Fallout Shelter Reflects the Real World

Fallout Shelter is a game created by Bethesda. It appears to have been released in 2015. I’m just getting around to playing it now, on my Xbox Series S. What I did not expect was how much the game has an eerie resemblance to the real world.

The basic idea with Fallout Shelter is that you are the “Overlord” of a Vault. The outside world has become a nuclear wasteland. The first thing that happens is a line of people arrive at the door of the Vault. It is too dangerous to be outside.

In the real world right now parts of California are on fire. Louisiana is experiencing hurricane Ida. In other places, there are droughts or flooding. The delta variant of covid is out there, making some people sick and killing others.

With all that in the back of my mind, I decided to accept all who came to the Vault door. Once inside, the people are given identical uniforms to wear. This makes them look interchangeable. It becomes harder to tell the people apart from each other.

The people in the Vault have conversations. Most of it is small talk as they go about their work. They ask trivial questions to coworkers. What kind of pet would you have if you could have one? One person wants an iguana, but worries it would be all weird due to the radiation.

Other questions are more serious. A person asked a coworker if they would ever be able to go outside again. It reminded me of the lockdowns that were put in place in an effort to prevent the spread of covid. I remember the uncertainty of it, worrying about being able to get enough food and toilet paper.

A few of the people are super happy to be working. One claims he is the G.O.A.T. at his job. Another hopes there is a chance to get some overtime. Not everyone feels that way. A worker in the diner told his coworker that “the Overlord is always watching us”. It sounds like a conspiracy theory – but he is right. I was watching them.

Since none of them can safely leave the Vault, they are given living quarters. The game recommends you increase the size of the living quarters, so I did. Now, several people can share the same one. They have absolutely no privacy at all, and can be called back to work at any time. Jobs are interchangeable, and there is no guarantee what task they will be assigned.

The situation reminded me of news articles from 2020 that pointed out that workers were being monitored by their employers through their work laptops. This sounds incredibly violating, especially considering that all of these workers were in their own homes. One cannot have work/life balance with that going on.

How is my newly created Vault going? We’re constantly running out of food, water, and energy. I’m hoping the workers will drink more Nuka-Cola because the bottle caps are currency I can use to build more rooms. The water processing plant keeps catching on fire. Everything is fine!