Life in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi future portrayed in the video game Fallout 4 is tough: You're constantly scavenging for food, weapons, and shelter, and you spend more than a little time fighting for your life. Like its recent franchise predecessors, Fallout 4 is a massive open-world role-playing game that gives players endless opportunities to explore and interact with the series' quirky, bleak vision of America's future. Fallout 3 was set in Washington, D.C.; 4 takes place in Boston, ensuring opportunities for plenty more warped Americana.
What's most surprising is how much the game resembles the present. The America it presents is strangely, surprisingly similar to our own: There are places to drink and socialize, towns and cities with their own complicated internal politics, and endless opportunities to work and trade, to buy and sell, sometimes to help your fellow man (or robot), and sometimes just to help yourself. The post-apocalypse is what you make of it.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Apocalypse Later".