Does Fallout 3 predict the future?
Welcome to the 12th myth of the Gamebusters series, where we track down video game rumors and try to debunk them. This week we’ll be taking on a rather strange one revolving around a popular game, Fallout 3.
The myth goes that the game actually predicts the future. For those unaware, you can decide to kill Three Dog, the man who operates Galaxy News Radio, and he’ll be replaced by Margaret, the technician. If you do and you follow specific conditions, however, you will encounter GNR as a “Numbers Station”, which broadcasts coded messages.
If you hit the circumstances after destroying Raven Rock, you’ll receive the message, “Radio signal lost,” which is quickly followed by “Radio signal found”. Once you get high enough (Raven Rock is located in the mountains and is one of the few places where you can get high enough to catch the signal), you will hear a familiar voice that shouldn’t be broadcasting anything; Three Dog.
You may notice that Three Dog doesn’t seem to be “in character”, however, and he will proceed to read out a series of numbers in a monotone, almost depressed sounding voice. These numbers are always single digits between 9 and 12 characters long, such as, “nine-three-seven-nine-one-seven-two-zero-three-four”. He then proceeds to utilize Morse code to send a message then plays the song, I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.
Some messages broadcasted included, “Washed the car today. Maybe Chinese for dinner,” and “Have you watched my YouTube video yet? I uploaded myself kicking bums in the nuts.”
“Wait a second, YouTube doesn’t exist in the Fallout universe,” you may be thinking, and you’d be absolutely correct. This has led more to believe that all of these coded messages have to do with real-life events. Soon a player noticed a message that brought light to the true meaning of these broadcasts. This was the line, “One-two-five-five-two-eight-two-zero-one-zero. What you talkin’ ’bout? You’ll be missed.” This player realized that the message referred to Gary Coleman’s death and that the numbers were the time and date of his death.
The game, having been more than a year old at this time, piqued his interest even more and he quickly looked for more examples. He found the next message, zero. Accident one assessment that the well was not leaking.
The game didn’t just predict the future, however, as some messages were actually from the past. One (we’ll be using the time/date format from now on in the myth instead of typing out the numbers) stated, “22:15 April 15, 1865. He’s dead and the blame will probably be placed on that actor, Booth. Johnson better not cheat me out of the payment.” This particular message has caused gamers to shed new doubt on the official version of Lincoln’s assassination.
The rumor goes on to state that the community quickly started piling up interpretations of these strange messages. The mods of the site, however, wouldn’t just sit back and let this occur, and quickly banned everybody who had posted in or even read the thread. They also removed all references to the numbers station from FalloutWiki and put in filtering software to prevent people from reposting any information about the station.
Here are a few of the other messages: “4:02 March 19, 2014. The Queen has died today. The world mourns, as on days like these we are all Brits.”
“24:16 December 24, 2012. Have you watched my YouTube video yet? I uploaded myself kicking bums in the nuts.”
“21:33 February 27, 2023. I can’t believe Britney’s actually won an Oscar!”
Finally, there is one, and only one message that is not preceded by a string of numbers. This message states, “I can’t believe
they’ve actually done it. Not long left. They were warned, but they just had to keep pushing the boundaries of science. The noise. I can’t take the noise anymore. And the light, dear God! The universe is slowly unraveling around us. I’m not going to wait for death. I have a pistol in the attic.”
The latest date on the messages is 1:27 on July 6, 2027.
Myth or fact? To be completely honest, this one is a bit hard to prove or disprove. The previous predictions about the BP spill and Gary Coleman’s death could have been modded into the game or faked after the fact (from what we were able to uncover, these messages were posted after the events occurred, so we must admit this possibility) in order to start an urban legend. That said, upon looking, we weren’t able to find a video of somebody kicking bums in the nuts that was dated on December 24, 2012. The first true test will likely be next month. If the Queen does indeed die on March 19, 2014, we’ll be surprised, but we’d have to then admit that there is truth to this rumor. For now though, the sheer lack of evidence forces us to declare it to be nothing more than a myth. If the prediction comes true, we’ll update this myth.