover Vault 13 and invade it, bringing an end to the game. This time limit is shortened to 400 days if the player divulged Vault 13's location to the water merchants. A cinematic cut-scene of mutants overrunning the vault is shown if the player fails to stop the mutant army within this time frame, indicating the player has lost the game. If the player agrees to join the mutant army, the same cinematic is shown.

In version 1.1 of the game, the time limit for the mutant attack on Vault 13 is delayed from 500 days (or 400 depending) to thirteen years of in-game time, effectively giving the player enough time to do as he or she wishes.

The player can defeat the Master and destroy the Super Mutants' Military Base in either order. When both threats are eliminated, a cut-scene ensues in which the player automatically returns to Vault 13. There he is told that he has changed too much and his return would negatively influence the citizens of the Vault. Thus he is rewarded with exile into the desert, for, in the Overseer's eyes, the good of the vault. There is an alternate ending in which the Vault Dweller draws a handgun and shoots the Overseer after he is told to go into exile. This ending is inevitable if the player has the "Bloody Mess" trait or has accrued significant negative karma throughout the game. It can be triggered if the player initiates combat in the brief time after the Overseer finishes his conversation but before the ending cut-scene.


A number of well-known actors were cast as voice-talents for this game. The game's narrations were performed by Ron Perlman. The game's prologue featured one of the foremost iconic catch phrases of the game series -- "War. War never changes". He was re-invited to, and narrated, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, and Fallout 3. Other appearances included Richard Dean Anderson as Killian, David Warner as Morpheus, Tony Shalhoub (credited as Tony Shalub) as Aradesh, Brad Garrett as Harry, Keith David as Decker, Richard Moll as Cabot, and Tony Jay as The Mutant Lieutenant.

Black Isle intended to use "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots for the theme song, but couldn't license the song because of a copyright issue.[7] This song was later licensed by Bethesda for Fallout 3. The song "Maybe" by the same artists was used instead for the original Fallout theme song.

At one point in Fallout's development, in Junktown, if the player aided local sheriff Killian Darkwater in killing the criminal Gizmo, Killian would take his pursuit of the law much too far, to the point of tyranny, and force Junktown to stagnate. However, if the player killed Killian for Gizmo, then Gizmo would help Junktown prosper for his own benefit. The game's publisher did not like this bit of moral ambiguity and had the outcomes changed to an alternate state, where aiding Killian results in a more palatable ending.[7]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 91.92%[8]
Metacritic 89/100[9]
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 4.5/5 stars[10]
GamePro 4.5/5 stars[8]
Game Revolution A- (Mac)[11]
GameSpot 8.7/10[12]
PC Zone 91/100 (UK)[8]
Computer Gaming World 4.5/5 stars[8]
Entity Award
IGN #19 "Top 25 PC Games of All Time" (2009)[13]
IGN #5 "Top 25 PC Games of All Time" (2007)[14]
IGN #33 "Top 100 Games of All Time" (2007)[15]
IGN #55 "Top 100 Games of All Time" (2005)[16]
PC Gamer #4 "Top Games of All Time" (2001)[citation needed]
GameSpot "RPG of the Year" (????)[citation needed]
GameSpot "Greatest Games of All Time" (????)[17]

Fallout was named #4 on the list of top games of all time produced by PC Gamer in 2001. It was named #5 on the IGN list of the top 25 PC games of all time in 2007,[14] and #19 in 2009.[13] It also was awarded "RPG of the Year" by GameSpot, and has since been inducted into their "Greatest Games of All Time" list.[17] Fallout was named #55 on IGN's 2005 top 100 games of all time,[16] and #33 in 2007.[15] It is notable that all review scores for Fallout are consistently high and none are lower than an eight (out of a maximum of ten), with the only criticism involving its graphics. One notable criticism, however, has passed through the fan base, and that is that while the character creation allows for an extreme amount of variance, some of the skills and optional attributes are useless. Also, the early game can be very difficult for non-combat-oriented characters.

