See the old pulp sci-fi magazine that inspired Fallout 4



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I was out late doing last-minute Christmas shopping when I stumbled across a tiny little store I'd never seen before, nestled in an alley between a Wal-Mart and a check-cashing place. The shop was called "Curios, Rarities, Bibelots & Old Sci-Fi Magazines That Inspired Games From 2015". Strange name for a store, but I decided to stop in, if only to warm my hands for a moment. It was a chilly night filled with snow and wind and maybe, just maybe, a little magic.

The shopkeeper was odd, with a vacant stare and questionable facial animations. "Looking to shop? I'm sure I have something you'd be interested in," he said. "I guess I've got a few minutes to browse," I replied. "Take a look at what I've got," he said, showing me his entire inventory, sortable by category. Strange thing was, after I paused my browsing to reply to a text, we had the exact same conversation again when I resumed looking through his offerings.

This may sound unbelievable, but did you know that a number of the games released in 2015 were based on stories from old pulp science fiction magazines? It almost sounds like I'm making the entire thing up just to pad our website with content while we're on vacation, right? But I have proof. Just take a look at some scanned pages from an old issue of Thrilling Tales of Wonder From the Radio Planet. It was published in 1933, and it contained a story called Fallout 4. After reading it, It's hard to believe Bethesda didn't draw a lot of inspiration from the story within.


Weird, right? That definitely feels like it was used as source material for the game. A little later on, we get to see some combat and a return to Sanctuary, which the Sole Survivor had begun to turn into a bustling settlement. It's really eerie, in a way, how much the game mirrored the themes and ideas of the magazine's story, as you'll see.


In case you're wondering if Dogmeat, Fallout 4's faithful companion, is included in the story, the answer is yes! Here's a scan from the magazine that clearly shows why Bethesda felt Dogmeat was a useful and necessary inclusion in the game.


Much later in the story—which I have to say weirdly focuses a lot on the protagonist managing her inventory, running back and forth between her various settlements, and buying items from stores so she can improve her weapons—we finally reach the moment where she acquires some important information about a missing child. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything for you. And oddly, the magazine doesn't spoil anything, either.


Amazing, huh? I haven't heard officially from anyone at Bethesda, but I have a sneaking suspicion this issue of Radio Planet was a big inspiration for their game. Anyway, I picked up a couple of other magazines while I was at that little strange shop, so I'll share some more scans this week.

By the way, if you're interested in making your own covers of sci-fi magazines, there's a great online tool called The Pulp-O-Mizer! I know that if I ever wanted to create a fake sci-fi magazine cover for some reason, it's definitely what I'd use.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.