Fallout 2 Question: Reformatting the PipBoy

Just a curious question for people who’ve played the game.

In the basement of the Vault City vault, you find a computer which allows you to search for listings of other vaults in the area. If your Perception skill (or possibly your Science) is high enough, you also find a slot into which you can insert your PipBoy.

Doing so results in various error messages, including your PipBoy guy “giving you the finger.” If you try to discover what the error is all about, it tells you that you need to reformat your PipBoy for optimization.

I saved prior to doing anything, on account of I could just see the thing screwing me somehow. Then, I went back in and chose the Yes command, reformatting my PipBoy. I braced myself for the worst.

And waited.

Nothing. No discernable difference whatsoever.

Did it do something bad, and I didn’t notice? Or is this another entry in the “Fallout Functions Which Do Nothing At All” biography I’ve been writing?

Jeez. Great game, but there are tons of little references which go nowhere.

PS: Anybody know how to get to the row of metal chests behind the fence in Broken Hills?

At first I didn’t know what you meant about reformatting the Pipboy, but then I remembered a bonus involving it, so I looked around and I think I found it. From here:

After the game is completed and you have at least 130% in Science, go to the vault in Vault City. Go to the computer on the first level in front of the doctors’ “office”. Use the Science skill on it and the game should give you the option of scanning the medical files or something similar. Scan the files, then do it again. It should give you some information on the medical research done in Vault City. Scan the files a few more times and it will give you information on armor implants. Keep scanning the files and the computer will get “upset” and say things such as “There is nothing left” and “Why are you doing this?.” After a few more times it should say “Fine! The big secret is on the main computer on the third level!”. Go to it and reformat you Pip Boy (follow the directions the computer gives you). Then, go to your Pip Boy and read the message that the design crew leaves you. It should instruct you to go to the computer on the upper left of level three. Access the computer to get 20,000 experience points. Keep accessing the computer to get that amount each time.

I don’t know which chests you mean in Broken Hills, so I’ll say no.

It’s been more then a while now since I wandered the wasteland, but…
If I’m recalling correctly, formatting the Pip-Boy allows the Vault City computer to update your regional map, placing some or all of the inhabited locations on it. At the very least, it shows you the map locations of Vault 15 and Shady Sands (which might simply be labeled NCR, New California Republic, on the map)
And I don’t clearly recall the chests in Broken Hills either… Whereabouts are we talking? Right at the entrance to town, or back by the mine entrance, or where?

(There’s something on the tip of my, well, mind, but I can’t pin it down.)

The idea is that if you got to Vault City early in the game, you’d get Redding, New Reno, NCR, Broken Hills and so forth added to your map.

I haven’t got a clue which chests in Broken Hills you’re talking about, but I’ll reinstall tomorrow and have a look-see.

To clarify, the row of metal chests are behind the main shop in Broken Hills – the shop with the surly lady proprietor. There’s an alleyway next to the shop, and if you go up the alley, you come upon a fence. On the other side of the fence are the metal chests.

Still haven’t figured out how to get to them.

I recall the chests now that you mention that, but
I still don’t remember if you can actually get to them or not. I do recall this bit, which I’ll stick in a spoiler box, as it gives away a middling important plot point, if you’re on your first play through. You read it (or not) at your own peril, and all that.

The proprietress of the shop is one of the anti-mutant terrorist types. If you perform some deed for the other two baddies (breaking someone out of the hoosegow, as I recall) and go back to see her, she’ll let you into the basement of her shop, which is either
a) full of goodies, weapons, ammo, etc etc
b) a shortcut to get to those chests, which are in turn full of etc etc

I think a) above is correct, and the chests are just a red herring, but b) may be the case.