Fallout – Victor And Vegas Vic

The Fallout video game franchise is unique in that it re-imagines real world locations that the player character can explore – except it’s two hundred years in the future and the world has been devastated by nuclear war. Fallout 3, for instance, takes place in Washington D.C. and characters can visit the crater where the White House once stood, take the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument, and pay a visit to the Lincoln memorial (among many, many other locations and landmarks). In Fallout: New Vegas, the player character can wander down Freemont Street and head up to the heavily-fortified New Vegas Strip, guarded by a fleet of advanced security robots. One of these securitrons is unique, however – his name is victor and he’s voiced by character actor William Sadler, who you might recognize from The Shawshank Redemption, The Flash television series, and Iron Man 3.

Victor is (almost always) the second non-player-character you meet upon beginning Fallout:New Vegas. He’s waiting outside of Doc Mitchell’s house when you first enter the overworld. He has a cheeky cowboy drawl reminiscent of 1950’s western films and a unique visage. This being a ‘Mojave Desert’ and ‘Las Vegas’ themed adventure, it makes sense that Victor is modeled after a real-world Las Vegas Landmark: Vegas Vic.

Vegas Vic is synonymous with Las Vegas, even if you never knew his name. He’s featured on all types of Las Vegas apparel, posters, and shot glasses, and there’s almost always an obligatory shot of him in any film that takes place in the neon city. He’s a 40-foot-tall neon cowboy that was installed on the outside of The Pioneer Club in 1951. He was designed in 1947 in response to a request from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Vegas Vic and and his famous “howdy partner” greeting was established in hopes of drawing new visitors to the city.

The Pioneer Club no longer operates as a casino, but Vegas Vic can still be seen at 25 E Freemont Street above a souvenir shop. Pioneer Hotels still owns a gambling hall in Laughlin, Nevada, along the Colorado River. A similar sign, referred to as River Rick, can be found there.

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Fallout – Red Army Propaganda

Propaganda postIn the Fallout Universe, the player character is forced to survive in a hostile nuclear wasteland, seeking out food and clean water in irradiated territories decimated by a war from two hundred years ago. Navigable roadways are rife with scavengers and bands of lawless raiders.

Because heightened tensions between the United States and Communist China preceded the nuclear conflict of Fallout, it would follow that the skeletal remains ‘old world’ city settlements, upon examination, provide clues to what life was like before the bombs dropped.

Surviving buildings are smattered with pro-America, anti-communist propaganda. The game designers took their inspiration for these posters directly from the High Soviet Modernist style from the real world. The image above is but one example of a true-to-life Red Army recruitment poster from the Soviet Union and it’s fictionalized ‘Fallout 3’ counterpart.

This is probably one of the greatest elements of the game. The designers took ‘world-building’ to a whole new level when developing the franchise. Each iteration of the Fallout Universe reveals the strictest attention to detail, resulting in an highly atmospheric and detail-rich game world for the player to explore. ‘Immersive’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe the experience of exploring the world Bethesda Game Studios has created.

Fallout – Bob’s Big Boy

Big BOY post

As Paradise falls, so falls Paradise Falls.

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In the western hills of The Capital Wasteland a tall monument can be seen in the distance. The remnants of a commercial shopping center, Paradise Falls is the home of the largest slaver camp in ‘Fallout 3.’ A hulking fast food mascot hovers over the camp’s guard tower and chain-link slave pens, bearing a significant resemblance to a real-world mascot.

The Big Boy restaurant chain began as Bob’s Pantry in Glendale, California in 1936. “Home of the Big Boy Hamburger,” the chain is most recognizable by its trademark chubby boy in a red-and-white checkered pair of overalls holding a double-decker cheeseburger.

The early versions of the statues were huge, measuring up to 14 feet tall. Naturally, the version in ‘Fallout 3’ avoids infringement by eliminating the checkered outfit and replacing the burger with an ice cream cone – that and it stands significantly taller than any of it’s real-world counterparts. At one point in the early concept sketches of Paradise Falls, game designers were interested in having a scaffolding wrapped around the statue with a sniper’s nest atop the sculpture’s head. Time constraints prevented this from becoming a reality.

In recent years, Big Boy statues have come into conflict with local zoning ordinances, and  the closing of several locations has seen the dismantling some of the statues. Many of them have been acquired by private individuals, and they appear somewhat regularly on eBay. Smaller versions are still sold today as coin banks and bobbleheads (another theme in ‘Fallout 3’), and vintage Big Boy ash trays, salt & pepper shakers, and wooden counter displays are still floating around out there.

lard lad

References to the famous Big Boy statue are ubiquitous in popular culture. From Bruce Springsteen lyrics and Austin Powers to The Simpsons (“Lard Lad Donuts”) and elsewhere, the days of Bob’s Big Boy are far from over.

Have a happy holocaust!