Fallout was ranked sixth on Game Informer’s 2008 list of The Top 10 Video Game Openings.[18]

Influences and references

Fallout draws much from 1950s pulp magazines, science fiction and superhero comic books. For example, computers use vacuum tubes instead of transistors; energy weapons exist and resemble those used by Flash Gordon; the Vault Dweller's main style of dress is a blue jumpsuit with a yellow line going down the center of the chest and along the belt area. Fallout's menu interfaces are designed to resemble advertisements and toys of the same period; for example, the illustrations on the character sheet mimic those of the board game Monopoly, and one of the game's loading screens is an Indian Head test card. The lack of this retro stylization was one of the things for which the Fallout spin-offs were criticized, as retro-futurism is a hallmark of the Fallout series.[citation needed]

Fallout contains numerous Easter eggs referencing 1950s and 1960s pop-culture. Many of these can be found in random encounters, which include a vanishing TARDIS from Doctor Who (complete with sound effect), an enormous reptilian footprint, and a crashed UFO containing a picture of Elvis. Another reference comes in the form of a quotation: in the Old Town district of The Hub, an insane man named Uncle Slappy wanders in perpetual circles calling out non-sequiters, one of which is "Let's play Global Thermo-Nuclear War!", a reference to a similar line in the 1983 film WarGames. The game also refers to other pieces of fiction, including Robin Hood.

There are also many references to post-apocalyptic science fiction, such as Mad Max or the infamous post-apocalyptic musical and detective movie Radioactive Dreams. One of the first available armors is a one-sleeved leather jacket that resembles the jacket worn by Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. A player wearing this jacket can get a dog, named Dogmeat after Mad Max’s dog, to join the party in Junktown.

Although the time frame of Wasteland is completely different from Fallout—and despite the fact that the game's designers deny that Fallout or Fallout 2 take place in the same universe as Wasteland—there are many references to the events and the style of Wasteland in the Fallout series, which is why Fallout is sometimes regarded as the spiritual successor to Wasteland. For example, the protagonist can meet an NPC named Tycho, who mentions that he is a Desert Ranger and, under the right conditions, will talk of his grandfather, who told him about Fat Freddy, a character from Las Vegas in that game.

See also


  1. ^ Cheong, Ian. "Game Info". Lionheart Chronicles. GameSpy. http://www.rpgplanet.com/lionheart/info-faq.shtml. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  2. ^ "Fallout Frequently Asked Questions". Anonymous. 1998-05-19. http://www.nma-fallout.com/fallout1/official_site/faq.shtml. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  3. ^ Barton, Matt (2007-02-23). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20070223b/barton_02.shtml. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  4. ^ "IGN Presents the History of Fallout". IGN. 2009-01-28. p. 3. http://uk.retro.ign.com/articles/948/948937p3.html. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  5. ^ Jorner, Per (2008). "The Nearly Ultimate Fallout 2 Guide". http://user.tninet.se/~jyg699a/fallout2.html#areas. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  6. ^ a b c Rollings, Andrew; Adams, Ernest (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders. pp. 108, 357–360. ISBN 1592730019. 
  7. ^ a b Avellone, Chris (2002-11-06). "Fallout Bible #9". Black Isle Studios. http://www.duckandcover.cx/content.php?id=71. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Fallout for PC". GameRankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/197289-fallout/index.html. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  9. ^ "Fallout (pc) reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/fallout/. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  10. ^ Suciu, Peter. "Fallout - Review". allgame. http://www.allgame.com/game.php?id=6460&tab=review. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  11. ^ Cooke, Mark (June 5, 2004). "Fallout review for the MAC". Game Revolution. http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/mac/fallout. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  12. ^ "Fallout Review". GameSpot. November 21, 1997. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/fallout/review.html. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  13. ^ a b Ocampo, Jason; Butts, Steve; Haynes, Jeff (August 6, 2009). "Top 25 PC Games of All Time". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/101/1011624p1.html. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  14. ^ a b Adams, Dan; Butts, Steve; Onyett, Charles (2007-03-16). "Top 25 PC Games of All Time". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/772/772285p1.html. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  15. ^ a b IGN Top 100 Games 2007 |33 Fallout
  16. ^ a b IGN's Top 100 Games
  17. ^ a b Kasavin, Greg. "The Greatest Games of all Time". http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/all/greatestgames/p-14.html. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  18. ^ "The Top Ten Video Game Openings," Game Informer 187 (November 2008): 38.

