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Wasteland is a post-nuclear computer role-playing game created by Interplay Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts on January 27, 1987. While Wasteland is not considered part of the Fallout universe, it served as a major inspiration to Fallout's creation and numerous references to Wasteland can be found throughout the series. It was followed in 2014 by Wasteland 2.
Tensions grew with the coming of 1998. The United States' Citadel Starstation was slated to be fully operational by March. Soviet charges that the space station was merely a military launching platform alarmed a number of nonaligned nations. The right wing governments in the South and Central Americas, many of them set up by the U.S. during the Drug Wars (1987-1993), pledged their support to the U.S. The NATO nations, including the new African members also declared their alliance with the U.S. That move forced most of the remaining neutral powers to join the Soviet protest. In six short weeks, only Switzerland, Sweden, and Ireland continued to declare themselves neutral nations.
Two weeks before Citadel was due for full operation, the station transmitted a distress signal. Immediately after the message was sent, most of the satellites orbiting the planet were swept clean from the sky, leaving the great powers blind. In military panic, each sent 90 percent of their nuclear arsenals skyward. Although the destruction was tremendous, it was not complete. Pockets of civilization remained, some even oblivious to the military exchange.
On the same day that the U.S. and Soviet Union were attempting to extinguish each other, a company of U.S. Army Engineers were in the southwestern deserts building transportation bridges over dry riverbeds. They worked deep in the inhospitable desert valleys, surrounded by a number of survivalist communities. Located directly south of their position on that day was a newly-constructed federal prison. In addition to housing the nation's criminals condemned to death, the prison contained light industrial manufacturing facilities.
Shortly after the nuclear attack began, the Engineers, seeking shelter, took over the federal prison and expelled the prisoners into the desolate desert to complete their sentences. As the weeks passed, they invited the nearby survivalist communities to join them and to help them build a new society. Because of each community's suspicions towards one another, times were difficult at first. But as time nurtured trust, this settlement -- which came to be known as Ranger Center -- grew to be one of the strongest outposts. Ranger Center even proved powerful enough to repel the hands of rancorous criminals who repeatedly attacked in attempts to reclaim what was once "rightfully theirs".
The citizens of Ranger Center, after first believing that they were the only ones who survived the nuclear maelstrom, soon realized that communities beyond the desert's grip had also survived. Because they had such success in constructing a new community, they felt compelled to help other survivors rebuild and live in peace.
Toward this end, the Desert Rangers, in the great tradition of the Texas and Arizona Rangers a century before, were born.”— Wasteland Game Manual, a.k.a. the Wasteland Survival Guide
Overview of Wasteland
You control a group of player-created characters ("PCs") known as Desert Rangers. After most of the world was obliterated by nuclear weapons in the Great War, your band of heroes survived because they luckily hailed from a former prison located near Las Vegas, Nevada, an area that somehow avoided a direct hit. Your initial mission is to investigate disturbances in surrounding communities: Highpool, the Agricultural Center, Quartz, the Desert Nomads Camp, Needles, and Las Vegas. The Desert Rangers uncover a sinister plot, hatched by a cyborg and a computer mainframe with artificial intelligence - to replace the world's population of living, breathing creatures, with cybernetic machines. To achieve this goal, a nuclear holocaust was orchestrated, and in the aftermath, machines are produced to destroy humans and then repopulate the earth. The Desert Rangers ultimately prevail by blowing up Base Cochise, the location of the A.I.-driven computer mainframe.
Similarities to Fallout games
If one plays any of the Fallout games after playing Wasteland, they can't help but recognize some various similarities. Some (Fallout designers, specifically) have said that Wasteland was the "inspiration" for the Fallout series.
Entire Fallout series
- Brotherhood of Steel - appeared in Wasteland as a purely hostile technology hoarding faction called the 'Guardians".
- Deathclaws - a reference to the "Shadowclaws", mutated iguanas found wandering the desert in Wasteland
- Energy Weapons - an obtainable skill introduced in Wasteland.
- Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.) - A garden/museum of rebirth was created and displayed by Irwin John Finster (who incidentally may be a reference to Howard Finster), creator of the garden-park museum Plant Farm Museum; he created this museum to "show all the wonderful things o' God's Creation, kind of like what the Garden of Eden does."
- Ghoul - a reference to Wasteland's mutated "Desert Dweller", "Drool", "Pit Ghoul", "Shambler Ghoul", "Spineless Ghoul", "Night Screamer", and "Night Terror"
- Laser pistol (the Wattz 1000 laser pistol and the AEP7 laser pistol) - a similar weapon to Wasteland's plain Laser Pistol.
- Laser rifle (the "Wattz 2000 laser rifle" and the AER9 laser rifle) - a similar weapon to Wasteland's plain Laser Rifle.
- Power armor - a reference to the Wasteland armor with the same name, obtained in the Guardian's Citadel.
- Red Ryder BB gun - a reference to the gun with the same name found in Wasteland, available in Highpool or via an exploit.
