Mario vs. Sonic. Call of Duty vs. Battlefield. Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat. Final Fantasy vs. Dragon Quest. Most of the great rivalries throughout video game history aren't just a battle between franchises but between game companies themselves, with Mario and Sonic for instance basically symbolizing Nintendo vs. Sega in general. That said, sometimes a video game franchise rivalry can be just as heated between two series from the same company-- as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest became after the Square/Enix merger-- and few examples of that are more notorious than the fight between Bethesda's Fallout and Syrim.
The Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises have very different histories, with Fallout not even starting out as a Bethesda property but becoming one with the release of Fallout 3. Coincidentally, that's when that series first ran up against Elder Scrolls with the release of breakout entry Skyrim, which marked Elder Scrolls' transition from niche RPG series to major AAA game franchise on the level of a Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.
Even though their settings are quite different, and one involves guns and bombs and the other involves swords and magic, Skyrim and the modern Fallout games play very similarly-- similarly enough that they are often compared and fought over. Today, we've decided to take the angle that Fallout is the superior one, and what better what to prove that than how all debates are settled on the internet: through a series of hilarious memes.
20 Been There, Done That
When the original Fallout launched in 1997, it stood out from most of the role-playing fare of the time by taking place not in a medieval-flavored fantasy world of knights, dragons, and magic but in real-world-inspired locales in a post-apocalyptic future. Few RPGs took place in the future, let alone in the "real world"-- and even fewer had weapons that included machine guns, rocket launchers, and nuclear bombs.
In fact, it's those unique elements that make the Fallout series stand out to this day, as many other games in the genre-- The Witcher, Dragon Age, Dark Souls, Dragon Quest, etc-- still adhere fairly closely to the same Tolkein-esque fantasy tropes that the genre has been overdoing for 40+ years now. Another game that is very much guilty of that? Skyrim, of course. While various elements of its gameplay are unique enough, the fact remains that Skyrim is still wrapped in the overly familiar trappings of a guy with a sword and magical powers traversing a medieval countryside filled with towns and taverns and having to battle rats, giant spiders, and eventually dragons-- all of which gamers have been doing since people were still wearing bellbottoms and listening to the Bee Gees. In fact, pen-and-paper RPG fans were doing it even longer ago than that.
19 A Tale Of Two Mels
Okay, so Mel Gibson doesn't have the cache that he used to have, for reasons both valid and not worth getting into right now. But for a good long while there, he was one of Hollywood's biggest stars and fronted some of the most successful and/or beloved movies of all time. He also made a lot of the types of movies that would inspire, say, video games-- and it seems like the folks at Bethesda are fans. This is one of several memes on this list that can either be taken as more pro-Fallout or pro-Skyrim-- but we're here to make the case that Fallout comes out ahead here.
Sure, Braveheart won Oscars and all that good stuff, and Mad Max...not so much (at least not the original; Hollywood finally made good on the Oscar nomination love with Fury Road). But what wins Oscars isn't always what is the coolest movie, or the movie that the average moviegoer likes the best. And for gamers, Mad Max is way cooler than Braveheart, making whatever game is inspired by it automatically more awesome.
Case in point: can you name the character Gibson plays in Braveheart...without looking it up? Yeah, we thought not. So it's Mad Max himself versus nameless historical Scottish dude-- 'nuff daid.
18 My Eyes Are Up Here
An RPG without treasure chests is kind of like a Halo game without Master Chief-- it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sure, games sometimes switch things up from the traditional wooden box that you'd expect a pirate to plunder, but the basic functionality is still the same: find one, open it up, and help yourself to whatever random and oftentimes nonsensical prize you find inside. Or, depending on the game, the chest might be a mimic and turn into a monster that you have to fight-- and in most RPGs, it's a really, really hard monster, too.
Let's be honest, though-- actually opening treasure chests is tedious and ain't nobody got time for that.
So a lot of games, Skyrim and Fallout included, just let you-- for reasons unexplained-- simply look at a treasure chest and know its contents. Skyrim only tells you if the chest is empty or not (and you'll still look inside even if it is, but that's irrelevant). Fallout, on the other hand, tells you what's in a chest before you waste the time of actually opening it up all the way. Again, you'll probably still look in there anyway, but your OCD isn't Fallout's fault.
