Ok, so I think we’ve established Fallout 76 hasn’t been the most successful from a critical perspective – but one thing that’s kept me absolutely fascinated by the game is its community, who keep coming up with inventive (or illicit) new ways to play the game.
One of the most flamboyant creators is Vault101manguy – a Canadian called Mike who we previously interviewed about his Deathclaw maze, player oven and murder church. This time he’s made something far, far worse: a trap room where players are forced to do maths – or die. It’s all very Fallout.
In order to fool players, Mike first constructed a convincing school complete with lockers, desks, bookshelves, and even small details like “page nine math homework due on Monday” written on a blackboard. On the outside it resembles a traditional American school: but should unfortunate wastelanders step inside the “tutoring room”, they’ll get more than they bargained for.
“Curious wastelanders who investigate the school and enter the room suddenly find the door mechanically locked behind them,” Mike explained on Reddit. “The game then begins.”
On the wall is a sign saying “keep calm, do math, open door to live” – with a keypad next to the door asking players to show their work. The maths question itself is relatively simple if you remember BIDMAS from junior school: 230 x 10 + 2 – but perhaps it’s hard to think clearly when everything around you is literally going up in smoke.
“If they fail they are burned and irradiated until they die,” Mike elaborated. “They cannot fast travel away. Locked in the room above is a single bloatfly that keeps them in combat long enough for damage to interrupt fast travel. His name is Charles.
“Stimpaks and radaway buy time but the only way to survive is to solve the math.”
From watching the video, it’s clear this maths problem was more of a challenge for some than others. Condolences to the person who solved the question and died just as they were heading out the door – this is why you should always keep an eye on the clock during exams, kids.
It’s clear a huge amount of preparation went into making this work (plus repairing the room after each use) – and Mike found it took some tweaking to get players to actually read the signs. To help with this, Mike only started burning people when he felt convinced they understood the task at hand. How kind.
In what sounds like a monologue from a Saw film, Mike also explained his reasoning for creating the
murder maths camp.
“I’ve seen a lot of player built trap camps over the last few months. Usually it’s someone trapping another player in a room with no exit and then burning them until they die. That can be funny sometimes but usually there isn’t much sport to this. Where is the game? Where is the excitement? If every time you flip the switch you already know the outcome it leaves no suspense… no thrill. A game needs to be winnable.
“Corpses may burn but nothing burns brighter than the hope of survival.”
According to Mike, most players found the experience amusing, with several coming back to try the task again if they failed. As with his previous experiments, Mike allowed his victims to retrieve their gear after death – accompanying them into the room to prove he was “being legit”.
So, aside from showcasing the full potential of the CAMP system, what’s the main takeaway from this Fallout 76 experiment?
“…test results show that many people have trouble doing math when suddenly being burned alive.”