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1001 Video Games

Fallout appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The artificial "intelligence" makes the characters do some pretty amazing (amazingly stupid, anyway) things. Twice I have had _all_ friendly NPCs in combat repeatedly picking up a lit flare I'd dropped and throwing it at the enemy. An AI routine that makes people with firearms try to whack their opponents with flares deserves mention, in my opinion.

Alternative credits

Hold down shift key and click on the Credits button to see some alternative credits.


Fallout shipped with a number of blatantly obvious bugs that almost inevitably seriously screwed up the game. One of the most amusing bugs caused Ian (one of the NPCs that can join your party) to suffer from "Agent Smith Syndrome", multiplying rapidly until there were 100s of him running around the game world killing everybody.

Besides screwing up the game world, this would also cause your game to slow to a crawl because whenever combat started, you'd have to wait for every single Ian to take their turn before control is returned to you.

Concept Art

As of 2002 people who worked on the Fallout games are employed by Black Isle or Troika Games, and have released a number of pre-production drawings and sketches. Thanks to "" website, you can see them in one place. Sketches - posters - un-used GURPS Vaultboy art

Fallout Bible

The best source of Fallout design and production memoirs, world history, and rare interviews would be "Fallout Bible", found on both official Black Isle website, and on "Duck and Cover" fan-site.


Original release includes a "Goodies" folder that includes a Windows screensaver as well as the prototype version of the game developed in 1994, which consists of a knight walking around an isometric landscape and which would eventually evolve into the Fallout engine (requires dos4gw to run).

GOG release

In December 2013, Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics were given away for free on the download distribution platform GOG. This was the last month Interplay had the distribution rights for the games before they went to Bethesda. The games were pulled from GOG on January 01, 2014. They were readded to the catalogue with Bethesda as publisher on August 26, 2015.


The Fallout manual says the thickness of Vault's blast door is '4 yards of steel'. 1 yard is almost 1 meter, which means the door's thickness is more than twice your height. That's 12 feet! In comparison, NORAD's 25 ton door is mere 3.5 feet thick.

Low intelligence

If you create your own character, you need to have an intelligence of at least 4. Any lower than that, and you will find it very hard to complete the game because you can't converse with anyone -- your only dialogue options are various grunts or other gutteral noises. I'd recommend trying it once, as it's rather amusing.

An interesting aside is that the dialogue with the cook in Shady Sands doesn't seem to be affected... a character with the lowest possible intelligence can still proclaim, "That smells great! I bet it tastes terrific!" Must be some good food, indeed.


The song that plays during the introduction and closing credits is Maybe by the Ink Spots, a black vocal quartet from the 1930s-1940s. As of 2001 most of their work has been re-released and can be bought for $10 - $12 per CD.


Fallout's manual comes with a "survival recipes" appendix, which has actual recipes!


  • The game includes all sorts of odd references - you may stumble onto a UFO which has a sign reading, 'Property of Area 51. Please return if found' and an alien corpse with a ray gun and a picture of Elvis.
  • There is a way cool reference to the 1960's era blue UK Police Box that gives you a motion scanner. Doctor Who fans will pick up on that one.
  • The TV which appears in the Introduction Movie is a Radiation King. In The Simpsons, Homer once said that he spent hours as a child watching tv in the old Radiation King.
  • Set your Windows to use large icons and have a look at the Fallout icon or shortcut. This is probably a face of one of game's creators.
  • If you search the log files in the computer in the upper level of the Military Base, you will see that two of the names in the actually are developers of the game: Boyarsky and Anderson. Try to download those log files and you will get an "unexpected end of line" error message.
  • At one point you'll have the opportunity to chat with a member of the Brotherhood of Steel who says the line "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. I'm all out of gum". This is a play on the memorable "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." from the movie They Live which is also referenced in Duke Nukem 3D.
  • There are references to Mad Max in the game. Dogmeat is the first reference, as Max has a dog in Mad Max 2. In addition, when the description of the previous owner of Dogmeat is given, it describes a person with a shotgun and wearing a leather jacket. This is basically what Max wears in Mad Max 2. The shotgun is his weapon in the movie as well. The other reference is in the ending cinematic. The player has a single barrel shotgun on his hip, same as Max, the player wears what appears a shoulder section of the football pads on his left shoulder, so does Max. There is a bit a limp in player's walk, Max limps because of his injured knee. Finally player is heading in to the wasteland just like Max did at the end of his movies.