17 Kermit Spills The Nuka Cola
One thing that ,uixmight be eating at some of you as you read through this list: the fact that we're essentially comparing a single game (Skyrim) to an entire franchise (Fallout), or at least the most recent few entries of said franchise. Moreover, a lot of these memes are going to focus specifically on Fallout 4, which is a 2015 release-- four full years after the initial launch of Skyrim. So isn't that a little unfair of a comparison, you might be asking us?
For starters, Skyrim fans are all too eager to put their game of choice up against the whole of the modern Fallout games, so when Fallout fans come back with things about Fallout 4, turnabout is fair play. Beyond that, there hasn't been a true follow-up to Skyrim yet, and the only new, non-mobile-spinoff Elder Scrolls game released since Skyrim has been The Elder Scrolls online-- and we obviously can't compare MMOs to non-MMOs.
Mostly, it's easy to insinuate that the main takeaway from all this is that there is a reason why there has been new Fallout games since 2011 but not a new Skyrim game-- and in case that isn't obvious enough, don't worry, we'll dig more into it later.
16 Today I'll Be Playing Generic Knight #82
Ah, cosplay-- is there anything that further illustrates the intense level of passion and fandom that video games inspire than the many hours that people put into crafting costumes based on their favorite games and characters? And to that end, both Fallout and Skyrim have countless examples of stellar cosplay based on them, and you can get lost for hours in Google image searches or browsing DeviantArt for Fallout and Skyrim cosplay.
Above you'll find three examples of amazing cosplay-- the Fallout power suit is courtesy of PeachyLeaf Cosplay, the vault dweller is DeviantArt user atomic-cocktail, and the Skyrim knight is DeviantArt's doublezerofx. Before we start picking on the Skyrim cosplay, please know that it isn't about the quality of the costume itself nor is it meant to be a knock against the cosplayer. That said, would anyone but a hardcore Skyrim fan even recognize the character? He kind of just looks like a knight from a million other swords-and-sorcery games. Whereas the Fallout cosplay can be instantly identified by just about anyone with even a passing knowledge of the series, even if they've only seen advertisements for it. To us, that just speaks to how much more unique and iconic Fallout's characters are compared to those in Skyrim.
Cosplay, clockwise from upper left, by PeachyLeaf Cosplay, doublezerofx.deviantart.com, and atomic-cocktail.deviantart.com.
15 The Bethesda Cinematic Universe?
People just love to try and connect multiple franchises of something into a single, overarching universe-- thank you very much, Marvel movies-- and it often takes outlandish conspiracy theories in order to accomplish those connections.
Other than just being by the same company, Fallout and Skyrim do play fairly similarly, and it isn't hard to position them as just installments in a single series rather than separate franchises altogether.
How do you connect a medieval-esque fantasy game world with one that takes place in real world locations decimated by a nuclear war?
The most obvious thing to do would be to have Skyrim take place in the past and Fallout take place in the future-- but that's way too easy for the type of people who like to concoct these fan theories. So some people have actually swapped the two franchises chronologically, having Skyrim's setting be a world that has had to start over after a nuclear apocalypse and has only reached the equivalent of the middle ages from a technological standpoint-- but that the magic that exists in that world is a result of the radiation that the planet and the human race had been exposed to ever since the events just prior to Fallout.
So what does this mean for the rivalry between the two? Well, it means that Skyrim couldn't have happened with Fallout-- so by default, that makes Fallout superior, obviously.
14 My Eyes Are Up Here, Part 2
We'll try to avoid getting all SJW on you here, but facts are facts: Women in role-playing games often get the short end of the stick when it comes to their "armor." While male fantasy characters get all kinds of protection, especially as they progress through a game, the women of those same games seem to just get progressively less-dressed the more they level up. No matter how high a female RPG character's defense stats are or whether she's found the absolute strongest armor in the game that is available to her, there always seems to be a convenient lack of covering near the chest and/or rear-end areas.
To be fair, Skyrim does tend to treat the fairer sex a little better and more tastefully than a lot of other RPGs-- cough The Witcher cough-- but it is still plenty guilty of featuring female armor that seems more designed for the male gaze than actual protection in battle. By contrast, in the Fallout world, armor is basically armor, especially Power Armor-- until a woman takes her helmet off and reveals long hair or lack of an Adam's Apple, you can't even tell if the person underneath is a man or a woman. What a crazy concept, armor that is exactly the same no matter what combination of chromosomes a person has!
