Game Theory: Fallout Bottle Caps are Worth HOW MUCH?!?


*dramatic voice* War. War never changes. Oh look, shaving! Cool! *Intro theme plays* Hello Internet, welcome to Game Theory and to the conclusion of what I’m going to lovingly call our apocalypse trilogy. I mean think about it, You had Mad Max, Fallout, and FNAF 4. Yup, three games symbolizing the fall of rational humankind. First things first, just in case you’ve been living deep underground in a surprisingly clean, roomy, and self sustaining bomb shelter for the past month and a half, as part of a series of games announced at this year’s E3 conference which left many a gamer weeping for joy Bethesda grew my cold, scientific heart 3 sizes that day probably through radiation more than love, when it announced Fallout 4 isn’t only a real game, but that it’ll be here before the end of the year. Now THAT is how you make an announcement. Take that, vague Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer! But for one gamer out there this wasn’t just super exciting, it was the culmination of almost 8 years of careful and diligent work. Sort of. In case you’ve never done yourself a favor and played the Fallout series before, the games take place in an alternate universe where among other things World War 2 never really ended. Everyone is afraid of getting invaded by China and in 2077 a nuclear war takes place which wipes out civilization as we know it. Humans that haven’t mutated into deadly monsters or zombies live in small communities that dot the radioactive wasteland. And instead of printed money people have taken to using discarded old bottle caps for currency. Knowing this, a little over a month ago a clever Fallout super fan named Seth who goes by GatorMacheteJr on Imagur, so as not to get him confused with GatorMacheteSr, obviously, sent his collection of bottle caps to Bethesda. A whopping 2,240 caps, aka 11 pounds of bottle toppers, aka the remnants of an entire undergrad and masters degree worth in parties. All in the hopes of preordering the game using the franchise’s own currency. Shortly thereafter, employee Matt Grandstaff confirmed that Seth would indeed be recieving a copy of the game when it’s released on November 10th. Unless they decided to pull a Scott Cawthon and release it, like, a week ago. Now, other than being an extremely cute enouraging story, about how seriously Bethesda takes the dedication of their fanbase, this got the wheels in my head turning a bit. Just how much are bottle caps from the Fallout universe worth in real world US dollars? And how many of those bottle caps would it take to actually reach the real world monetary value of a brand new copy of Fallout 4? Aka $59.99 plus tax. With exclusive instore preorder bonuses like dirty brown, skin 1, dirty brown, skin 2, useless rifle that you’ll feel compelled to keep, since you’ve got it as an exclusive preorder instore bonus, AND your own real world pip-boy. OK, now that last one is actually pretty cool. *tuba* So, saddle up, strap on your power armor and grab your laser tommy guns because now I’m going to use my patented version of mind vats, to walk you through exactly how we’re gonna figure this out. To understand the math behind bottlecap cash, you first have to understand how currencies work. When you think of money you’d probably think of pill- pills, hah okay When you think of money you’d probably think of bills and coins as having worth, but a bottlecap? It seems absurd, right? But really, it’s not. That piece of paper you hold in your hand is just as meaningless as a bottlecap. They’re both useless objects. In fact, the bottlecap is probably more useful. The only difference though is that we’ve all agreed that the paper has some sort of greater symbolic value and that the bottlecap is just trash. I mean, did you know that just a few years ago dealers were using tide detergent as an acceptable payment for drugs? Seriously, laundry detergent, the stuff that your whites whiter and your brights brighter was the go-to currency for your heroin fix. Brings new meaning to the term “money laundering” am I right? Brings new meaning to the term “money laundering” am i right? right? *tuba* Alright… Or think about the classic example of cigarettes having value in prison. Currancy is merely an agreement that some object like a bottlecap, or a jug of tide, or a set of objects like a piece of paper and round chunks of metal has value. Historically, these items were really just kind of an IOU, the bill that you held in your hand was backed by something, it represented some amount of a more valuable resource. Walk into the bank, hand over your money, and theoretically you could walk out with your rightful amount of that resource, most often, gold and silver, which, it’s also worth pointing