A still of Fallout's Lucy MacLean combined with a Pip-Boy image from Fallout 4

Fallout Season 1: What a Pip-Boy Is, Explained

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Fallout Season 1.

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The Pip-Boy is a key part of the Fallout video games’ mythos – so, what exactly is it? And which model appears in Season 1 of Prime Video’s Fallout show?

Related: Fallout Season 1: Vault-Tec and Vault Boy, Explained

What Is a Pip-Boy In Fallout Canon?

The Pip-Boy is a wearable computer; “Pip” stands for “Personal Information Processor.” Developed by RobCo Industries before the Great War, the Pip-Boy was standard issue equipment in all Vault-Tec Vaults. That said, Vault-dwellers aren’t the only Wasteland inhabitants rocking these devices post-War. Notably, the Free States militia has its own Pip-Boy stash in Fallout 76. Other Wastelanders will also go to great lengths to obtain a Pip-Boy – and with good reason. Depending on the model, a Pip-Boy boasts the following capabilities:

  • tracking the wearer’s health and inventory
  • storing text files, images, maps, and audio recordings
  • providing directions and alerting the wearer to nearby hostiles (via a built-in compass)
  • monitoring radiation levels (via a Geiger counter), and
  • illuminating dark areas (via a built-in flashlight).

Related: Fallout Season 1: What a Ghoul Is, Explained

A Pip-Boy can also grant access to sealed Vaults, as revealed by Moldaver using Rose MacLean’s Pip-Boy to infiltrate Vault 32 in Fallout Season 1. How exactly Moldaver pulled this off remains unclear, however, as Rose’s Pip-Boy (like all of them) is biometrically locked to its user.

Which Pip-Boy Model Appears in Fallout Season 1?

In total, six canonical Pip-Boy models exist:

  1. Pip-Boy 1.0 (Fallout 4)
  2. Pip-Boy 2000 (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics)
  3. Pip-Boy 2000 Mark VI (Fallout 76)
  4. Pip-Boy 3000 (Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas)
  5. Pimp-Boy 3 Billion (Fallout: New Vegas)
  6. Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV (Fallout 4)

It’s unclear which (if any) of the above models appear in Fallout Season 1, although the device sported by Lucy MacLean looks like a 3000-series variant. Regardless, the Pip-Boy props Lucy actor Ella Purnell and her co-stars wore were surprisingly functional. Indeed, Purnell’s on-screen dad, Kyle MacLachlan, raved about his working Pip-Boy in a recent Total Film interview.

Related: Is Prime Video’s Fallout Getting a Season 2?

“I love working with the little Pip-Boy,” MacLachlan said. “Taking that idea, an animated concept, and turning it into a real piece of working equipment, that was really fun. They actually did program some stuff in there that we could play with… little location things [and] some other movement. It was all pre-programmed, of course, but you actually had something you could interact with which is not just a blank something that you’re looking at.”

Fallout Season 1 is now streaming on Prime Video.


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Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.