You may remember JuiceHead, the YouTuber who played Fallout 76 during the beta and somehow wound up scrapping his Pip-Boy (opens in new tab) while dismantling his surplus weapons. It was a glitch, obviously, but it left him with a comical gap in his arm and a disembodied hand, plus the inability to use the device entirely. His Pip-Boy was just gone, and the issue had to be fixed by Bethesda.
On the plus side, that beta glitch more recently led JuiceHead to undertake an experiment: Can you actually play and finish Fallout 76 without using a Pip-Boy?
It's a great question. We use our Pip-boys for everything: Inventory management, equipping weapons and armor, tracking quests, playing holotapes, and using VATS. With so much reliance on this oversized smartwatch, surely there would be some major roadblocks to doing everything in Fallout 76 without ever once glancing at it.
To make sure he didn't use it out of habit, JuiceHead started a new character and immediately remapped his Pip-Boy key. For inventory management, he used the quick wheel menu to access his inventory and assign numbers to weapons and chems he collected. Unfortunately, he discovered you can't assign body armor to the quick wheel unless you do it through the Pip-Boy. So, without the Pip-Boy you simply can't wear armor pieces at all. You either need to find Power Armor or just stick with your Vault 111 jumpsuit. Ouch.
A few workarounds proved enjoyable for JuiceHead. Instead of instantly playing holotapes he found, he'd collect them and then play them at computer terminals, which allowed him to progress (albeit much more slowly) through quests. Becoming overburdened also proved to be an issue, as you can't drop items without using a Pip-Boy, so he had to use various corpses he found (or created) to offload his unwanted items into via the container menu.
The biggest drawback, apart from not being able to wear body armor, is being unable to slot perk cards, which denies you bonuses for everything from increasing combat damage to crafting weapon mods. (Annoyingly, you also can't untick quests without the Pip-Boy so his screen quickly became littered with a long list of chores.)
But still: It worked. JuiceHead seemed to have a fun time playing with these self-imposed restrictions, found the extra work more immersive, and thinks it's entirely possible—though much more difficult—to complete the game without ever once using a Pip-Boy. You can (and should) watch his full video below.