Fallout '76 anniversary marked with artwork

Neil McGreevy

To celebrate Fallout '76's third anniversary, the game's publisher, Bethesda, has commissioned four pieces of art starring the series' iconic mascot, Vault Boy, in each of the UK's regions.

Belfast-born designer Alana McDowell took up the local mantle with a piece of candy-coloured whimsy showcasing all that's great about our wee country.

The poster boy for Fallout's in-game Vault-Tec Corporation, Vault Boy is forever giving a thumbs-up - and it's not to say everything's A-OK.

Amazingly, governments once recommended you compare the size of a distant nuclear explosion to your thumb.

If it was bigger, you were in the radiation zone - so enjoy that thumb while you can.

Swapping mushroom clouds for the rainy type, Irish designer and muralist McDowell depicts a leprechaun-hatted Vault Boy bathing in a pint of Guinness while a grey Slieve Donard looms in the background.

There's even a nod to our very own rictus-grinned corporate icon in the form of Mr Tayto, as a pot of "gold" overflows with bags of Tandragee's finest.

And with his shamrock kecks on the ground, it seems Fallout's most enduring character is getting a little too-intimately acquainted with the black stuff.Belfast-based Alana works across a number of mediums and creative sectors, and commissions for her pop-culture inspired images range from Nike to Schwarzkopf.

Her home-grown take on Fallout is a far cry from England's apocalyptic offering, where Vault Boy stands astride the ruins of London.

Our Scottish cousins have opted for a kilted Vault Boy against the Glasgow crest while Wales' interpretation shows the twin Taffy passions for dragons and rugby.

Poorly received on release, when it launched with more bugs than a hobo's hat, Fallout '76 was a clumsy attempt to hoist online mechanics onto the series' classic single-player gameplay.

Three years on, and much has improved. Welcome post-release sanding has smoothed some of its rougher edges while Bethesda keeps the new content coming, making Fallout '76 well worth the price of admission - which is peanuts these days, with both PS4 and Xbox versions available for under a tenner.

With obvious bias, Alana McDowell's is easily the best of the UK's celebratory cartoons, doing our country proud with a cheery design that prudently avoids the obvious similarities between this part of the world and a grim first-person shooter. Though surely Vault Boy is much too young to be drinking...

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