out, are two metals that, again, are only valuable, because we’ve all agreed they have value. Seriously, What are you really going to do with a big brick of gold? Bludgeon someone with it? door stop? bicep curl?? today though most money is what is known as fiat money no not the saving you put away for your fancy Italian car Its money that not backed by anything, in the fallout games this isn’t a problem because bottle caps are backed by another valuable resource Water. Water is the valuable resource in the post apocalypse, Why bottle caps? well the reasoning behind bottle caps was that there impossible to counterfeit, No bottle cap factory’s existed after the word ended That also means that they’re in limited supply which preserves their value against inflation, A huge issue we discussed during our economics of world of war craft episode, So what is the value of a bottle cap? Well since we can’t put a firm price on the value of water in the fallout universe we have to compare them to something that’s generally considered to be a valuable resource across all of history the aforementioned gold. In the fallout new vegas add on dead money you can collect 37 gold bars during the “Heist of the Centuries” mission each one can be sold at an optimum value of 10,539 caps, This also tells us that gold is a good standard to compare against because this is one of the highest valued items in the game. Meaning that even in the post apocalypse gold is still something people value now the carry weight of each of these bars is 35 pounds so all we need to do to find the value of that gold is to convert it to bottle caps and we have our answer to begin the value of gold is most often measured in ounces, But not ounces that americans know them were there are 16 per pound rather troy ounces a unit of mass specifically for gold and other precious metals and gemstones. A troy ounce is actually heavier then the united states ounce which isn’t even its official name technically u.s. ounces are called ”Avoirdupois” ounces but just saying that word makes me feel pretentious so let’s move on. Doing the conversion of 35 pound gold brick is actually 510 troy ounces but that’s not all, we also have to consider how pure the gold is, Loyal theorists will remember when we calculated the cost of minecraft diamond armor using the four C’s of gemstones one of those c’s stood for carat or weight of the diamond gold is also measured in karats but this time with a k a word originating from the carob beans that old merchants used to use to weigh gold carob with a ‘C’ not a ‘K’ and karat with a ‘K’ now measures gold purity not weight like carat with a ‘C’ despite it originally being inspired by a measure of weight Ya ya know what they really just (*bleeped*) the whole system up… So 24 karat gold is pure gold this can also be expressed by saying that its 999 out of a thousand parts gold which again isn’t technically pure 100% since there’s that one missing thousandth but whatever gold merchants are dumb, So in fallout we see the gold bar being marked with 999.9 telling us this is a pure chunk of 24 karat gold as such thankfully we don’t need to do any other funky calculations, so the price per gold in the fallout universe is 10,539 caps divided by 510 troy ounces or about 21 caps per troy ounce of pure 24 karat gold now to finally relate it to something we know the price of gold in dollars, And I wanted to do that as accurately as possible which meant pinning down the exact year the fallout universe completely diverted from our own timeline, Which according to developers is when culture essentially froze where it was after reading as many interviews as I could find the best I could conclude that the split occurred sometime around the 1950’s But here on Game theory I’m not satisfied with just rough estimates I had to get a little creative, The only real connection I could find between Fallout’s universe and our own reality besides a few dialogue references and landmarks was the music that plays on your in game radio on the various stations you pick up on your pip boy so I organized all the real world songs into a list and after checking the original release dates of each recording the most recent song on either of the games soundtracks was a cover of the classic song ‘blue moon’ by Frank Sinatra witch plays on radio new vegas in fallout new vegas and places the timline split a little later then I expected squarely in 1961 more specifically January 3rd So armed with a date some gold and a fist full of bottle caps we can finally reach our conclusion, In 1961 the cost of gold was about $35 dollars per troy ounce that would mean each bottle cap would be worth $1.67 wow that’s surprisingly expensive actually, those are some valuable caps in other word GatorMacheteJr by paying 2,240 caps you technically over paid by $3,680.80 Whoo, hope you get plenty of play hours out of that one in the words of an old timey person from 1961 “You kid, ya’ got a bum steer.” but that’s just talking about 1960’s money how about in today’s economy how does this all translate to 2015 dollars well gold nowadays runs for
