Chatting with Vault Dwellers from PAX

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Last month at PAX, we had plenty of memorable moments at our booth. One of my personal favorites was when a group of three guys in Vault 13 costumes showed up to see the game. We were so blown away by the effort they put into their costumes, we gave them a chance to kick back, drink some Nuka-Cola and play Fallout 3 within our Airstream trailer.

Recently I caught up with the trio to talk costumes, PAX, and Fallout 3. Check it out after the break.

First, let’s meet the three amigos…

Name: Chad Giusti
Where you live: In an attic in Eugene, OR.
Occupation/School: PhD candidate in Mathematics, University of Oregon.

Name: Zac Bond
Where you live: Eugene, OR
Occupation/School: I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in English, which I am currently using to its full potential at UPS.

Name: Javier Rodriguez
Where you live: Eugene as well.
Occupation/School: I’m a managerial cog in the wheel of a large fast food franchise. I am not, in fact, “lovin’ it.” Childhood obesity is my paycheck. I also have aspiration of being a graphic artist.

And now the interview…

How did you guys meet?
Zac: We all met through mutual friends in Eugene.

How/when did you guys first get into Fallout?
Chad: I briefly played Wasteland in the late 80’s, but was too young to appreciate it at the time. At a friend’s recommendation, I played the first Fallout within a few weeks of its release and was hooked; I got my copy of Fallout 2 the day it was released.

Zac: I read a preview for Fallout in a gaming magazine in ’97, and it looked so awesome I got it right when it came out. As soon as Fallout 2 came along I snapped that up as well.

Javier: I was a little late in the game. I didn’t pick a copy of the game until 2001 when i was introduced to it by a mutual friend of ours. This lead to many sleepless nights on my computer and becoming romantically involved with coffee. Today we have been married for 7 years and still going strong. Thank you Fallout.

Of the previous titles in the series, which is your favorite?
Chad: I have to go with Fallout 2, though possibly this is due to recently replaying the game after the release of the Fallout 2 Restoration Project.

Zac: The depth of the quests, the overall story, diversification of skills (i.e. a bit more for science characters to do!), and the darker atmosphere of Fallout 2 all help make it the better game. Also Killapp’s FRP is great.

Jav: I say that hands down the best Fallout game was Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The removal of all conversation options and role-playing elements really gave depth to the action aspects the game. If it wasn’t for that game being a travesty, I’d put it at number one. My actual favorite is Fallout 2 because it expanded upon its predecessor, which was a great game in its own right.

Of the known Vaults in Fallout lore, which one is your favorite?
Chad: Vault 8, because those guys have a great attitude.

Zac: Vault 15, because its former inhabitants are a big part of the wasteland in both games, and the story of Vault 15 is a great example of all the work the original developers put into the back-story of the Fallout series.

Jav: Vault 12, because who doesn’t find backwater ghouls operating a thermal nuclear power plant hilarious?  Ikid, my mother was a backwater ghoul and it’s a dangerous job.

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Who came up with the idea to dress up at PAX?
Zac: It came out of a conversation we had last year. We are always impressed by the costumes at PAX and felt Fallout wasn’t getting enough love.

Have you guys ever done anything like that before? Would you do it again for Fallout or another game?
Chad: We did a less extensive Battlestar Galactica group costume for Halloween last year. I’d be game, if an idea piqued my interest.

Zac: Oh yeah, the BSG costumes. I got a red dress and fake boobs and went as Six… We uh, don’t have a Flickr gallery for that one.

Jav: There are a few pictures available online I could put on Flickr, but it’s probably for the best no one sees them. It was a unsettling night to say the least. Next year for PAX we’ve discussed briefly coming back “leveled up, but we still haven’t decided how reasonable it is to fabricate powered armor. At least we wouldn’t be mistaken for Ghostbusters.

How long did you guys work on making your costumes? What was the most difficult part of putting them together?
Chad: I spent more than 40 hours in the five days leading up to PAX working on the PipBoys. This should have been less stressful, but a shipping error or three made sure that everything came down to the wire. I should mention that their construction wouldn’t have been possible without the charitable and skilled assistance of Jennifer Wall, who taught me how to mold plastic. The rest of the process is something of a blur for me.

Zac: We spent a year talking about them and about three frantic days working on them. The paint was barely dry when we left for PAX. We didn’t get a lot of sleep in the last couple of days, Chad especially.

Jav: We really are bad procrastinators. In truth, I remember the last frantic hours before PAX trying to get all the accessories finished. I’m still disappointed that a lot of  items that where made just didn’t workand had to be left behind. The PipBoys where by far the most difficult, which wouldn’t have been possible without Chad.

You guys really went the extra mile with the details of your costumes. What was your favorite part of your costumes?
Chad: Maybe it’s just all of the effort we poured into them, but I’ll have to go with the PipBoys.

Zac: The PipBoys for sure, but I like all the little stuff, like the Cat’s Paw magazine. We had a graphic artist friend come through for us in the 11th hour to make the Mentats boxes, which I also love.

Jav: Yeah, the PipBoys have to be my favorite as well. It was by far the most involved process in making the costumes, although the plastic knife I bought at the dollar store had some sentimental value.

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After getting a chance to play Fallout 3, what can you say you enjoyed most about the game?
Chad: I was surprised how much I liked VATS, which did a lot to soothe my irrational longing for turn-based combat. The few snippets of conversation we saw were also promising, but too brief to pass any real judgment.

Zac: I liked that I could start trouble with anyone I felt and that it didn’t feel like the game was pulling any punches. Also the atmosphere was dead-on.

Jav: Initially, I had concerns I’d spend all my time harvesting nirnroot to power my energy weapons. I really enjoyed the VATS system, it manages to keep the original flavor of gameplay while speeding up combat and making it less of a grind. After I unloaded a clip into a unsuspecting raider skull in slow-mo, I was sold.

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Do you guys have any plans for the release of the game?
Chad: The game is scheduled for release around the same time as I’ll be submitting the initial draft of my dissertation, so I suppose I’ll be getting even less sleep for a while there.

Zac: I’ll be picking up the PC version and calling in sick to work.

Jav: I want that sheriffs hat.

Reader Comments

  1. Nice costumes….but even better accessories. But to be honest I was hoping they’d touch more on what the game is like and what three average guys had to say about it.

  2. Cool interview, Cool Vault suits and accessories, especially the PipBoy 2000

    Well we have seen/read who, the crew who makes this awsome game, are. So it was just a matter of time before someone interviewed the fans :-).