Let’s be honest here: I am not a gamer. But there is something about the Fallout universe that fascinates me. There is something very “Wabi-Sabi” about the desolation of the Wasteland. And so when Fallout 4’s release was announced at E3 in the Spring, I was admittedly quite excited about having an excuse to host another Fallout party.
What made even more exciting was that it was to be set in the East Coast city of Boston (a beautiful Fall foliage region), and that it’s release date was 11.10.15, a mere couple of weeks before the American Thanksgiving holiday. My theme was set, and all I had to do was research the latest installment of the franchise and pick up subtleties whilst James sat working his way across the Commonwealth.
Set in the year 2287, Fallout 4 tracks the quest of The Sole Survivor of Vault 111. As fans of the franchise will already know, the Vault-Tec vaults are developed in anticipation of the Third World War, that, when it actually materializes, ends in the decimation of North America (and presumably the rest of the World) in 2077. 2287 is a post-apocalyptic retro-future, where the Commonwealth Institute of Technology looms over the New England region, and the Commonwealth Wasteland has become the playground for feral ghouls, super mutants and raider delinquents.
What follows is the Vault-Tec guide to surviving in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.
“After a widespread nuclear event, you may feel anxiety and wander ineptly. There is little time for gnawing fear; instead you must focus on quickly understanding he basics of Pip-Boy manipulation, interactions (both violent and passive), and learn how to hone your S.P.E.C.I.A.L abilities and Perks. Advice is also given about interacting with like-minded Companions the hostiles known to be present in the Commonwealth, as well as a brief primer on Crafting.”
“The Pip-Boy: A Robco industries Technological Wonder”
The Fallout 4 Pip-boy Edition came with a replica of the game’s handy and essential central computing device, which is compatible with your alternate reality iPhone or Samsung smart device. It’s pretty amazing, actually, and well worth the additional price tag. In the UK, the Pip-Boy Edition was a Game exclusive, and available for both PS4 and XboxOne.
The poster here is a rudimentary replica of the Pip-Boy’s status screen, using a neon green chalk pen.
“What makes you S.P.E.C.I.A.L?”
Fallout uses the S.P.E.C.I.A.L acronym to describe your character’s primary attributes. These are Strength, Perception, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. You select your combination of attributes at the start of the game, but as you wander through the wasteland, you can develop these attributes so that you are better equipped to deal with what Bethesda throws at you.
“Vault life has its perks!”
The game comes with a Perk Chart, and this works in conjunction with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system to improve and augment your survival skills. Leveling up in the game gives you Perk Points, which you can spend in a number of different ways by reference to the Perk Chart.
“Understanding the complex and unrecognizable world you once knew depends on your usage of tools, consumables, and scavenging know-how. This chapter details the opportunities you can make for yourself whilst sifting through the Inventory of your life.”
There are so many weapons and tools out in the Wasteland for you to collect to make sure you and your settlers can be safe in the hostility of the Commonwealth. Here, we have our very own Mr. Handy, Codsworth, all poised and ready with his Standard Model Baseball Bat, part of the Melee weapons range. Fragmentation Grenades are also a simple, yet effective tool for any Survivor.
“Your choice of apparel affects how people treat you. A head-turning ensemble often elicits comments from passersby, and especially pleasing apparel items make it easier to win friends and strike favourable deals”
James has combined items to create his own signature look! Festive sweater from the guys at Numbskulls, available at Game. These fashionable glasses add to your charisma level.
“Even the most cautious adventurers need a little extra help from time to time.”
Let’s face it, Thanksgiving (particularly when combined with a birthday) is all about the feast! But the Survivor must make do with what he is able to scavenge in the Wasteland and what he can grow in his settlements. Turkey’s seems scarce, but who can go wrong with a fabulous Yao Guai Roast dinner with the usual thanksgiving trimmings.
For dessert, a Deathclaw soufflé (a.k.a pumpkin cheesecake) didn’t go amiss, accompanied by some super cool (literally) Nitrogen ice cream (vanilla and salted caramel) from local ice creamery, Science Cream.
Amazing Sassy Mule cocktail courtesy of the bar staff at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, WA – using Jeremiah Weed Sarsaparilla Whiskey (yes, yes, I now realize there is no Sarsaparilla on the East Coast and this was seemingly a New Vegas exclusive, but it was awesome, nonetheless!).
Name plates a nod to the medicinal item, Buffout that is a must to keep active and alert. Created using tiny vials and Tic-Tacs. But be aware, use of chems can be highly addictive (not too dissimilar to the game itself).
