Location Location Abomination

By: James Archer

Published: October 8, 2010 Posted in: Game Reports

This is me and my house. Like many first homeowners I got mine by defusing an atomic bomb in the centre of the town, and was given the deed by the local Sheriff as thanks. Which was jolly nice of him, but let’s be honest: it’s a bit crap.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - megaton house

There’s holes in the ceiling. Windows are unheard of. To decorate it, I must give several thousand caps to the clinically insane merchant a few houses down, and even then the ‘themes’ I get are mediocre at best. Even the ‘Love Machine’ theme, featuring a lamp shaped like two people doing it, hardly livens up the place. How I yearn for something more, well, homely.

Without telling the Sheriff in case his feelings get hurt, I decide to move out. I’ve other things to do, of course – investigating a water thieving ring, for example, and destroying America’s corrupt, amoral Government. They’ll have to be put on hold for now. I have a few simple criteria for the new place – it must be safe, must have plenty of storage room, and must have a bed not made out of cardboard. Most importantly, though, it shouldn’t make me want to go back to Megaton. I start by fast-travelling to a few places I’ve been before. No luck. Sure, there a plenty of intact houses – the problem is that many of the original owners haven’t left. This starts a long list of niggles with the first few prospective abodes – there are too many two-hundred-year-old skeletons spooning on the bed. There is almost always a fight going on outside between a robot and some raiders. There’s a good chance a hit squad out for my blood will spawn outside the only door. The basement is filled with the victims of a family of cannibals. The wallpaper is ugly.

Giving up on the towns and settlements, I decide to think outside the box. This only ends up with me getting lost in the labyrinth of underground metro tunnels. Eventually I stumble into a door, emerging on to an old railway station. I climb the stairs, and bingo.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - graveyard house

As it happens, this is the game-ified version of Arlington House, once home to Confederate bigwig General Robert E. Lee. Only a few days ago I’d abolished slavery in the Capital Wasteland by ironically murdering everyone in Paradise Falls, the slaver headquarters, with Abe Lincoln’s old rifle. It was fitting that I take over this guy’s old house as well. I snuck inside silently and, disappointingly, found a lodger – one Junders Plunkett – had beaten me to it. A note I collected on my way in confirmed he was evil, however, so I slipped a landmine in his pocket while he was eating and started looking around at my leisure.

It wasn’t for me, sadly. I could deal with living in a graveyard, but it was dark, a long walk from the nearest fast-travel point, and Plunkett was in too many pieces to effectively cleanse him from the dining room where he exploded. I left the mess I made and started over. I moved closer to the centre of the map, to a place called Charnel House, in the hope that places with “house” on the end were generally better. They were not. Almost immediately I was attacked by a no-good gang of raiders who, like Junders, had pipped me to the post. After dispatching them (and their dog – I hate dogs) with an electrified sword, I moved on quickly. Arlington may have had needed some lightbulbs changed, but Charnel was missing a mattress, a wardrobe and most of the walls and roof. I wasn’t settling for a half-destroyed building, even if I did nearly break my sword securing it.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - hadouken!

There was even less up in the north. At one point I found an abandoned tent (I know because it said “Abandoned Tent” on the door) which had a bed, lockers, even a few desks if I wanted to do some light typing. There was only one problem:

Fallout 3 - house hunting - abandoned tent

By this point I was desperately scanning my map for promising-sounding houses. Deathclaw Sanctuary? Nah. Irradiated Metro? Sounds cold. Faded Pomp Estates? Well, pomp is fine, however faded. Re-evaluating my stance on bigger settlements, I figured an estate would provide rows of salvageable places to live.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - broken village

It didn’t. It was almost as if the Chinese didn’t care about my domestic needs when they carpet-bombed America with nukes two centuries ago. Annoyed, I headed south to take my frustration out on the Super Mutants occupying a school, and climbed over the nearest hill. It hid a surprise.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - the power station

I instantly warmed to the place, despite the strung-up corpses. I creeped past the raider guards to have a look inside (figure I’ll put mines in their pockets later). For a power station, it was really quite lovely – better lit than most houses, and with beds that had actual linen on them. This immediately put it several notches above not just my own place, but near every other bed in the wastes.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - what? they're err...napping?

I cleared the interior guards with a minimum of fuss, and they very politely left only small pools of blood on my new floor. As well as the beds I had a wardrobe, a safe, two sturdy cabinets and a lab set. To seal the deal I decorated with some odds and ends I had on me – a couple of mugs here, a dozen garden gnomes there. I was finally home.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - hello!

Moving in to my new bungalow/power station was a bitch. First, I had get rid of the kids on the roof, who had dealt with a wandering military bot and were now quite cross with me. Rather than faff about with an eviction notice, I shot some of their more important limbs off, and started shifting my stuff from my Megaton. Like I say, it was a bitch – I can only carry 280 lbs of gear, and over my travels I’d amassed half a ton or so of loot in a locker. After an hour of cursing the fast-travel weight limits and wishing white vans still existed, I celebrated with a night in my brilliant white bed and left the next morning to carry on saving the world.

Fallout 3 - house hunting - one day, all this will be gnomes

James Archer