The iconic thumbs up of Fallout 4’s Vault Boy may have a deeper meaning than originally thought, and one that could help save lives in the event of an atomic bomb.
Vault Boy has long been an important icon for the Fallout franchise, and Fallout 4 is no different. The character’s smile and thumbs up seem to clash with the post-apocalyptic nature of the series, but there’s actually a deeper meaning that’s much more connected to the world of Fallout than first meets the eye.
A closer look at Fallout 4’s Vault Boy shows he’s closing his left eye, and looking at his thumb with his right. The reason for this is to see how safe he is in the face of an atomic blast. It’s not something used very often today, but if someone sees a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb, the government used to recommend the person stick their thumb out. If the blast is bigger than the person’s thumb, they are within the radiation zone and should evacuate.
While this is a fun and interesting fact, it seems sites like Reddit and the occasional meme are the only references for this helpful fact. From what we could find online, there are no notable sources verifying this claim.
That doesn’t necessarily make it any less interesting. But it does bring up the question for where this “fact” started and where the Fallout developers first picked up this tidbit. Did they find it somewhere, get it from someone who lived during the atomic bomb testing heyday of the 50s, or just make it up? Bethesda has not yet divulged the origin of this theory, or even if that’s what Vault Boy is doing. But after looking at the picture, it’s hard not to think that’s exactly why Vault Boy has his thumb out.
Despite the veracity of the claim, fans will never be able to look at Vault Boy the same way. We also wonder if that smile is because he is in fact far enough away from the blast to be safe, or if it’s a knowing smile that comes when someone accepts their own mortality.
One thing is for sure though, if an atomic bomb goes off, very few people – including the 12 million Fallout 4 players – will take the time to stick their thumb out to test whether or not the mushroom cloud is bigger than their thumb. Instead, most people will hoof it in an effort to get out of dodge and hope neither the blast nor radiation catches up with them.
What do you think about the revelation about Fallout 4’s Vault Boy thumbs up? Does it change the way you think of the young lad or the Fallout series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Fallout 4 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.