13 It's All In How You Look At It
This is another one of the memes that can go either way-- it could be used by Skyrim fans as proof Fallout is inferior and it can be used by Fallout fans to prove the opposite. To be completely honest, the person who created this meme very likely had the former idea in mind, as suggested by the use of a frowning, pouting Vault Boy. Still, all memes are open to interpretation no matter how obvious the original intent might be.
The implication here is that Skyrim is the better game because you get to play as a superhuman rather than a boring ol' regular person. A fair point, as video games are escapism and it can be more fun to escape into a character whose abilities exceed that of a real person. But is it as fun when you're playing as the only superhuman character in a game? How interesting would an Avengers movie be if all they fought against were normal, average people?
So if you have to have one aspect of a game be superhumans and the other be regular people, what is actually far more fulfilling is for the enemies to be the overpowered ones and the player character having to just be a regular person who needs to find a way to take down said army of supermutants.
12 Unless You're Indiana Jones...
...aliens make everything better. It's a proven scientific fact. And Skyrim's complete lack of aliens is a pretty serious check in the "con" column-- not just in its battle against Fallout, but in comparing it to other, more varied games in general.
This meme also inadvertently gets to the heart of each game's respective DLC. Skyrim's various expansion packs were basically more of the same, while Fallout 3's in particular each took the game in interesting and sometimes unexpected directions. "Operation Anchorage," for instance, puts players in virtual reality simulation of a past war fought before the events of the game, and forces them to procure all new weapons and equipment and not bring over any existing inventory.
Even better is "Mothership Zeta," which brings the world of Fallout into space aboard an alien spacecraft and has you encounter strange extraterrestrial creatures. Can you imagine Skyrim going in such a creative and off-the-wall direction (without user mods, of course)? So go ahead, pay extra money just to visit more towns and taverns and fight more spiders and dragons-- the point of DLC should be to do something completely different than the main game, not just be more of the same. If that's all you wanted, you could just play the game over again.
11 Medieval Etsy vs Post-Apocalyptic Etsy
Full disclosure: this is a carefully-selected excerpt of a larger collection of Skyrim vs. Fallout comparison comics that are clearly designed to insinuate that Skyrim is better. Even this one is technically supposed to paint Skyrim in a positive light and Fallout in a negative one. But once again, perception is everything, and we're here to explain why this particular comic says the opposite thing that its creator intended it to.
Yes, Skyrim's crafting system makes a lot more sense than Fallout's and is much deeper and more elegant. But so what?
Who wants to stop in the middle of an epic adventure to mine and craft and all that nonsense just to make slightly fancier swords and axes, when in Fallout you can just grab some duct tape or some nails or something simple like that and create crazy gun hybrids that would make a Call of Duty player jealous?
If you want to mine and craft, then...um, play Minecraft. If you want to just quickly take two weapons and mash them into a single, more powerful weapon and get on with your life, play Fallout.
10 Heaviness Is Relative
We've already addressed the difference between Fallout and Skyrim in terms of what passes for appropriate female armor. But beyond that, even the men of Skyrim should be embarrassed by their armor when compared to what the men in Fallout get to wear, and it has nothing to do with exposed body parts.
In the top two panels you see an example of "heavy armor" in Skyrim. Not only are the arms still left completely exposed, but various other components are made out of things like animal fur-- not exactly the first thing that comes to most people's minds when they imagine what materials would best protect someone in an intense battle. Compare that to Fallout's Power Armor, which looks like it can survive, well...a nuclear war. And there's a pretty good reason for that.
Yeah yeah, Skyrim's armor needs to be less bulky and allow for more maneuverability because you need to be able to swing a sword and dodge an dragon's flames in it, whereas in Fallout all you need to do is be able to pull the trigger on your chain gun. Feel free to explain to us how that doesn't make Fallout-- and its armor-- better. Go ahead, we'll wait.
9 Bugs Funny
After you've spent enough time playing Skyrim and/or Fallout, you begin to associate certain sounds with certain situations. In Skyrim, you know exactly when a dragon is in the vicinity by hearing specific noises, just like knowing that a Super Mutant is afoot in Fallout because of its unique combination of sound cues.
But there are also sounds that both games share that mean very different things depending on which one you are playing. In Fallout, the sound of a bug means you need to bust out your weapon and take down a giant Radroach or other massive, radioactively-mutated insect creature. In other words, hearing bugs doesn't mean you get to relax-- it means you get to kick some you know what, which is ultimately is why we're playing the game, right? In contrast, when you hear a bug in Skyrim, you...take out a net and catch it? Huh?
