The news outlet CNN uses footage of a computer terminal screen from Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG Fallout 4 to depict “Russian hacking” in one of its stories.
As many Fallout 4 fans will attest, the computer terminals in Bethesda’s latest entry to its post-apocalyptic RPG franchise offer a fun diversion in the way of them being able to get hacked for information that could help would-be Wastelanders out in the game, but they are far from realistic when it comes to how modern PCs actually operate. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop CNN from using footage of one of the terminals within Fallout 4 for a story it recently aired on Russian hacking.
CNN’s graphical gaffe was spotted by Redditor Poofylicious who wasted little time in making a screenshot of the news network’s usage of the terminal from Fallout 4 within its story on real-life cyber-espionage, with the user going on to post the still on the open world title’s official subreddit. For those unaware, CNN originally aired the story on December 28 of the last year, with the piece covering President Obama proposing sanctions against Russia for its supposed role in cyberattacks targeting the United States.
While CNN’s usage of Fallout 4‘s terminal is not a major issue – it was used as B-Roll footage, after all – it’s still silly on the surface, especially when one considers that it’s being juxtaposed with a story about something as significant as international spying. Interestingly enough, Fallout 4 images cropping up in the news network’s piece is simply the latest in a broad trend of media outlets and companies from around the world utilizing video game footage and their ancillary materials as visual support for stories and campaigns.
Just last year, an Iranian news channel used Medal of Honor footage as real life documentation of an actual combat video from Hezbollah snipers. Not too long after the footage aired, however, it was quickly debunked by the French news website called French24, who recognized that the HUD elements from the clip happened to match the Medal of Honor HUD perfectly.
Beyond news stories, assets from video games have also been used inadvertently by lots of companies to promote products, events, and locations. For instance, several months ago, The Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles advertised the city and the area adjacent to the hotel by using an image of the Los Santos city skyline from Grand Theft Auto 5 and posting the screenshot to its website.
Misappropriation of video game footage and images aside, the fact that properties from a title like Fallout 4 can make their way into a news story on a major mainstream network simply speaks to how far the gaming medium has come. With hacking methods from video games now having been used as a visual example of gaining access to a computer by illicit means, it’s obvious that not only have games become less discernible from reality for some, but also that there are more fans out there now than ever who can quickly point out their usage out of context.
Fallout 4 is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.