Plenty of patience needed to avoid breaking your limited supply of bobby pins (Kirby grips). Collect for use with those troublesome safes and locked doors.
Bottlecaps are the standard currency of the Commonwealth and you will need these to successfully trade with your companions.
Lunchboxes will often yield bottlecap stashes, and can also be used for crafting Bottlecap Mines.
PERKS AND BONUSES
One of Fallout 4’s new features is the ability for The Survivor to use all collected junk for crafting purposes. Workshops and workbenches allow you to craft the sh*t out of everything you find, and the Wasteland is truly your oyster, with only your imagination capable of holding you back.
“While risking your life by emerging from your Vault may be an idea you’ve already ignored the dangers of, why not completely disregard Vault-Tec advice and jeopardize the lives of others, too? Should you agree to complete quests for them, it seems only prudent to offer advice on remaining alive during the multitude of tasks you may wish to complete.”
As many Fallout widows will understand, there is a multitude of quests in the game to distract your other halves for millennia. Main quests, side quests and random encounters are all there to be explored and enjoyed.
“Building a better crop”
These wonderful flowers are from Forbesfield Flowers in Cardiff. They could quite easily have been picked from the Wasteland.
“A comprehensive field-study of the estimated dangers present for those foolish enough to venture out of a Vault. The vast irradiated Commonwealth is segmented into Zones, for use in conjunction with your Pip-Boy’s World Map feature. Trackable items are noted, as well as dangers and other pertinent danger. The latest in ground-penetrating radar was used to extrapolate topographical data for surface and interior locations.”
As with all other open-world games, having access to an area map is crucial. Here our trusted Geochron Clock stepped in for the Fallout4 version.
“A brief collection of snippets, tracking all important life goals you can undertake, collectibles and worthy items you can gather, companions to befriend and the most important scavenging opportunities across the Commonwealth.”
To make our settlement visitors feel at home, we were accompanied by the trusted sounds of the Diamond City Radio. Here are the tracks if you want to re-create for your own celebrations (from the Fallout Wiki):
- A Wonderful Guy by Tex Beneke
- Accentuate the Positive by Bing Crosby
- Anything Goes by Cole Porter
- Atom Bomb Baby by The Five Stars
- Butcher Pete (Part 1) by Roy Brown
- Butcher Pete (Part 2) by Roy Brown
- Civilization by Danny Kaye
- Crawl Out Through The Fallout by Sheldon Allman
- Crazy He Calls Me by Billie Holiday
- Dear Hearts and Gentle People by Bob Crosby
- Easy Living by Billie Holiday
- Good Rocking Tonight by Roy Brown
- Grandma Plays the Numbers by Wynonie Harris
- Happy Times by Bob Crosby
- He’s A Demon, He’s A Devil, He’s A Doll by Betty Hutton
- I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire by The Ink Spots
- Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall by Ella Fitzgerald
- It’s A Man by Betty Hutton
- It’s All Over But the Crying by The Ink Spots
- Keep A Knockin by Louis Jordan
- Maybe by The Ink Spots
- Mighty, Mighty Man by Roy Brown
- One More Tomorrow by Frankie Carle
- Orange Colored Sky by Nat King Cole
- Personality by Johnny Mercer
- Pistol Packin’ Mama by Bing Crosby
- Right Behind You Baby by Ray Smith
- Rocket 69 by Connie Allen
- Sixty Minute Man by Billy Ward And The Dominoes
- The End of the World by Skeeter Davis
- The Wanderer by Dion
- Undecided by Ella Fitzgerald
- Uranium Fever by Elton Britt
- Uranium Rock by Warren Smith
- Way Back Home by Bob Crosby
- Whole Lotta Shakin Going On by Big Maybelle
- Worry Worry Worry by The Three Suns
THE NUCLEAR OPTION
I must confess I cheated somewhat this time around, and used a wine glass to support the top cake. The middle “blast” was a donut shaped piece of polystyrene, the shape needing something far lighter than cake to stay intact. I managed to secure some thin fairy lights within the royal icing to give the entire cake a nuclear glow. The little mint green car is a vintage micro-machine that my sister had lying around from the late 80s.
“The Vault-Tec Documentation Department has used the most likely projections as the basis for this guide. As this information was gleamed through simulation, we cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. It is possible that things aboveground will be worse. For this reason, we must remind and implore you that your only real safety lies in a comfortable and sensible life underground.”