the astronomical $1,095 per troy ounce Oh ho, what a difference 50 years can make right? and you can see where this is going GatorMacheteJr you got hosed at those prices each individual bottle cap would be worth $52 dollars you practically could have bought the full pip boy edition with 2 measly caps, but by handing over all 2,240 of the bottle caps in your collection in the world of fallout you actually paid… get this $116,480 dollars hopefully Bethesda throws in some DLC for ya buddy *cricket sounds* seriously for that price you could’ve bought something useful like a house or… this picture of mount dogmore that i found Etsy is a weird site… now I’ve done this enough times to know that some of you in the comments will complain about me using comparisons to in game gold “ohh it’s fictional currency”… ba ba ba okay fine, So let me run one last calculation finding out how much real world bottle caps are worth today and figuring out how much GatorMachete actually paid well here’s how dedicated I am to you I got in contact with Crown Holdings, the company who originally founded crown cap enclosers the bottle caps you see featured in the games and asked about the composition of bottle caps made by the company in 1961 a very helpful women named Sheila informed me that at the time caps were made from 100% carbon steel for more research I found that a single steel bottle cap weighs between 160 and 190 milligrams or about .005 pounds to calculate out the current monetary value of a single bottle cap I went to a website that I absolutely love, called Quandl Which is basically a search engine for numerical data, Which yes I recognize makes me sound incredibly nerdy and checked the current market price of steel which as of June 11th 2015 is about $100 dollars per metric tonne or approximately 2,204 pounds, one metric tonne is equal to one billion milligrams so just in case your having trouble doing the math in your head just divide that by the weight of one bottle cap which averages out to be 175 milligrams and we can see that to get $100 dollars worth of bottle caps aka one metric tonne of them you’d need 5,714,285 caps divide that by the $100 dollars and we can equate 1 U.S. dollar to 57,142 caps That is quite the collection, Which makes a $60 dollar pre order for fallout 4 worth 3,428,571 bottle caps our pal seth and his big bag of real world caps paid less then a tenth of a percent of what he would need for a straight trade seriously, he paid like 4 cents for the game, so good trade GatormacheteJr I’m sure you’ve made Gatormachete senior proud and hey lets be honest 4 cents for the game that’s a whole lot more then what he would’ve gotten had he traded it to game stop or if you wanted to hang on to all your bottle caps but were still felling a little rumbly in the tumbly then consider a trial run of nature box from my favorites to chipotle maple almond strawberry lemonade fruit stars and mini belgian waffles, Mini belgian waffles there so tiny and cute, Nature box has over 100 snacks to choose from that get delivered straight to your door step Radiation free, no less and if your a completionist like I am there’s always more to try because they’re constantly releasing brand new options every single month, Meaning that your taste buds are never gonna get bored and right now you can enjoy your first box of nature box snacks on them, but only at naturebox.com/matpat m a t p a t and only if you act fast, so save your hard earned bottle caps and head over to naturebox.com/matpat right now to unbox a world of taste, They are vault boy approved isn’t that right vault boy? Vault boy and I were talking about it the other day, he likes parmesan garlic pop pops one last time that’s naturebox.com/matpat for your first box of hand picked snacks sent directly to your post apocalyptic door step, on them. and now to close us out remember That’s just a theory, a game theory! Thanks for watching! And by the way want more fallout action? Click here for my theory on the science of how you could survive a head shot as depicted in fallout new vegas, or maybe your in the mood for some other post apocalyptic theorizing. Get a preview of the new mad max game and my theory on how to survive the car-pocalypse and repopulate the world in your image, by clicking right here , Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got one final date with FNAF and this peanut butter nam nam, nam nam nam nam nam *Thunder* *creepy music plays*

