18 times the Fallout show was exactly like a videogame

Two people in a vault at a desk smiling as they look at something
(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

When I started watching the Fallout show, I worried that the parade of direct references to the Fallout games might make it feel like a very long "what if videogames were real life? (crazy!!!)" skit on YouTube

It didn't end up feeling that way, mainly because the storytelling is good enough that the videogame references aren't the show's raison d'être. On further reflection, though, I also decided that those YouTube skits can be pretty funny when they're done well, so why not go all-in on gags if you're making a show based on a series known for goofy videogame conventions?

I'm so used to videogame logic, some of the Fallout show's gags didn't even register to me as gags until they were pointed out, so we put our heads together to identify the most videogamey moments from across the show's eight episodes. I've listed what we came up with below. 

Spoilers ahead, obviously—we include moments from every episode. I'm sure we missed a few good ones, too, so drop them in the comments if you think of any.

● Lucy introduces herself by describing her Repair, Science, and Speech skills

● It cuts away when the main character is about to have sex 

● The first house Lucy wanders into in the Wasteland contains a family of skeletons at the dinner table in classic Bethesda environmental storytelling style

● Knight Titus does what we all do the first time we encounter a high level enemy while wearing power armor: go "oh fuck oh fuck" and run away

● Lucy casually walks up to a Wastelander with her gun pointed at him

● The Ghoul is clearly using VATS to target body parts (Wilzig's foot) and cycle/pre-target multiple enemies in Filly shootout (also obviously has the Bloody Mess perk)...

● ...And then Maximus gets his power armor stuck on the level geometry

● Ma June gives Lucy a quest and adds a marker to her Pip-Boy map

● In Vault 33, Woody complains that he "must have put… 10 posters up" after losing the election—hanging 10 posters feels like exactly the type of quest you'd get

● Chet and Norm find bloody yet highly legible graffiti scrawled on the wall in front of a Vault 31 door: "We know what's in there." Classic videogame graffiti.

● Lucy learns about the history of Vault 4 by accessing a shocking video log on a terminal

● A Vault 4 blackboard gives out only extremely pertinent information in huge letters

● Thaddeus' injury is completely healed by drinking what's essentially a health potion (albeit one with a single very pronounced side effect)

● Norm does the Fallout hacking minigame to access the Inter-Vault Messaging system

● The show's climax is a "defend the generator while it powers up" encounter

● The Ghoul once again seems to use VATS to target the power armor's weak point

● A really long cutscene of speeches (flashback) by the villains answers (almost) all your questions

● No matter what choices you make while watching it ends the same way 😜

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.

With contributions from