Great moments in PC gaming: Talking to your own brain in Fallout: New Vegas

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Fallout: New Vegas

Developer: Obsidian
Year: 2010

The Old World Blues expansion plays up the 1950s B-movie side of Fallout, where radiation is more likely to lead to mutations than tumours, robots are best when they have pincers for hands, and brains belong in jars. Specifically, your brain belongs in a jar.

When you travel to the Big MT, where mad science rules, you're lobotomized—and your heart and spine are removed too, because why leave a job half done? The goal of Old World Blues is to retrieve your brain from the extravagant Doctor Mobius so you can get the heck out of this bizarro zone with its robo scorpions and cyberdogs. After fighting your way across the Big MT with a variety of new laser guns and a power fist superheated by a genocidal toaster (don't ask), it turns out the brain you've come to rescue doesn't want to be saved.

Comfortably floating in a tank full of nutrients with access to a sizeable library, your brain doesn't want to go back in your head. It accuses you of ignoring its advice in favor of listening to your glands and getting in way too many fights. It's hard to argue against that logic. New Vegas is the Fallout game that makes melee weapons and unarmed attacks fun, so you've probably been punching or slicing half your problems. And with the right perks you can seduce your way across the wasteland, even sleeping with the guy who shot you in the head back in the opening cinematic.

And yeah, this is a game that opens with a bullet entering your brain. Of course your brain doesn't want to go back in your skull, that's where the bullets get aimed.

While you've got the option of using various skills at the disposal of your cyborg replacement brain and its gland-based decision-making to convince your organic brain it's actually worth re-joining Team Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, there's also the option to just let the argumentative lump be. It can have its Brain Brexit and stay in the Big MT forever, while you, a lobotomized half-machine, go back to the Mojave and finish New Vegas without it, bullets bouncing off your metallic dome as you return to fighting cazadores and Roman legionary cosplayers. Who needs a brain anyway? Not somebody with the Black Widow perk and a tesla cannon.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.