@leebmx: I can't recommend playing it again because you didn't seem to enjoy yourself, but I really want to. Maybe its because I played the first one when I was really young, but I have such fond memories of those first two games that I think every fan of the modern games should at least finish them (and maybe only the first one) once to get a grasp of where the roots really are. There is some insane stuff you can do in those games, especially for the time. The only way you'll die in the beginning, or the ways that I can fathom, are by getting a pack of 4-6 radscorpions spawning on you immediately and taking their turn first. Even that has a good chance of being an escapable encounter and after that the game is pretty much smooth sailing if you know to talk to the people in Shady Sands (I assume this was the first town you found) and any town after that.
My first instinct in Fallout for some reason was to pickpocket everything and, let me tell you what, that is still a damn fine strategy. I think my terrible 6-year old brain said "eh, this place sucks so I'm gonna steal this cool shotgun."