External links

Simple English

Fallout is a role-playing game for the computer. This computer game was made by Interplay Entertainment. It was completed in 1997. It takes place 84 years after nuclear bombs have turned the Earth into a desert, and destroyed all the governments.



The player controls the character by using the mouse to make the character go places. When the character gets there, the player can make the character do other things. Some things the character can do are fighting, stealing, and talking. When the player is done playing in one town or place, he or she can use a map to get to a new place.

Because life is hard in the game, there are people who need help in every town. The player can choose to help the good guys or the bad guys (or both). Helping the good guys gives "karma points." Helping the bad guys costs karma points. A very evil character will have negative karma. No matter who the player helps, the character gets "experience points," which help the character get better at doing things.

The world is full of danger. There are people who will try to kill the character and take his stuff, and there are dangerous mutant animals that will try to eat the character. When this happens, the player must fight.


Combat in Fallout is like chess, because every character gets a turn. If the player attacks a character, then that character cannot act until the player is done with that attack. Then the character gets a turn to attack the player. This goes on, back and forth, until one of them dies or runs away. Some characters can do more actions per turn, depending on how long it takes to do the action, and how much agility the character has. More agile characters can do more actions per turn.

The player and other characters in Fallout can attack with their fists, with hand-held weapons like sledgehammers, with thrown weapons like grenades and with guns. Guns can be as small as pistols, or as large as gatling guns. There are even energy weapons, such as lasers.


In 2077, nuclear war erupted between the United States and China. Most of the people on Earth died, and the world became a desert. Fortunately, the United States government had already built underground fallout shelters called "Vaults," where some of the people went to survive. The player character was born in Vault 13, in what had been California. The people living in the vault were too scared to ever come out of the Vault, so they stayed inside it for 84 years.

Then, the computer chip that makes their water safe to drink breaks down. The Vault does not have any extra "Water Chips," so they send the player character into the desert to find a new one. He or she has 150 days to do, or else the people in the Vault will die.

Although the search for a new Water Chip is what starts the game, the player can do many other things while he or she is looking for the Chip, and even afterward.


One interesting thing about Fallout is its "retrofuturistic" style. Retrofuturism means that, although the game is set in the future ("-futurism"), it looks like the past ("retro-"). Another way of explaining retrofuturism would be to say that the game shows the kind of future that people in the past would have imagined.

Specifically, Fallout is the future as 1955 America might have seen it. This can be seen in the themes of the game -- fear of nuclear war and a need for fallout shelters for safety -- and in the artistic style, or "looks" of the game. For example, all computers in Fallout contain either vacuum tubes or magnetic tape reels. Of course no one at Interplay in 1997 thought that there would be vacuum tubes in the future, but they put them in the game for the sake of retrofuturism.


Many famous actors voiced some of the characters in Fallout. These include Richard Dean Anderson from MacGyver, David Warner from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Tony Shalhoub from Monk, Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond, Keith David from There's Something About Mary, Richard Moll from Night Court, and Tony Jay from ReBoot. Also, Ron Perlman from Hellboy was the narrator in the opening credits.

A lot of the people who worked on the game later joined Black Isle Studios, a smaller company inside Interplay that just made role-playing games. One of the games Black Isle Studios made was Fallout 2. After Interplay shut Black Isle Studios down, many of those game-makers went on to start Obsidian Entertainment, the game company that made Fallout: New Vegas in 2010.


Fallout was very popular when it came out, and continues to be remembered as a great game. It was ranked #4 on PC Gamer's list of top games of all time in 2001. It was named #5 on the IGN list of the top 25 PC games of all time in 2007, and #19 in 2009. The year it came out it was awarded "RPG of the Year" by GameSpot, and is now on their "Greatest Games of All Time" list. Fallout was ranked #55 on IGN's 2005 top 100 games of all time, and #33 in 2007.

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