The fictional video game “Fallout 76” takes place during an alternate timeline in an apocalyptic world following an apparently world-wide nuclear holocaust. The “Fallout” series is much beloved, although this new installment was met with almost universal criticism because of how game creators chose to implement new multiplayer features. For all that criticism, though, it seems gamers still like it enough to want to see the place where “Fallout 76” is set — West Virginia.
In “Fallout 76” you take on the role of a character who has lived in an underground “vault” since the bombs fell. The first quest in the game is called “Reclamation Day.” This holiday was meant to celebrate the day that humans once again stepped out into the real world to build a life for themselves.
But West Virginia Governor Jim Justice decided to suck people into his state by making Reclamation Day a real holiday.
Justice’s proclamation lists the various locations a player can visit in-game, although with the innumerable historical and cultural references. What better way to learn about West Virginia? But the “holiday” isn’t as official as it gets, which means although it’s recognized by the state, it isn’t technically a state holiday. You can’t legally take the day off from work. Oh well.
Before the game was released, David Sibray’s website WVExplorer.com experienced much increased traffic. “Typically we had been getting around 2,000 people a day. Now we’ve been up to around 30,000 people a day.”
West Virginia might just be one of the most undervalued and underrated states in the country — but it also encompasses one of the most interesting histories and some of the most diverse landscapes the country has to offer.
Camden Park, a location in “Fallout 76,” found its phone lines busy before the game was released last year. “We’ve gotten calls in the office about people wanting to buy T-shirts from here just because of the game,” said one employee, Autumn Smithers, who says she will buy the game because the park is featured.
Camden Park Ride Supervisor Shawn Wellman said the park is preparing for increased traffic over the next year or two. “This is kind of a first,” he said. “That we have been in a video game, and that will impact us like this. We’ve never had this kind of national publicity, so we are waiting to see what happens.”