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To avoid any notice I’d be sure to receive upon making such bold a claim, let me state now that yes, I did take games such as, Resident Evil 5, Dead Space, Condemned 2 and Alone in the Dark in mind when I made the decision that Fallout 3 was my scariest game of all time. Bethesda’s first go at the Fallout series put us in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland that was no doubt grim and depressing, but was it scary? After investing close to forty hours of time roaming the Capital Wasteland I’d have to say yes, it’s god damned terrifying.

First off, let’s look at the situation at hand with Fallout 3. A post apocalyptic world ravaged by a devastating nuclear war, a war that started when tensions between a democratic nation and a communist nation rose to the breaking point. Now unless you’ve been living in your own VaultTec vault for the past sixty four years, I’m sure you’ve heard of a little something called the Cold War.


Thankfully it’s long over, but the next time you’re headed from Megaton to Rivet City, just take a moment to think about how close we’ve come as a society to fulfilling that dreary storyline. Not to mention although the tensions are gone, the tools still remain. Fallout stands as a desolate example of where we can end up if we loose control as a species.

Then to really drive home the point the game is set in the region formerly known as Washington D.C. Seeing a fictitious location destroyed can have very little effect on those setting their sights on the destruction. Inversely, seeing a place you not only know of, but in some people’s cases have been to in real life can do wonders to add to the effect. It’s not every day you get to see what your friend’s apartment would look like after a nice uranium sunburn.

Now one would think such an utter travesty would surely unite the few debateably lucky survivors in an effort to make sure the horrors of nuclear warfare could never be realized again right? Hell no. In fact, let’s make the bombs tiny enough to shoot by hand and kill each other some more with it. Let’s rig the bombs that were thankfully duds to go off anyway.

Fallout 3 does a perfect job of giving us a hint of how even in the face of such tragedy, mankind can be cruel and relentless. If the embracing of nuclear weaponry after such a holocaust isn’t creepy enough, how about the reemergence of slavery and boosting of bigotry (Ghouls are people too), or the fact that the VaultTec vault program was an elaborate way to run social experiments on people without them knowing?

Fallout 3 isn’t the type of scary that causes you to jump out of your seat or watch that dark corner at all times, wondering what’s about to come out from it. No, it’s the type of fear that takes time to sink in. It’s the type of fear that operates on a grander scale and soaks your bones because it’s based on fears that can be very real and break the shackled comfort of “just being a video game.” So the next time you’re listening to Three Dog and roaming from town remains to town remains, take a moment to consider what this game really says about ourselves as a species, and just how close we sometimes are from living the nightmare.


That’s not to say that there aren’t enough moments in the game to cause you to jump right out of your skin. Traversing the metro tunnels with Feral Ghouls chasing after you is creepy enough to make any grown man shiver just a little bit every time they utter their deathly growl. The threat of death even grows to a greater part of reality when you’re being chased by tons of Mole Rats shortly after escaping Vault 101.

Finally, shall we consider the state of the different vaults and what went on in them? These live human experiments are enough to freak anyone out. Can you imagine slowly having your mental facilities slowly torn away from you, only then to perhaps realize you’ve turned into a savage, blood thirsty animal? Or perhaps your entire world being overrun by beasts that are more hideous than anything previously imagined…Fallout 3 is, without a doubt, the scariest game I’ve ever played.

Also, Vault 106 was just plain creepy as hell.

  1. I totally agree with you. Fallout 3 is a great example of how games are not always meaningless “just for fun” time wasters. Fallout 3 is disturbing in that you actually get to see the possible aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Yet, not only do you get a glimpse of it, you actually get to interact with the environment and its survivors. You get a sense of this right from the beginning upon exploring Megaton and meeting the man who now worships “Atom” or the huge nuclear warhead planted in the square of the town. We see the horrors of such a future and how it can totally warp people. Humanity is forced to start over fresh, yet even in the light of such a tragedy we fail to learn from past mistakes and make changes for the good.

    In that regard, Fallout 3 is certainly an eye opener. On another note, Fallout 3 scares the crap out of me for other reasons. I’m a total wimp so all the creepy mutants make me jump on numerous occasions. Particularly the centaurs. Eew.

  2. I just bought Fallout last week. I must say it is a very unsettling game. The most disturbing for me is the images of skeletal children and charred toys, it just freaks me out. Jess, I’m a wuss too, the ghouls always give me a fright!