References to Wasteland

There are several references to the original Wasteland in the game:
  • Far Go Traders: Brian Fargo was one of the lead developers of the original Wasteland game.
  • Tycho: Talk to him a bit, and you find out that he's been through "Ranger Training". In Wasteland, the Desert Rangers were the "heroes" of the game.
  • The Red Ryder BB gun: Red Ryder showed up in the small town of Highpool in Wasteland (eerily similar to Shady Sands in Fallout). In Fallout, the Red Ryder LE BB Gun is one of the more powerful non-energy weapons you can find, if you're lucky.
  • Dugan, the Blades' Nuka-Cola addict, is probably named after Bill Dugan, who was part of the Wasteland team

RPG System

During early stages of development, Fallout was designed using G.U.R.P.S. roleplaying system. However, when Steve Jackson Games (owners of G.U.R.P.S. license) pressured the development team to cut down on violence, a decision was made to switch to S.P.E.C.I.A.L., home-brewn rules-light GURPS clone, and abandon G.U.R.P.S. altogether.


During your travels from city to city, you may come across a GIANT footprint in the ground with a bloody mess in the middle of it. Search the mess and you will find a Stealth Boy.

I guess the Stealth Boy works really well, since the thing that stepped on the guy carrying the (active) Stealth Boy never saw him. :-)

Text to speech

The Macintosh version of the game supported a system extension called "Text-to-Speech" which enabled text on screen to be read out by a computer generated voice. The game's PipBoy could be used with the extension which "spoke" all replies this PDA like device gave the user. For example, when the player used the alarm clock to rest the PipBoy would speak a long-stretched wake-up call: "waaake uuup!".

The option for "PipBoy speech" could be toggled in the options menu.

Time limit

The original release of the game had a 500 days time limit in which to complete the game (400 if you hired the water merchants). This was because the mutant army was constantly looking for your vault, which they eventually find and invade once the limit expires. The limit was removed on the subsequent patches, but you can still see the cutscene that played when the limit expired if you select to willingly join the army and reveal the vault's location to the master.

Although you no longer get an automatic "game over" after 500 days after installing the patches, taking too long to finish the game still has consequences. The mutant army is still on the march, and even if they no longer can seize your vault, they will still gradually conquer the various towns as time progresses. This has no in-game effect (the mutants don't actually show up in the towns), but during the game's ending you'll get a bad "we got smooshed" ending for places like the Necropolis, Hub, or Followers if you took too long to stop the mutants.


In the game's options, you can adjust the game's violence level:

  • US Release - 4 violence levels available - no cuts
  • UK Release - 3 violence levels available - the most brutal setting is blocked
  • German Release - 2 violence levels available - the two most brutal settings are missing...
In both the UK and German release all children are missing.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1998 (Issue #164) – Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • June 2000 (Issue #191) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #51 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #18 in the "Readers' All-Time Top 50 Games" Poll
    • October 2001 - #4 in the "Top 50 Games of All Time" list (together with Fallout 2)
    • April 2005 - #10 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1998 – Best RPG in 1997
Information also provided by Adam Baratz, Ajan, Alan Chan, Alexander Schaefer, ApTyp, Entorphane, Fire Convoy, glidefan, Heikki Sairanen, Kabushi, Late, MirrorshadesUK, n-n, PCGamer77, Trixter, Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe, ZombieDepot, Zovni and Evolyzer

Contributed by Droog (522) on Aug 17, 1999. [revised by : 4 other people]. -- edit trivia