The Fatman is a handheld nuclear missile launcher found in every Fallout game since Bethesda took over production with Fallout 3. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a rocket launcher, only the rockets are nuclear bombs. Even in game, this weapon doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unless you’re firing downward from an elevated position or sniping enemies from miles away, Fatman is way too powerful to be used effectively. This is a nuclear weapon we’re talking about, after all. It’s basically “mutually assured destruction,” except instead of being an insane foreign policy concept, it shoots nuclear missiles and can fit in your pocket.
But, of course, the U.S. Army actually built a mini nuke back in the 1950s. They called it the “Davy Crockett,” probably because the real Davy Crockett is a symbol of American toughness and ingenuity. Back when the Davy Crockett was deployed (between 1961 and 1971), it could be launched either from soldiers on foot or from the back of a jeep, making The Dukes of Hazzard look like poster boys for safe driving by comparison.
 Weapon: Shagohod; Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Even in a fictitious world full of vampires, psychics and supersoldiers with math teacher mustaches, a tank that can fire a nuclear weapon still seems like an unreasonably dangerous thing. Especially the Shagohod from MGS3, because not only can it blow up a large city at the touch of a button, but for reasons unknown, it has screws instead of wheels. Actually, now that we think about it, this is probably why the U.S. Army built a nuclear artillery piece in the 1950s: Solid Snake wasn’t there to stop them.
The Atomic Cannon nuclear artillery system had an effective range of about 20 miles, and the W9 nuclear shell it launched had a blast radius of two miles. (So it’s at least safe for the people shooting it, right?)
Of course, there wasn’t actually a nuclear tank that ran on screw propulsion; the Soviets just tested that on normal tanks. While the ZIL-29061 wasn’t nearly as effective as the Shagohod (YouTube it and see this contraption almost getting pwnd by a small tree), it still performed pretty well in water, snow and swamps. However, like the Atomic Cannon, it never saw combat.
The Wolfenstein series has its fair share of standard World War II weaponry, but it also has its sci-fi outliers — like a chain gun, a Tesla rifle and, of course, the Snooper rifle, a heat-vision sniper rifle perfect for “wet” targets. (We’re cool enough to admit that we don’t actually know what that means.)
And this wasn’t just some experimental rifle that never saw the light of day. The U.S. Army’s M3 rifle — an M2 Carbine fitted with an infrared sniper scope — was an integral part of the U.S. invasion of Okinawa in 1945. The Germans themselves dabbled in this advanced nocturnal weaponry as well, resulting in the StG-44 Vampir — that’s “vampire” (not “robot-vampire”).
For everyone who has ever fantasized about fisticuffing through the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Bethesda has made your dreams come true. The Ballistic Fist is a shotgun strapped to the back of your hand. It basically exists as a way for people who dumped all their points into “unarmed” to still be able to play the game at higher levels without making the developers program a complicated hand-to-hand combat system.
In real life, it obviously doesn’t make any sense. If you have a gun, why would you bother getting close enough to punch someone? Also, if you’re designing a gun, why would you design the trigger in such a fashion that you have to sacrifice the gun’s main advantage (range) in order to make it work?
Because it’s awesome, that’s why. Say hello to the Glove Gun. Designed by the Sedgley Company of Philadelphia, it was mainly used by the Office of Naval Intelligence (a precursor to the CIA).
For as long as people have been making fun of video games for being stupid, the Gunblade has sat atop a lofty throne, lording over all the other stupid things. While you can tell that nothing about this weapon makes sense (in its first appearance, it never even fired anything — the barrel and trigger were apparently just for show), let us ask another question: Has not making sense ever stopped anyone when it came to making weaponry? Apparently not, given that the Cutlass Pistol was popular with real-life pirates in the 1800s. Does that mean pirates were Final Fantasy characters? Of course not… (Oh, wait, actually that makes a fair amount of sense.)
And no, these aren’t just vanity pieces or relics from whatever the equivalent of cosplay was back then — these are real, functional weapons used in combat. Some 150 of them were issued to members of the U.S. Navy in 1837 and, three years later, were reported to have “performed well” in a conflict with Fiji warriors on the island of Malolo.