It is a hideous mutated creature composed of several other creatures and electronic parts, all apparently melded together. Apart from his appearance, one of his most notable features is his unique style of speech. His voice is computer-generated and sentences are composed, apparently in real-time, from samples of several peoples' speech.
The game takes place in the year 2161 on the West Coast of what used to be the United States of America, particularly in California. It begins in Vault 13, the protagonist's home. Vault 13's water chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery, has broken. Armed with a PIPBoy 2000 and meager equipment, the protagonist is sent out into the remains of California to find another water chip.