Is this an epic role-playing game about slaying dragons and saving the world from an ancient evil, or Animal Crossing? If we wanted to catch butterflies, we'd go into our back yard and catch butterflies. There is a reason why we aren't already doing that, and are choosing to sit on the couch and play a video game-- to kill stuff, not skip around and gently capture stuff to put in our Hello Kitty lunchbox.
8 Gamers: Flip-Flopping Since 1975
Modern gaming relies pretty heavily on remakes and remasters of older games. It makes sense, as it both plays into our love of nostalgia and is also a cheaper, less-resource-intensive way for game companies to pad out their release lineups without having to actually create as many brand new games.
It's a trend that we all claim to hate, but in reality we are pretty conflicted about the whole remaster thing.
If we really hated them as universally as we all claim to, companies would stop making them because we weren't buying them, but we obviously are. And one of the most high-profile remasters of the last few years is the new version of Skyrim that came to PS4, XB1, Switch, and PC. The gaming community was pretty hard on Bethesda for the remastered Skyrim, especially in lieu of a new core Elder Scrolls game in the now seven years since the release of Skyrim. Just make new games, we all shouted as we pumped our fists in Bethesda's general direction.
...that is, until rumors started to crop up of a Fallout 3 remaster. Fallout 3 is even older than Skyrim, and we've had a full Fallout sequel since Fallout 3's release-- and yet, the gaming community seemed to go nuts over the prospect of a Fallout 3 remaster. Interesting, no?
7 Taking A Knee
"I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee..."
It has become one of the most unintentionally hilarious quotes in gaming history, right up there with "All your base are belong to us" and "Mankind ill needs a savior such as you!" That Skyrim moment is the subject of countless memes and has been referenced all over the internet-- but let's stop and really think about what it means. It means that, in the world of Skyrim, all it takes is an arrow to the knee to end an adventurer's career flat-out.
Doesn't really speak very highly to the toughness of the people in the world of Skyrim, now does it? Perhaps this is another example of why a game world full of regular people isn't the ideal experience...and also why a game world full of supermutants is. Because in Fallout, characters can take all kinds of abuse, from weapons much more powerful than arrows and in body parts much softer and more crucial than knees, and still go about their business as if to be shaking off a spitball.
Try to shoot an arrow into the knee of a bad guy in Fallout and see how far that gets you in that battle-- if anything, you'll probably just make them angry and have them come at you even harder.
6 It's The End Of The Game As We Know It (And Fallout Feels Fine)
One of Bethesda's claims to fame has been in offering players various choices throughout the course of their games, meant to alter each playthrough and give players the flexibility to see games from their own unique angle.
Just one problem: The choices you make don't end up meaning anything in Skyrim when the end credits finally roll.
What's the point of letting players make all these crucial decisions and allowing them to play the game in a huge number of different ways if the outcome is the same? Even Fallout 3, which predated Skyrim, had different endings depending on various choices that you made. Fallout 4 took things several steps forward by offering four potential endings as dictated by the choices that you made. You know, actually making you feel like your choices meant something and weren't completely arbitrary and only affected the game on a moment-to-moment basis.
Also, isn't that supposed to be the big draw to "western RPGs" vs. JRPGs, that they are actual role-playing experiences that let you go on your own adventure and aren't just following on a linear, predetermined path? Might as well just play Final Fantasy XIII if we want to experience an RPG where we are led by the hand to a specific, unchangeable outcome.
5 Fus Ro...Nah
We kind of tread this ground already, pointing out that Skyrim stars a superpowered character whereas Fallout just stars a regular dude and how that makes Fallout better, but there's even more to it that we can parse out.
Not only are you just a normal, unremarkable person in Fallout-- not a godlike being like you are in Skyrim-- but you are a normal, unremarkable person who has to scavenge a literal wasteland for weapons, gear, and supplies. There's no heading to a full-stocked weapon shop in town to buy all the stuff you need, purchased with gold bars you earned from killing monsters-- Fallout requires you to scour the corners of bombed-out factories looking for rusty pipes, bottle caps, barely-functioning guns from 200 years ago, and food and water that isn't irradiated in order to complete your quest to save the freaking world and take down the mutated beasts and bands of cannibal rovers that are out to get you.
