Fallout Cultural Influences

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Earth, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    I thought it would be interesting to look at the different cultural (and pop cultural) influences on the different writers of Fallout. I've been reading a lot of New Vegas trivia recently and it's astonishing how much thought was put into almost every story point and location detail. Mad Max and The Boy and his Dog are obvious ones but there are plenty more subtle ones of note. Then of course there's Fallout 2, which is chockfull of movie and sci fi references.

    The thing is, with Black Isle and Obsidian, it's not just sci-fi stuff. There's plenty of other references to other forms of media, such as poetry and music.

    I figure it'd also be interesting comparing these with the cultural influences Bethesda has taken on board. In my opinion Bethesda's references and influences are very superficial by comparison but nonetheless it'd be interesting to pick them out and discuss.

    I'll set the ball rolling. The entire story behind Dead Money is inspired by the tale of greed told in the 1927 novel The Treasure of Sierra Madre by B.Traven, made into one of my favourite films with Humphrey Bogart, in 1948 by John Huston. It's astonishing to me how they were able to fill Dead Money with so much stuff while also staying true to the original themes of the novel, with Dean Domino being a stand-in for the Bogart character (at least, imo).

    Lonesome Road is inspired by the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The ED-E device launching the ICBMs is the albatross, and the Marked Men are the same as the walking dead in the poem.

    I find it interesting that the nuclear war takes place in 2077, as this is the same year a meteor catastrophically hits Northern Italy in the Arthur C. Clarke novel Rendezvous with Rama. A coincidence? Maybe. Nonetheless an intriguing and very specific date chosen by writers who clearly knew their science fiction.
  2. Bubba Zanetti

    Bubba Zanetti I know what I'm doing

    Oct 6, 2015
    Speaking of Dead Money, there's also the Cask of Amontillado reference--Sinclair's plan to trap the treacherous pair in the Sierra Madre's vault before he has a change of heart. In his taunt to Dean Domino he mentions the ill-fated Fortunato.

    The indoctrination method the Book Chute describes in OWB is straight out of Orwell's 1984.

    Damnation Alley--both the film and the book--are cited as influences, especially in regards to the Divide which suffered from violent windstorms similar to those depicted in DA.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  3. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    I still need to see Damnation Alley. With Lonesome Road I think there's a spaghetti western style going with the revenge plot. Maybe it's just me but a scene like this

    is tonally very similar to a scene like this

    On another note. Is it fair to say that the original Fallout is very gothic? It does end with you going down into the crypt of a cathedral and killing what is essentially Dracula.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  4. Millim

    Millim Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Orderite [REDACTED]

    Oct 13, 2010
    I second the original fallout being gothic.

    I think it's part of the reason I love it so much
  5. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    I need to go through Fallout with a fine comb and look at all the gothic elements. I wouldn't be surprised if it informs most of the storytelling.
  6. Millim

    Millim Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Orderite [REDACTED]

    Oct 13, 2010
    I think this best suits it all

    Fallout - Gothic
    Fallout 2- Cyberpunkish
    New Vegas- Western
    • [Like] [Like] x 6
  7. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    Define "gothic".
    This refers to architecture and shit right?
    And is it accurate to call fo1 a horror story?
  8. R.Graves

    R.Graves Confirmed Retard

    Apr 21, 2016
    I was brought there by morpheas (is that his name?) so I never got that vibe...
  9. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    Gothic fiction. Use of bloody and gory violence, liminal states (both psychological and literal), supernatural elements, disturbed emotional states, and most importantly the "uncanny". You'll find these tropes in every work of gothic literature, from Dracula to The Wasp Factory.

    I would argue that everything involving the Master and the Super Mutants fits these parameters.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  10. Millim

    Millim Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Orderite [REDACTED]

    Oct 13, 2010
    Yeah, F1 is pretty gothic
    When Fallout goes Gothic, it does it very well. The exception being F4 (even F3 got that somewhat right with the Dunwich building).
  11. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    I just thought of a really cool way they could've referenced Lovecraft in the original games.

    In Fallout, The Master is described as a Dark God, and has psychic abilities. So maybe in somewhere like the Boneyard, or just in a random encounter, you could run into a psyker character who's sculpted a statue of the Master (either their head or maybe their full body) ala what happens in Call of Cthulhu. Would've been a fun little easter egg and a nice bit of foreshadowing for later.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  12. cordelionreaver

    cordelionreaver Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 29, 2015
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  13. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    Wow. That's impressive. Watching the music video only helps reinforce that theory. Hotel California is a pretty popular song. There's every chance that it was an influence.

    I'll also upload the lyrics. See what you guys think:

    On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
    Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
    Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
    My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night

    There she stood in the doorway
    I heard the mission bell
    And I was thinking to myself
    'This could be heaven or this could be Hell'
    Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
    There were voices down the corridor,
    I thought I heard them say

    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here

    Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
    How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

    So I called up the Captain
    Please bring me my wine'
    He said, 'we haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine'
    And still those voices are calling from far away
    Wake you up in the middle of the night
    Just to hear them say

    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    They livin' it up at the Hotel California
    What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said, we are all just prisoners here, of our own device
    And in the master's chambers
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives
    But they just can't kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
    Relax, said the night man
    We are programmed to receive
    You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave!
  14. vitekc45c

    vitekc45c First time out of the vault

    Jul 20, 2014
    The God / Dog (especialy Dog) may be reference to this, as he fights with brute strength (and a bear trap), is covered in knife wounds, witch a lot are self-inflicted, and devours most things that he comes across.

    He even states on one ocasion that he doesnt like the ghost people because they keep stabing and cutting him when he tryes to eat, something along the lines of:

    "When you knock then down, they make Khcsssss sound and go back up, dog holds them down, ripping them with teeth, then they dont go back up. Sometimes theres too many, stabing and hurting dog when he wants to eat, so dog keeps hitting them with a beartrap till they go quiet, then dog can eat."
  15. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010

    Not sure if I agree with this. FO1 is pretty Lovecraftian on its own. Dark God around whom there is a mysterious cult, a being whose actions turn humans into a twisted, insane form, whose reasoning is nearly incomprehensible until the last moment you meet him, and meeting him is a real nightmare and a toil upon your psyche...the horror even greater once you realize the Master's true intentions, his purpose, and above all, his origin.

    Alluding to the Master's form before he is met would have been cool, but on the other hand, would have perhaps destroyed the surprise when you finally meet the Master, instead of reinforcing it. Master is already a Lovecraftian creature, until the moment you destroy him and thereby deconstruct him as a character. Knowing anything about him beforehand would just lessen the horror.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  16. Earth

    Earth Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2013
    I'm so used to the Master as a villain I hadn't even considered that, but you're completely right. The whole Master story is a Lovecraftian reference in its own right. (Definitely a cultural influence).

    And I agree on it possibly ruining the suspense of meeting him the first time. It's always best to hide the monster until the very end.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  17. Bubba Zanetti

    Bubba Zanetti I know what I'm doing

    Oct 6, 2015
    Hilariously enough, I thought I had already seen Damnation Alley when I was a kid. Much later I realized I had actually seen a New Zealand post-apocalyptic cheapie called Battletruck and got the two mixed up--both movies involve characters roving around the wastes in giant modes of transportation.

    My young mind also confused George Peppard, the star of DA, with the insane colonel who commanded the Battletruck played by James Wainwright.
  18. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    Indeed, Fallout 1 had some seriously strong Lovecraft-vibe in it. I guess the SciFi edge to it tends to let people overlook that influence.