From undrinkable flasks to giant rusty fridges, video game companies have released some truly shoddy collector's edition items to chisel even more money out of the pockets of their most ardent fans. But none of these were actually so bad as to be a health hazard, until Fallout 76 released a wearable helmet that accidentally adheres too closely to the game's lore of being a musty artifact scavenged from an irradiated dirt pile.
The jewel in Bethesda's Fallout 76 crown has to be its life-sized, cosplay-ready power armor helmet. Meant to adorn your face as easily as your IKEA bookshelf, these helmets even have a voice modulator to make it sound like you're actually encased in metal and breathing in your own recycled farts. But inhaling those would be the least of your concerns, as 20,000 of the GameStop-exclusive $150 helmets have now been recalled because their fabric lining may contain toxic mold. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned consumers that inhaling said mold could cause "a risk of respiratory or other infections," so wearing these death masks will make you like Darth Vader in more ways than you bargained for.
If you've been following the news, you know this is only the latest PR disaster born from whatever pharaoh's curse Bethesda brought upon itself by releasing this ill-regarded online multiplayer game. Before the mold, Fallout 76 was mostly being reported on for the countless bugs swarming it. And before that plague, there had been outrage that one of its other collector's items, an official canvas bag, had been transmogrified into a cheapskate nylon version. It seems like it'll be only a matter of time before the USCPSC also issues a warning not to sell Fallout 76 to any firstborn sons.
But despite the frightening prospect of losing gamers to scavenger's lung, the helmet's manufacturer, Chronicle Collectibles, has said there's no need to panic, as out of the 20,000 recalled items, "only 32 units ... were actually sold and shipped to consumers." And it's hard to tell if it's good or bad for the shareholders that the cash-in has become so unpopular that it barely sold any full-face mold inhalers.
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