It makes completing the quest that much more satisfying how hard you have to work to get yourself even halfway armed and dangerous, versus being "part dragon" and having the ability to cast powerful spells. Yawn. Might as well just play the game for us, Skyrim.
4 Mr. Wonka Has A Point, As Usual
We have to be honest here: Fallout 4, despite initially being critically praised and selling extremely well, was very quickly faced with a fairly loud backlash in the months following its release. Among the complaints leveled at the game where that it was glitchy (hello, it's a Bethesda game), lacked some of the magic of previous games, and perhaps worst of all, that it didn't seem to do anything new or revolutionary over Fallout 3. It's a pretty serious accusation to make against a game that came out seven years and a full console generation later.
Needless to say, Skyrim fans had a field day with Fallout 4's negative word of mouth.
In additional to piling on to the chorus of Fallout 4 hate, they couldn't help but to mock all the people who bought Fallout 4 in giddy anticipation of a new game that felt in 2015 how Fallout 3 felt in 2008-- only to find that it essentially felt like a prettier version of a game from 2008. Might as well have just been Fallout 3.5, they said, not a full-priced, $60 game. A fair point, but it begs the question of how it's any better to have bought the also full-priced Skyrim remaster, which plenty of people did.
If you're paying $60 for a game, shouldn't it at least technically be a new game even if it feels kind of like a remaster, rather than being an actual remaster?
3 Highly Illogical
It's pretty silly to start comparing the logic behind Skyrim and Fallout, as one is a game about dragons and people who can cast magic, and the other is about giant roaches and people who can drink water to heal their wounds.
But that hasn't stopped Skyrim fans from trying to nitpick the logic-- or lack thereof-- in the world of Fallout, seemingly forgetting the fact that their game of choice is based entirely around magic spells and mythical creatures. They also like to say that Fallout feels too "game-y" as compared to Skyrim, often calling attention to Fallout's VATs system as an example of that, freezing time and not only allowing players to individual target body parts but to see the percentage of how likely a hit for each body part is. Apparently all that type of stuff is okay if it's happening via hidden dice rolls behind the scene, but whatever.
The irony of Skyrim fans saying that Fallout is an illogical world is silly for many reasons, but this meme shows a pretty hilarious one-- just look at this horse, somehow standing on an almost completely vertical surface. Also look at the guy who appears to be hovering a few feet about that cliff. But yes, it's Fallout's world that lacks coherent logic...
2 How To Tame Your Dragon
Like many fantasy worlds that contain dragons, Skyrim positions the flying, fire-breathing creatures as the biggest, most deadly thing in that universe (at least in the beginning). You're told from the start that dragons are not only to be feared but avoided at all costs, treating them like Agents in The Matrix. You do eventually get powerful enough that dragons become a much smaller deal later in the game-- also like Agents in The Matrix-- but that doesn't change their role as that world's biggest threat.
Sure, dragons are big and scary and make for compelling big bads-- but let's remember what passes for danger in Fallout.
I'm sure the citizens of the world of Fallout wish that dragons were the worst thing they ever had to endure. Instead, they live in a world that, you know, was decimated by nuclear weapons and is full of people who continue to fight using nuclear weapons. Whatever fiery doom a dragon is capable of has nothing on what results from a nuclear blast-- it's like comparing one of those poppers that kids whip at the ground on July 4th to, well, a nuclear blast.
A dragon wouldn't last a week in the world of Fallout-- in fact, it would probably be one of the many species that went extinct when the nuclear winter first occurred.
1 Bethesda's Preference Is Obvious
Elder Scrolls games once came out on a fairly rapid basis, and while it stands to reason that the installments got farther apart as they advanced technologically, it is still telling just how much the flow of new games has slowed-- especially compared to how prolific Fallout has been during that time.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion launched in 2006. Two years later, Fallout 3 hit. Two years after that, we got another Fallout game by way of New Vegas before we got the next Elder Scrolls game, so already Fallout began to take over a bit. After Skyrim released in 2011, there wouldn't be another Elder Scrolls game until The Elder Scrolls Online in 2014, and then the mobile game version of physical card game The Elder Scrolls Legends went into beta in 2017.
During that same span of time, Fallout got a full-fledged sequel, a mobile game, and as of now, it has a new game announced-- Fallout 76-- while nothing has been revealed for the future of The Elder Scrolls. Kind of seems like Bethesda has a pretty obvious preference between the two franchises, no? If they are willing to so blatantly play favorites, it makes it easy for us to do so as well.