- Water chip - in Wasteland, the first quest given to the Desert Rangers is to fix a water pump in Highpool.
- Dugan, the Nuka-Cola addict - a reference to Wasteland's Hobo Oracle, a bum addicted to "Snake Squeezins", found at the Rail Nomads Camp.
- Gizmo, the crime lord - a reference to Fat Freddy, an obese gangster from Las Vegas, Nevada
- Junktown - a reference to the Savage Village, the home of the Junk Master
- Tycho, the Desert Ranger - the band of heroes in Wasteland were Desert Rangers. Tycho additionally makes small references to Wasteland.
- ZAX - a reference to "VAX", a recruitable humanform robot non-player character, found (after being built) in Base Cochise
- Chrissy - a reference to Christina, an Uzi-packing, recruitable non-player character found in Needles.
- The EPA, which didn't make it to the final version of Fallout 2, bears a strong similarity to Wasteland's Project Darwin.
- Cassidy has a few combat taunts that come from Wasteland's combat descriptions.
- In the mercenaries' cave, you need three numbers from three dog tags to open a safe. These are the same three numbers found on Huey, Dewey, and Louie's ID tags in Quartz that also open a safe. (11-16-27)
- Brick - When asked about Vernon Square, Brick mentions that she loves turning the 'muties into a "fine, red mist" with her gun; in Wasteland, this (along with "exploding like a blood sausage" and "reducing to a thin, red paste") was one of the descriptions the game used for dramatic combat deaths.
- Children of Atom - a nod to the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud, a cult of bomb-worshiping zealots located in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Citadel - a reference to a location of the same name in Wasteland, which is the home of the Guardians (the faction the Brotherhood of Steel was based on)
- Firelance - a reference to this weapon is found in Wasteland's meta fictitious, "decoy" storyline, in its paragraphs book
- Keller Family Transcript - individual digits of a combination held by different individuals is similar to Huey, Dewey, and Louie, of Quartz.
- Tesla cannon - similar to Wasteland's Meson Cannon.
- Toaster - when Three Dog mentions that his toaster needs repair, it is likely (in part, at least) a reference to the surprisingly useful skill of "Toaster Repair" in Wasteland
- The Wasteland Survival Guide - The book you can help make is the name of Wasteland's game guide book
- President Eden - When speaking with the Cochise A.I. mainframe in Wasteland, it states that its mission is "to repopulate the Earth with pure stock once my minions have destroyed all other life. I will win." This is identical to the main goal of President Eden, who is also an A.I. mainframe. Additionally, the player can ask Eden how to kill him, to which he will reply that doing so is impossible. A similar question can be asked of Cochise, with a similar answer.
- Las Vegas was an area in Wasteland. Las Vegas and New Vegas both appear to have avoided being directly hit by nukes and are in relatively good condition. Both cities have electricity and robots patrolling the streets, as well.
- Sarah Weintraub, the owner of the Vault 21 hotel, tells you about the Vault-Tec toaster she repaired, relating to the Toaster Repair skill.
- In the Black Mountain prison building you can access a terminal containing the diary of Raul Tejada. In one entry he will mention that Tabitha had him repair a toaster. Raul also expresses, when taken to Jacobstown, trepidation that the mutants there won't take him captive and force him to fix toasters. These are both references to the Toaster Repair skill.
- Outside of the Mojave Outpost, the plaque by the monument mentions a pact between the New California Republic Rangers and the Desert Rangers, a nod to the Desert Ranger faction that appeared in Wasteland. In Honest Hearts, the player can find Desert Ranger combat armor.
- "Night Terror", a Fiend that Little Buster of Camp McCarran killed for Dhatri, is may be a nod to the ghoul-like enemy of the same name.
- The add-on Old World Blues features a large number of references to Wasteland, including: the proton axe, Toaster, the consumables blood sausage, thin red paste, thick red paste and nightstalker squeezin's and the perk Them's Good Eatin.
- Calculator - a reference to the evil computer found in Wasteland's Base Cochise.
- Carbon, a small town has trouble with raiders - a reference to Quartz, a small town which has trouble with bandits.
- Giese, the junk master whom can fashion weapons from pieces of junk - a reference to Junk Master, a junk rebreather-recuperator from Savage Village.
- Helen Wheels - truckers, smugglers (together with Eddie "Crazy Horse" Galensky)
- Job - Mister Handy administrative police robot in Denver
- Christina Royce - cut-off non-player character, mature Chrissy from Fallout 2
- ZAX - two units appear once again: Twin Mothers, Boulder
- The Nursery - a reference to the Agricultural Center
- Circle Junction - a reference to Rail Nomads Camp
- Tim Cain GDC Talk, @05:33–05:53: "Wasteland, of course. Can't say this strongly enough: Fallout is very much a spiritual successor to Wasteland. Almost everybody who played the game – or who worked on Fallout – had played Wasteland. When we started I had not played it, so somebody gave me a copy, said 'Go home this weekend', and I was addicted, played it all the time."