Fallout: New Vegas fans have had a full year to knock around post-apocalyptic Las Vegas—shooting radioactive lizards, forming alliances and exploring the intricately detailed landscape of Southern Nevada a couple hundred years after a nuclear war with China. From Hoover Dam—still intact and generating power, even though the water level is well below the point at which the Southern Nevada Water Authority would be disturbed—to a crumbling, seedy Strip patrolled by armed robots and ringed by barbed wire, it’s all familiar-but-menacing, fun-but-alarming. The video game’s dark triumph is that it presents a future that feels as plausible as any other, considering the times we live in.
And now the rich backstory of Las Vegas’ tumble into near anarchy is available for those of us who don’t spend evenings and weekends with an Xbox 360 controller in our sweaty palms, thanks to the recent release of the downloadable, 48-page graphic novel All Roads. Written by Chris Avellone, Fallout: New Vegas’ creative director, All Roads is a comic-book style ramp up to the events you live out in the game. It lays out the turf war between Caesars Legion—get it?—to the east and the New California Republic to the west, shrewdly exploiting our regional bias about Big Brother California in the process. No man’s land in the middle is New Vegas, where the cheerfully sinister Mr. House controls the Strip—pretty much the same guy in charge these days.
Published by Dark Horse Digital (Digital.Darkhorse.com), All Roads is formatted for smartphones and tablets, and costs a mere $2.99. Turning pages and zooming in and out on a smaller phone screen makes for a clunky reading experience, so get the tablet version if you have a choice. But no matter which format you choose, the message is clear: Dystopia can be damn entertaining.