Fallout: Not Like a Real-Life Nuclear Holocaust


Renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku recently took a moment to compare the Fallout universe with the probable reality of a post-apocalyptic world, saying that real-life most likely won’t be as rosy and hopeful as the videogame.

There probably aren’t too many people who would describe the hellish setting of Fallout as optimistic. Then again, most people don’t put as much thought into it as Kaku does and of those who do, very few can bring comparably hefty grey matter to the table: He’s a theoretical physicist who specializes in string theory and whose “adviser” in high school and college was Edward Teller, the man known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.”

The Fallout world may be an unpleasant place, but Kaku says the real deal would be a whole lot worse. “When the Roman Empire fell, it fell for 1000 years – a 1000 years of chaos before we went back to the levels of 400 AD,” he told GameTrailers. “A nuclear war is going to be much worse, so we’re talking about perhaps civilization as we know it crumbling for perhaps millennia.”

Humanity would be reduced to a small fraction of its current population, while much of the world would remain a radioactive wasteland for hundreds of years. Kaku said that people who can make it through the first two weeks following an all-out war have a reasonable chance of surviving over the long term, but you can forget about developing any cool mutations like super-strength, plasma eye-beams or telekinesis to help keep you alive.

In fact, the one thing Fallout comes closest to getting right is the least pleasant possibility of all: A devastating nuclear exchange could very easily happen. He pointed out that India and Pakistan have fought several wars and are now “eyeball to eyeball” with nuclear weapons. “That could be where it starts,” he said. “China could be dragged into it, Russia could be dragged into it and we might also be dragged into it.”

This isn’t Dr. Kaku’s first foray into the science of videogames. In March he stomped all over our starfaring fantasies, saying that the technology at work in Mass Effect was theoretically feasible but still centuries away. Fallout: New Vegas, the latest chapter in the RPG franchise set in a blasted world that suddenly doesn’t look so bad, comes out on October 19 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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