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The Pip-Boy gives Fallout's world its own Donkey Kong, and lets you play it

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Nearly lost in the glut of news about Fallout 4 last night — the crafting, the character creation, the real Pip-Boy, and the fact this sucker is gonna be in our hands in five months — was one of the cooler little touches Bethesda will be bringing to its video game.

It's video games. On your Pip-Boy.

The Pip-Boy your vault dweller picks up has an animation for loading holotapes when you play them back. It appears that someone at Bethesda Game Studios figured, wait a minute, if we have a machine that accepts tapes or cartridges, it's got to play some games. So it does. "Red Menace" and "Atomic Command."

They're playable riffs on Donkey Kong and Missile Command, created by "Vault-Tec Game Studios" in 2053 of this alternate future. They're also another vehicle through which the cheerful, nuclear-age propaganda informing Fallout's backstory may be presented.

Here are some screenshots.

atomic command fallout

red menace open
atomic command fallout gameplay

red menace gameplay

One wonders if these got their own type of E3 reveal, in Fallout's world.

To begin the presentation, Todd Howard, the game's director, pointed to a simple visual asset in the game — a series of control panels for one of the enormous computer consoles that typify Fallout's analog technology style — as an example of his studio's obsession with detail in the game. They're trying to surround players not just with eye candy, but also visual details that carry a back story, to make this world seem almost crushingly believable.

To that end, video games on a Pip-Boy seem like a no-brainer. "We like all kinds of games," Howard said of his fellow designers. There's a lot to like in this game, too.