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Vault Boy's Thumbs Up Has A Deeper Meaning Than You Realized

If you're a fan of the Fallout series, you're likely familiar with the Vault Boy shtick by now. Sure, the world is a nuclear wasteland, everything and everyone you loved before is gone, and mutants will probably kill you... but everything is peachy! Thumbs up, says Vault Boy! Little did we know, that thumbs up signal means a little more than we first thought.


Once upon a time, when the world was on the brink of nuclear war, it's believed that the U.S. government gave citizens some pointers on how to remain safe in the event of an attack. If someone were to witness a nuclear blast, they were asked to hold their thumb up to the mushroom cloud in the distance and compare the two. If the mushroom cloud was larger than that person's thumb, that meant the blast dangerously close and an immediate evacuation was necessary.

That appears to be what Vault Boy is doing here. Pretty wild, right? After all these years, we're finally understanding that Vault Boy's weirdly happy thumbs up and wink might not be those at all. He's demonstrating (what some thought to be) the proper way to determine one's risk of being poisoned by nuclear radiation. Our minds are blown.


It makes us wonder: is the Fallout franchise hiding any other mysteries in things that otherwise seem normal? We might have to dig around and see if there are any other nods to Cold War-era survival tips in Fallout games or marketing materials. In the meantime, be sure to share this one with your friends. There's a good idea they probably didn't catch the significance of the "thumbs up," either.

Also, do you think this trick works with video games? If we see something like Fallout 76 from a distance, can our thumbs tell us how big of a disaster it'll be? We kid, we kid.