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“I'm gonna do something simple, but meaningful” - How one Fallout New Vegas modder perfectly memorialised Matthew Perry

“I wanted to like, put him even more - him as the person behind Benny - into the game.”

Matthew Perry next to his character, Benny, in Fallout New Vegas, and the memorial dedicated to his memory.
Image credit: VG247

“I got into it because I was like, I really want to have a 10mm pistol that can shoot mini-nukes, like, stuff like that,” modder and Fallout content creator Nikki, who goes by the handle Tunnelsnakesfool, tells me.

She adds that after familiarising herself with the fittingly G.E.C.K - Garden of Eden Creation Kit - mod construction set that’s used to create add-ons for Fallout 3 and New Vegas, small, personal mods like those were quickly on the agenda.

Creating these kinds of funny or quirky little mods, the kinds of things that can spice up a playthrough or set you up for an afternoon-long rampage through the wastes that’ll put a cheeky smile on your face is the first step on the ladder for most modders. Because, believe it or not, they’re a great way of fulfilling the other major reason Nikki gives as having driven her desire to get into modding: “wanting to understand what was going on with the games.”

It’s the simple desire to add something to the game that isn’t already there, or doesn’t quite live up to what you think it could be in its current form, and learn a bit about what goes into bringing what’s already there to life in the process.

It’s about wish fulfilment, and, last year, Nikki’s wish was to pay tribute to Matthew Perry. If you’ve ever even touched the game you’ll have seen Perry, for better or worse known to the masses as Chandler Bing from Friends, starring as the chequered-suited Benny in New Vegas. He tells you the game’s rigged from the start, shoots you in the head, and a little while later on you rock up on The Strip to tell him his marksmanship needs improvement.

Benny in Fallout New Vegas.
Image credit: VG247/Bethesda

Following the man behind the character’s sudden death at just 54 on October 28, 2023, hearing Perry deliver his iconic lines in the game has taken on a rather different significance for a lot of Fallout fans, especially those like Tunnelsnakesfool, who count him among their New Vegas favourites. So, she came up with an idea.

“I wanted to memorialise him more specifically as a Fallout fan, you know, because I think that was what hit a lot of fans hard. It's not just like he's a character [in] the game but he's like a hardcore fan, who hurt himself playing Fallout 3,” she explains. “I knew I wanted to make a mod, but I didn't want to do it right away, because it felt, I don't know, weird – and kind of disrespectful. So, I waited a bit and I put in a lot of thought and I was like, 'okay, I'm gonna do something simple, but meaningful'.”

Following the idea that she wanted to put more of Perry himself “as the person behind Benny” into the game, Nikki very carefully planned out every aspect of the memorial and surrounding items that make up her mod, which came to be called ‘For Matty - A Tribute to Matthew Perry’.

The quote from Matthew Perry on the back of his Fallout New Vegas memorial.
Image credit: VG247/Tunnelsnakesfool

“So obviously, where I placed [the memorial] was very specifically thought out; it’s the first place you see him when you play the game and, you know, I tried to find a good quote,” the modder outlines. “I very specifically left out, like, anything related to alcohol or chems, very specifically because of his struggles in life. And then, I wanted to have the gun, which was [conveying that] he's always with you.”

Since releasing the mod to a positive response from the Fallout community, Nikki says she’s had some requests to create a standalone version of the mod’s gun - a version of Benny’s iconic pistol Maria, but given a Friends theme via a retexture - simply because people liked the new design. “I'm glad that people liked it and it was received so well, because I didn't want it to seem tasteless,” she adds.

While, as Tunnelsnakesfool admits, her Perry memorial mod was “not complicated to make”, as a small creation that doesn’t feature things like dialogue or a companion, that doesn’t mean putting together it - or any New Vegas mod - is a walk in the park. “Oh, man. Don't. It's hard,” she jokes when I ask her what advice she’d give to those looking to get into Fallout modding. “Specifically [when it comes to modding] New Vegas, the system is so old it crashes near constantly, it's the most frustrating thing,” Nikki explains. “Even [with] the little mod [I made], the most random thing will crash it and you'll have no idea why, you've done everything right, and it'll just won't [work]. Your game won't start ever again.”

The items next to the Fallout New Vegas Matthew Perry memorial.
Image credit: VG247/Tunnelsnakesfool

Though, if you’re prepared to endure some of that kind of misery, there are a number of helpful things she recommends you consider doing to help you get on your way. “I would say go into a lot of the mods, the bigger mods [that] are out there for Fallout 4 and New Vegas have servers, Discord servers. Fallout: London has a Discord server, Nuevo Mexico [has one], and you can just ask for advice from [those modders]. And then, any 12 year old YouTube video, if you're modding New Vegas, is probably going to be a big help. I go back and the video’ll be posted in like 2010, and it’ll answer all my questions that I have.”

“[So,] definitely watching those tutorials,” she continues, “and the biggest thing is [to] save a backup of your game, so you don't destroy your game by modding it. You're gonna [want to] save a copy of everything, or you're going to want to pull out your hair.” Finally, Tunnelsnakesfool cites having a little bit of programming experience in any program or language - hers is in Python - certainly won’t hurt your chances of keeping your appearance intact.

“I guess if you have a lot of patience, you can mod,” she concludes. “I don't mean to make it sound like it's impossible, it's just frustrating.”

The Matthew Perry memorial in Fallout New Vegas.
Image credit: VG247/Tunnelsnakesfool

While, like a lot of worthwhile pursuits, modding might be incredibly frustrating at times, it’s that potential it has to offer you the means to add whatever you can create to your experience in your game of choice that makes it so special.

No matter whether you're after a mini-nuke spitting pistol, or want to pay a personal, heartfelt tribute to someone - as professional developers and players have done for the likes of Destiny 2 star Lance Reddick - and give an entire community the chance to add it to their own experiences, you can do just that.

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