Fallout 76 Announcement Increases Tourism to West Virginia

My morning ritual involves drinking coffee from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug (you may want to reconsider how much you take my analysis to heart, dear reader) and watching various podcasts/vlogs on YouTube, usually Ben Shapiro (or one of his colleagues), Steven Crowder, or Scott Adams.

So, one morning this week I saw an ad featuring the tantalizing E3 trailer for Fallout 76.  For the uninitiated, the Fallout series of games posits an alternate future in which the United States and China slugged it out in a thermonuclear war during the mid-twentieth century, and decades (or centuries) later humanity emerges from various “vaults” (elaborate, underground bomb shelters) to reclaim the radioactive wastelands around them.

The E3 Trailer for Fallout 76.  You should watch it at the very least for the great cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads

Yes, it’s all quite nerdy, but when you’re a ten-year old boy trapped in a hairy man’s body—and have read a lot of Cold War history—it’s the kind of thing that gets you excited in the morning.

What really excited me about this announcement is that Fallout 76 takes place in Appalachia—specifically, a big ol’ chunk of West Virginia.  Most Fallout games take place in the ash-strewn ruins of metropolitan areas, including Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and Boston.  Other than the rural deserts of Nevada, the game has not delved much into an almost-exclusively rural region (more die-hard fans will surely object; I’m not as familiar with the first two Fallout games and their settings, other than they seem to be focused on California; respectful corrections are welcome).

I’d always wondered what it would be like to experience a post-apocalyptic South Carolina (digitally, to be clear; fortunately, it looks like President Trump is ensuring we won’t have to do so for real), and have been hoping for a Fallout game set in the rural South.  West Virginia isn’t really the South—I’m sure that will rile up further controversy—but it’s close enough.  I assume that, if nuclear Armageddon were to occur, the best place to be would be somewhere rural enough the ChiComs wouldn’t try to blow it up.

So, what does this have to do with politics, the purported purpose of this portly page?  Vanishingly little, other than it is cool to see a major video game set in the heart of Trump Country.

But the game’s setting has had an interesting economic impact.  Apparently, online searches pertaining to tourism to West Virginia have shot up; the site West Virginia Explorer has seen fifteen times the traffic since the game was announced.  The theme park Camden Park has seen an increase in calls for merchandise and inquiries about ticket sales.

West Virginia has struggled economically, especially during the Obama administration’s war on coal, and while it has enjoyed a mild comeback under President Trump, it’s still a very poor State.

Further, one usually one only sees video games in the news when some specious talking head claims they cause violence (they don’t), so it’s refreshing to see one having a positive effect on a beautiful State that could surely benefit from the tourism dollars.

My recommendation for the next Fallout game?  Set that sucker in the ruins of Charleston, South Carolina… or maybe Cheraw.

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