  3. I have to say that the creepiest thing was just seeing some of the things I remember from DC turned into a complete mess – when I first got into the metro stations and finally the mall, I was moved by how much it changed. However, I still find the sinister experiments with the Vaults probably scariest of all, as its the sort of horror and tragedy that you don’t notice until after the fact, and then you ask yourself if some of the stuff you’re seeing in Fallout’s world, a world many years before ours that just couldn’t be real, and wonder if we could ever end up like that.

  4. Scary as hell is right…but it’s a good kind of scary :-)

  5. avatar Chris

    Hah! You guys are wimps!

    Almost completed my second playthru and I’ve NEVER jumped out of my pants because a horrifying ghost my eyes were fixated on materialized into a (very much alive) feral ghoul lunging to rip my face off; or because I heard a shuffling noise behind me and turned around to find a damn mole rat chasing me; or because I learned how people began to run horrible experiments on the very men, women, and children they were trusted to protect from the outside.


  6. avatar A.W.

    mmm, its would be more scary if it was more believable. i mean the culture is just plain weird. the 1950′s apparently went on forever, but all the raiders all have 80′s punk haircuts. huh?

    And the currency of the realm is… um, bottlecaps. Um, no, and anyone who undersands why those strips of green paper in your wallet is worth anything understands why bottle caps would be treated as what they are: worthless.

    And finally, slavery? Really? Not buying that. When i saw there were slavers at the lincoln memorial, i decides to say “screw doing things the nice way. i am killing them all, for excessive irony.”

    • avatar N.A.M.

      The statement about the bottle caps is just not true. They cannot be reproduced easily (unlike a certain piece of green paper I know) and there is a very finite amount in the wasteland. The bit about the haircuts is just a style.

  7. avatar Migs

    I played a stealth charater so to me the enemies are the on who are scared

  8. avatar Mikey Reilly

    Yeah your right. It is scary for all those symbolic reasons and stuff, but the Dunwich Building is just horrifyingly, disturbingly terrifying. I don’t get scared easily but I only made it half way through the building before fleeing in terror vowing never to enter again.

    • avatar Auth

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  9. avatar Brad

    I was a level 3 then i ran off i did’nt know where i was but then… -Roar- I jumped off my bed a freakin mole rat and a swarm of bloatflys chased me

    I Just Started The Game and The Mission I Was On Was Following In His Footsteps

  10. avatar Ezra

    It’s not a really scary game if you get used to it. When I started playing I couldn’t sleep at night. Even when you are used to the game there are some scary/creepy places like the dunwitch building. And some of the vaults have really creepy backstories.

  11. avatar The Lone Wanderer

    Has anyone heard of Vault 106? Am I the only one? Hallucinations when you least expect them and the screen goes blue during it. I find that creepy as hell.

    • avatar N.A.M.

      What about that vault where they sacrifice someone each year! I know it was in New Vegas but still.

  12. avatar I think its really scary because of the way you walk into a building and ther are dead kids and teddies and toys. Have you ever stumbled across a playground? You hear children laughing. All those disturbing, unsettling buildings. Sometimes you find out th

    Jack (Is scared of Fallout)

  13. avatar Anon

    Nothing is scary in this game. (However, I had a companion and both of us were filled up to our heads in heavy, @$$kicking weapons.

    • avatar Derrick Harrison

      Well, YEAH. With companions in game, every single place just seemed 100% less scary but sometimes there are glitches and your companion is stuck somewhere back while you walk into some dark territory thinking “they are there for me” then you are ambushed alone.

  14. avatar Dan

    I just got through vault 87. It was horrible, but I had Paladin Star with me to watch me back. I don’t know how those kids in little lamplight stay alive, but they seem to be good at it.

    • avatar Henry

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  15. avatar Nabil

    Just simply one of the great fhcanrises.I remember building a character in Fallout 2 that was pure carnage. Wildly unlucky and yet had the potential for critical hits everytime he got into a fight there was a decent chance someone would break a limb. Often it was him.

  16. avatar Gar Gar Finks

    I have had some pretty good scares in this game, usually when I turn around to find a Mirelurk or Deathclaw directly behind me, frozen in time with V.A.T.S., although that usually makes me chuckle. However, I will admit that there is (as of yet) only one creature that scares me to death, and that is the Abomination from “Mothership Zeta”. I was playing the DLC at 2:30 in the morning, and I thought they were regular aliens or something, until they screamed and attacked. The worst part was having to stare at them while I was using V.A.T.S. Those things had my heart racing!

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