100 thoughts on “Game Theory: Fallout Bottle Caps are Worth HOW MUCH?!?

  1. hah. The game: Day R Survival (A Post-Apocalyptic game) set in environment at U.S.S.R will set outside. No underground shelter. (Except Cellar, and dugouts for making wine and beer) Just house to search.

  2. $1.67 (as of 1961) is NOT expensive! It means that inflation has devalued our currency; meaning the U.S. dollar had more purchasing power than it does today. Do you even Econ-101, MatPat?

  3. this comes from a time when todd howard was good at making announcements without ticking Bethesda fans off

  4. Theres also the question of value/situation: you could have the first copy of fallout4 fresh off the press and your mama wouldnt spent a buck on it….. or a situation where you had to save your own life in exchange for a gold bar

  5. Back in high school, this one class spent 5 years collecting bottlecaps in order to get into the Guiness book of records (which was still a thing at that point). As far as I know, they were a little short by the time they graduated.
    I do recall coming across one of their stashes, which consisted of several large bags. It would probably have taken a van to move the things, but now I see how valuable such a heist would have been.

  6. You can't actually say that naturebox snacks are radiation-free. There's at least traces of radioactive carbon, potassium, and a few others!

  7. Mat but wouldn't the value of gold change person to person like for Mr.house could use it for robotics but like you said a person like a tribal would have no use for it. Like it depends where you are who you are talking to and how much they need it so the amount of money you said caps where in fallout nv maybe worth something else in fallout 3

  8. Idk if I didn’t listen but I think matpat wasted his time.Both games have Pre-war money so he would have just had to convert the value of an American dollar before the Divergence to nowadays American dollars.Criticise me if I’m wrong

  9. MatPat said in the beginning of the video that World War II hasn't really ended but the nukes fall during Fallout's version of the Cold War.

    Also World War II did end in the Fallout universe because it says in the beginning of Fallout 4 that the US ended WWII and started using atomic energy as a "Nearly Limitless Fuel Source".

  10. yeah but thing, there s no ather way for him to get thous bottle caps exept from buying the hole bottle sooo if one bottle worths 1 us dollar then he gave 2,240 dollars! sorry for the spelling

  11. Matpat I have to tell you at one point in this video you were kinda wrong,in fallout 3 there is a bottle cap press for when you find a sunset sarsaparilla machine and the press was used by raiders to counterfeit their own caps

  12. The internet says 1 cap is 2 bullets (dont know which) and 2 bullets are like 40 cents so its like 1 cap for 40 cents

  13. I mean you cannot compare that really thats a whole diffrent econemy. Most people who compare really old currencies with todays money, mostly used food, houses and etc.

  14. The gold bars in Dead Money are underprised. The massege behind this DLC was letting go, the developers didn't wanted you to take the gold bars, you had to let go, but it was still possible to take a few of them and if they would have the real world prise this would be to op and giving them a reasonable prise and make them heavier wasn't an option either because the game is glitched so gamers would find ways to take all gold bars with them.

  15. Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    I’m not gonna make one of those comments
    That say “why is my like blue?”

  16. It was the cold war that never ended after the fall of the Soviet union Communist China continoud the vol war whit USA

  17. Cigarettes were also the currency of Berlin after WWII, because the “reichmark” was so worthless that you needed even more money for just a bread than you needed before WWII in Weimar Republic.

  18. Hey Mat, I came across a theory you should take a look in to. There's a theory that the "Rogue Knight" in FO4's Nuka Wolrd DLC is the player character from Fallout 3. Think you could prove or disprove that one?

  19. 4:10 Groceries are also used a lot, it's a way to basically by drugs with an EBT card (food stamps). smh The detergent thing is true to, that's why it's one of the most commonly stolen items in retail.

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