While the exploration, storytelling, and RPG gameplay of the Fallout games are plenty solid on their own, the post-apocalyptic franchise wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without its quirky, retro-styled vision of the future. The world gamers will soon be returning to in Fallout 4 parted ways with ours sometime in the aftermath of World War II, leading to a reality where the kitschy tropes of 1950s futurism, from ray-guns to household robots, all became reality. The trappings of the “all the world’s a World’s Fair” civilization that came before the bombs dropped help set Fallout apart from the countless other post-apocalyptic stories that clutter the pop-culture landscape.
Few Fallout relics are as iconic and recognizable as the Pip-Boy, the wrist-mounted computer that serves as the wayward Vault Dweller’s ideal guide to the world outside. It’s the ultimate accessory, bulkier but far more stylish than your average smartphone, so it’s not surprising that there’s at least one Fallout fan out there who decided to build his very own functional Pip-Boy. Fallout 4 Collector’s Edition, eat your heart out!
The bit of real-life Fallout paraphernalia seen above is the creation of Reddit user TheMCV, who created the functional replica by combining a 3D-printed cast with a Raspberry Pi computer. The only downside is that that isn’t a touchscreen — this Pip-Boy requires a keyboard to use. Which kind of fits with the whole retro-futurism thing, I guess.
That familiar Pip-Boy interface isn’t a mock-up, however. The Raspberry Pi is actually running software that recreates the Pip-Boy interface from the game, but adds in real-life perks like being able to access a user’s location information from Google Maps. TheMCV’s video page on YouTube includes more information on the individual parts of TheMCV’s Pip-Boy, including the screen, battery pack, and a download link for the Pip-Boy emulator software. This particular Pip-Boy was made for a friend and isn’t for sale, but there’s certainly nothing stopping other industrious Fallout fans from making their own based on this design.
For the less-crafty Fallout fans out there, the Collector’s Edition of Fallout 4 includes a Pip-Boy replica designed to work with gamers’ own smartphones, which would have the advantage of a touchscreen interface and all the apps and advantages of a modern phone. The Pip-Boy Edition of the game will be a limited run, however, so expect them to become a regular sight on eBay in the years to come. Here’s what the “official” Pip-Boy looks like, as part of the Fallout 4 Collector’s Edition.
The official Pip-Boy replica isn’t perfect, however — there’s a chance many gamers’ larger phones won’t actually fit inside the rig anyway. Building one from the ground-up might be the way to go after all…
Fallout 4 is scheduled to drop onto PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 10, 2015.