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All of the main fallout lore (1,2,3,and New Vegas) is 1950's-esque.

The nuclear war that destroyed the world did not occur until 2077.

What caused the culture to stay static for that ~120 year period?

I know about the lack of transistors but that doesn't explain everything,

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up vote 32 down vote accepted

The Fallout universe is intended to be a purely fictional representation of what people in the 1950s thought the future was going to look like. As such, there's no "explanation" for why culture stayed that way other than that's how people in the 50's lived:

The Fallout world is much like Torg - physics and natural laws are not the same as in our universe, but are based instead on 50s sensibilities and pulp era comics - the Fallout universe is what people in the 50s believed the future would be (with a lot of nuclear warheads dropped on it).

(The Fallout Bible, Part 9.)

The Fallout setting was heavily influenced by a 1950's science fiction anthology called the Worlds of Tomorrow.

There were two major differences between the history of the "real world" and the Fallout universe, one of which you've already hit on:

  • In the Fallout universe, the transistor was never discovered, and
  • Atomic fusion, particularly portable atomic fusion, was perfected.

Pre-war Fallout is a vision of what would have happened without the miniaturization allowed by transistors, meaning most of the electronic advances of the 70s forward could not have happened. Would we have the same kind of music if there were no synthesizers, turntables, guitar effects pedals, CDs, iPods, etc? What would cars look like if everything running them was still big and mechnical? Fallout is Black Isle's attempt to guess what that might be.

Post-war Fallout is essentially what people during the "Red Scare" thought the world would be like if there was a nuclear war in the 1950s, it just didn't happen in-universe until 2077.

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Impressive answer. I get the whole retro-futurism thing, so I think what bothers me the most is the music. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were 50s stars, but the events of New Vegas are 2281, so I would think new music/other artists would exist. – user3235 Feb 26 '13 at 22:34
@user3235 I think there are hints or snippets of "later" cultural ideas but, in theory, none of that survived the war. If it helps, consider what would happen today if the only culture that survived a nuclear war was the stuff that hard-core survivalists liked :) – Mike Feb 26 '13 at 22:51
I guess I'm asking if the music we see in-game is the music that was being played those 120 years before the war. But there probably is no answer. – user3235 Feb 26 '13 at 23:03
It's coldwarpunk! – Junuxx Feb 27 '13 at 17:12

The United States was one of the only countries to be stuck in the 50's.In the fallout universe,people didn't use computer energy.They use atomic energy.Imagine it's 2010 through 2015 and we still acted as if it was the 50's.We'd be relying more on our country's defense system instead of worrying about fashion,style,what video game system we want and ect.Everything was the same in history following up to 1969.How fallout used all the same presidents leading up to Kennedy.Kennedy was the last president until fallout spinned to its own storyline of how America came along as a country.People say that all countries were destroyed during the Great War.Thats not true though.Switzerland is a country untouched by Nuclear Fire because Switzerland is a neutral country in real world and fallout world.There is also a theory in the fallout community that is still unrecognized but very intelligent.Its that the United Nations before closing down in 2052 if I'm not mistaking,made the majority of the world go into vaults so they could make a huge experiment.That was closing off connection to the outer world and making a fake war so people would eventually go crazy and see things that were there in there life before that was destroyed by Nuclear Warfare.

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What is computer energy and more importantly, how can I get my house to run on it?? – BMWurm Jun 8 '15 at 9:02
You might want to edit this word salad into paragraphs to make it more readable. – Monty129 Jun 8 '15 at 16:15
Or even separate sentences in the first place. – TARS Jun 10 '15 at 15:59
English, Smoothskin! Do you speak it?! – Wolfie Inu Nov 6 '15 at 5:10

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