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Home Sweet Home

I'm kind of a homebody. Which is fun-loving young people parlance for "creepy weird recluse guy". As such, I can appreciate a good home base in games. Somewhere safe, cosy and stocked with benefits that the protagonist(s) can return to after a busy day of adventuring.

To keep things focused, I won't bother with general hub areas (if it's not an actual place people sleep).

List items

  • Starting with an obvious choice. The Sims, along with Minecraft and Terraria and so many other simulations with building elements, allows you to create your dream house, realize you don't have the resources for it, and start over with a tiny shack. It has the usual affection one has for their home, with the added pathos from seeing something small grow to something so big. A "building"sroman, you might call it. Ho ho. Liberal arts degree is working for me for once!

  • Animal Crossing is much the same way as The Sims, but with a stronger emphasis on finding tons of stuff you don't need and filling your house with it to the point you can no longer move. There aren't many games that cater to the hoarder crowd without also forcing you to deal with the consequences (Bethesda's caching problems excepted).

  • A fun part of any Suikoden game, and there's usually a lot, is when you finally get your HQ and can start filling it with all the colorful characters you recruit along the way. Dilapidated hallways start filling up with people, rooms get furnished, spacious basements get storefronts popping up and everyone finds a nice little spot to hang out between missions. It's fun just to stroll around and see where everyone's settled in. I'm probably playing these games wrong.

  • InFamous doesn't so much have a home as an open roof somewhere with furniture and electronics that are suspiciously not waterlogged, considering the two games are based in New York and New Orleans - neither of which have, what I'd call, consistently clement weather. That couch, TV and pile of beer bottles look so lived-in that you can't help but feel at home though. One of my favorite cutscenes of 2 was Zeke and Cole taking a break on that couch before throwing themselves into the shit once again.

  • Getting to hang out in the Ghostbusters converted fire-station HQ was perhaps the juiciest bone that game threw to fans of the franchise. Highlights: Vigo's portrait hanging out and mocking you like some depowered evil demigod version of Statler and Waldorf, the game's various haunted collectibles showing up everywhere, the dancing toaster and being able to try out the firepole and getting an achievement for it.

  • Fallout 3's hut in Megaton, luxury apartment in Tenpenny and New Vegas' suite in Lucky 38. They're not so much cosy, since it's hard to be cosy when you're snuggling up next to an atomic bomb, a bunch of fascists and the near-omnipotent tyrant of New Vegas respectively, but I still appreciated having all those conveniences close at hand. Bethesda gets bases of operations right.

  • Talking of Bethesda, Elder Scrolls at one point allowed you to buy all sorts of houses for some crazy end-game property magnate action. Nowadays, it is content to focus on one home per major town, with various costly upgrades for furnishings and additional storage space and the like. I have to wonder what Skyrim will do with that feature.

  • Now for a trilogy of games that use the sanctity and cosiness of one's home against you, as part of their whole "psychological horror" package. Silent Hill 4 famously traps you in a mildewy but safe apartment that is completely barred from the outside world, the only escape being odd holes that lead to various unsavory places. Of course, as the plot intensifies and the danger increases, the titular room starts becoming infested with ghosts and it starts doing more harm than good to stay there for an extended duration.

  • Fatal Frame 3 follows Rei, a woman whose survivor guilt about her deceased boyfriend has made her a target for yet another vengeful female ghost. The ghost traps her in a creepy mansion in her dreams, leaving her to explore her peaceful apartment to investigate clues during the day. Her small but immaculate apartment is kind of cold, but grows comfortably familiar just before all the spooks start crawling out of mirrors and jumping out behind furniture.

  • Lucas' swinging bachelor apartment is full of David Cage's favored "interactive objects", such as a fridge that only ever has milk and Lucas' rockin' guitar and punching bag. After familiarizing yourself with his home during sequences where you're hiding incriminating evidence, it's something of a shock when everything starts flying out the window and you're having to Dragon's Lair your way around cupboards and furniture you were only just interacting with for no reason moments before.

  • Jimmy's dorm room isn't the only place Rockstar's mischievous nipper can crash after a busy day of stink bombs and catapults, but the way it starts filling up with souvenirs after story missions and other accomplishments makes it an awesome ego boost every time you wake up.

  • A great many JRPGs turn the airship into a mobile base of operations, making it a home of sorts. There are few that make it feel home-y though. I liked hanging out on several of them though, even if the broodier characters in your party were often found awkwardly leaning against pointy ordinance in cargo bays.

  • Samus' gunship seems to vary from a single-seat starfighter type conveyance to the four-person shuttlecraft it randomly became in Metroid: Other M. But on a planet full of terrors and coldly practical save rooms, there's only really one sanctuary where Samus (and the player) can feel truly safe.

  • The Normandy technically falls under the "airship" umbrella, as does other spaceships like KOTORs' Ebon Hawk, but it's way easier to get attached to Shepard's state-of-the-art ship, especially when it gets its own sentient AI. Importantly, it's home to your alien fish, space hamster and spaceship models. My house isn't sitting on a giant Element Zero engine and is visited regularly by a stripper-dancing Yeoman, but Mass Effect 2 made me wish it was.

  • Skies of Arcadia does have a revolving door of awesome airships, but it's Vyse's sweet pirate base on a once-deserted flying island that is the home in question. Perfectly shaped for a mountainside HQ overlooking a small oasis for settlements, it becomes yet another reason to hate Ramirez' pasty white ass when he burns it down.

  • The little burg of Monteriggioni is home to Ezio between visits to various locales in Renaissance Italy. The family manor is full of mysteries, and the town itself receives regular upgrades to make itself fortified and useful to Ezio in equal measure. Brotherhood kind of blows it up, but at least you get to see what today's version looks like when the modern day assassins move in.

  • The X-COM base isn't really a home in the familiar sense, but you spend an awful lot of time sitting around and helping it grow between nail-biting alien hunting missions. General rule of thumb is not to get attached to the soldiers themselves, since they have a limited life expectancy that sharply drops even further once Chryssalids start showing up, so I tend to get attached to the expanding HQ with all its tiny scientists and administrators instead. I'm a weird guy.

  • Persona 3's dorm room was pretty sparse and prone to being invaded by the physical manifestation of the Death arcana, but the Dojima residence of Persona 4 was a fun place to hang out. You could make meals you couldn't even pronounce, eat science projects, have wrasslin dreams about Chie and hide porn/magical girl manga under the futon for horny best friends to find. It got super sad there after the Dojimas were hospitalized, though.

  • I loved exploring the lighthouse-cum-orphanage that was Jade's and Pey'j's base of operations for a good deal of the game. As home to various goat orphans and shaggy dogs, it's a little sad when it gets nuked to crap. Is that a running theme in video games with cosy domiciles? I guess you really can't go home again, unless it's to pick up the interplanetary spaceship you stashed underneath it.

  • Ending on a joke answer. Nothing to see here, folks, I'm just being goofy again.