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Super Mutants, Killer Robots And Ghouls: Take A Tour Of Fallout 4's Massachusetts


In just about three weeks, the new "Star Wars" movie will dwarf everything you know and love. But before that happens, try to guess the biggest entertainment release so far this year. Adele's latest album sold over three million copies in the U.S. in barely a week - best first week sales of any album, ever. "Jurassic World" - that plucky little movie could only manage $652 million at the box office.

So the answer? The biggest entertainment release this year is a video game, "Fallout 4." Set in post-apocalyptic Massachusetts, it made $750 million in just 24 hours. If you haven't played it, Chris Suellentrop and JJ Sutherland of the podcast Shall We Play a Game? can tell you about it.

JJ SUTHERLAND: So the worst thing about Jamaica Plain is the ghouls. Sure, Faneuil Hall is full of super mutants...


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (As character) Let's play.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (As character) Nah, they never just want to talk.

SUTHERLAND: ...There are killer robots hunting through the ruins of Cambridge...


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (As character) Now I understand. You are hiding because you fear death.

SUTHERLAND: ...And there is something unspeakable in Salem. But the Jamaica Plain ghouls are the ones that freaked me out - corpses animated by the radiation from the day the bombs fell in 2077. "Fallout 4" is set in the year 2287. It's the latest.

CHRIS SUELLENTROP: The fifth game, actually - because video game sequels have trouble with counting - in a series about America in a blasted, post-nuclear wasteland.

SUTHERLAND: There is a tightly scripted narrative, but for most "Fallout" players, the game is less a story to witness than a place to visit, like the real Boston. But there are conflicts and love and betrayal...


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (As character) The brotherhood is here to prevent a war by starting one of our own.

SUTHERLAND: ...Or, you could ignore all that and spend most of your time building houses and planting crops. You begin the game after being frozen for 200 years. Your wife has been killed and your infant son kidnapped.

SUELLENTROP: Or maybe your husband has been killed. I played as the woman and felt like Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill," tracking down the people who had stolen my child.

SUTHERLAND: So how long did it take you, Chris?

SUELLENTROP: About 35 hours. The first seven or eight hours can be overwhelming. The game doesn't do much to explain itself. Games don't come with instruction manuals anymore so instead you do a lot of Googling when you get confused or stuck. But once I reached Fenway Park, I was hooked.

SUTHERLAND: What I love about this game - and I'm about 60 hours in at this point - is that even though your personal quest does end, the world moves on. This is a game you can play for hundreds of hours. It costs 60 bucks, but it's like getting all six seasons of "The Sopranos" at once, and that allows for many Boston stories to be told - hunting down a Whitey Bulger type who has remained alive and in hiding for 200 years.

SUELLENTROP: Following the Freedom Trail...


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: (As character) Welcome, patriot, to Boston Common, the start of the Freedom Trail.

SUTHERLAND: ...Fighting with laser muskets on Lexington Green...


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: (As character) Mr. Navigator, light the engines. Dreaded savings and loan, thee shall be more no longer. We are away.

SUTHERLAND: ...Or helping a crew of mad robots take the USS Constitution on its final journey towards the sea.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: (As character) Two points to starboard.

SUELLENTROP: Or just visiting Bunker Hill, or trying to romance a singer in a bar or finding out whether anything lurks at the bottom of Boston Harbor.

SUTHERLAND: You should play this game. It's a hard game. You'll die a lot. But you'll spend the next few weeks or month of your life in the Commonwealth.

SHAPIRO: JJ Sutherland and Chris Suellentrop are the co-hosts of the podcast Shall We Play a Game? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.