Following the release of Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, we celebrated by hosting a Fallout themed party for James’ birthday. Our trip to Vegas last May prompted us to re-enact the festivities for James’ birthday this year. We decided, however, to broaden the scope of the party to include Fallout 3, inspired by the Vault 101 birthday party held at the start of the game.
History of the Fallout Universe
The twenty third century in the Fallout universe is set in an alternate reality that diverged from our own in the mid 1940s, prior to the start of the Cold War and the subsequent Space Race between the US and the USSR.
A global energy crisis in the twenty first century saw the Fallout superpowers scrambling for control of the planet’s dwindling fossil fuels, and with the collapse of the United Nations, these superpowers resorted to a devastating and futile nuclear exchange that caused the world to nose dive into a nuclear wasteland within but a couple of hours.
Players of the game will be familiar with its kitsch representation of American culture, which was heavily influenced by the science fiction anthologies of the early 1950s, featuring authors such as Arthur C Clark, Phillip K Dick and Isaac Asimov. The game’s soundtrack features Rat Pack crooning (you can purchase Fallout soundtracks from iTunes, and we used “Songs from the Mojave Wasteland“), the Nuka Cola bottles represent Coke’s classic style, and the Brotherhood of Steel’s armour bears striking resemblance to the Forbidden Planet’s, Robby.
Without the Space Race to propel the advancement of science and technology, the Great War of 2077 saw the world stuck in a mid-century time-warp, not too dissimilar to the stylised deco of the Bioshock franchise.
Here is the “101” for re-creating your own Fallout-themed birthday party, along with some miscellaneous trivia about the items used for the party.
PART 1: Consumables
1. Nuka Cola
Nuka Cola was a favourite beverage both pre and post the Great War. Despite production having ceased for almost two hundred years, Nuka Cola is well preserved, although it is commonly warm, irradiated and flat. Ice cold Nuka Cola is a rate wasteland commodity which is only available where the area has working refrigeration units. However, they are still irradiated and flat! Labels printed from Instructables.com.
2. Nuka quantum
This light was purchased from Skinny-man, eBay.
The term moonshine originates from the Prohibition era of the early twentieth century, and usually refers to particularly strong, and often illegal, liquor. In the game, moonshine is said to boost charisma, raise strength, but lower intelligence. Here, James and Matthew sample some Scotch Whisky, following our recent trip to Edinburgh. The winners of the taste challenge were two Islay single malts, Ardbeg and Laphroaig.
4. Sugar Bombs
Sugar bombs is a pre-war cereal, the contents of which were designed to look like the “Fat Boy” atomic warheads used by the Americans against Japan to end WWII at Nagasaki in 1945. The phrase “sugar bomb” is also a pop culture reference to sweet food products with little or no nutritional value. Other food stuffs given this accolade also include Twinkies and other similar Hostess products. Another popular culture reference to these items is seen in the recent Pixar animation, Wall-e. Printable available from Instructables.com.
This powdered potato product is said to have real dug in flavour. Instant food products became popular in the first half of the twentieth century, where developments in food technology meant that food could be kept for much longer periods of time. Printable from Instructables.com.
PART 2: Locations
1. Vault 101
Vault 101 is located in Washington DC and was part of the vault experiments that were set up by the US government prior to the Great War. No one was ever to enter or leave Vault 101. However, Fallout 3 starts here, and the Vault dweller manages to escape the vault in search of his/ her father in the East Coast wasteland. Neon yellow glow sticks represent the residual nuclear waste from the Great War. Fallout shelters were widespread in the Las Vegas area during the 1940s and 1950s as the US undertook extensive testing of nuclear weapons there, and these are available to purchase at the Zombie Apocalypse Store at Spring Mountain Road, LV (www.zombieapocalypsestore.com).
“Players win and winners play, but the Strip’s casinos generally don’t tolerate openly worn weapons or gamblers who are too lucky at the tables.” Las Vegas was largely spared from the missile strikes that destroyed other American cities, and the Strip features prominently in Fallout: New Vegas.
3. Wasteland Radroaches
The radroach is a common bug in the Mojave wasteland, and is said to be a type of American cockroach. Their inclusion in the game is said to be a reference to the hypotheses that a cockroach would be able to survive a nuclear explosion as they are naturally five times more resistant to radiation than humans. Here are some New Guinea stick insects (or walking sticks, to US readers!) who were holidaying with us during the Christmas break.
PART 3: Items
1. Party Hat
Fallout 3’s first quest, Growing Up Fast, has an early scene were the Vault dwellers have a party to celebrate your tenth birthday, and this hat features at the party. Balloons also feature, and we took inspiration from Vault Boy’s blue and yellow jumpsuit our colour scheme. The player acquires his Pip Boy 3000 during this quest.
2. Big Boss Cigarettes
These cigarettes were produced pre the Great War, and are therefore rare in the game. Here we used candy cigarettes with images found online and presented them in vintage mini pie dishes accompanied by vintage Vegas Casino match books.
3. Bottle caps
Bottle caps are a standard form of currency in the Fallout universe, their relative rarity retaining their value. In Fallout: New Vegas, Nuka Cola caps are not as valuable as Sarsaparilla versions. Bottle caps can be purchased from numerous stores on eBay and Etsy.
We made Dib Dabs here with recipe taken from Angel Adoree’s latest book, “Vintage Sweets”.
Dynamite is a thrown explosive weapon consisting of an absorbent material soaked in nitroglycerin. Here we accentuate the ferocity of the dynamite candle with a mini sparkler. Home-made traditional-style Whoopie Pies stood in for a birthday cake (Whoopie Pie & Seven Minute Frosting Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart, “American Food”).
The Vault Boy bobble-head was made available in the collectors edition of Fallout 3 (PS3), along with a vintage tin lunch box. A set of cardboard coasters was included in the Fallout: New Vegas edition.PART 4: Characters
1. Vault Boy
The iconic Vault Boy was inspired by the Monopoly guy, and takes the player through the Fallout quests. The is often mistakenly referred to as “Pip Boy”, but this is actually the name of the stat device worn on the players wrist. Vault Boy cubes can be downloaded at http://www.cubeecraft.com.
The New California Republic is a major faction in Fallout: New Vegas. This democratic federation fights for control of the Mojave wasteland against the tyrannical Caesars Legion (NB: see previous blog, “Nelson: Fallout’s most notorious ghost town for more information), and has modified the version of the Californian state flag that we are familiar with today by adding a second head to the bear.
With the release of the hotly awaited next generation consoles, and with Fallout 4 rumoured to be based in Boston, we may have another excuse to execute Fallout, Part 3 in the not too distant future…