The lights are on
Nearly everywhere you go in the Mojave Wasteland of Fallout: New Vegas, the bright lights of The Strip can be seen in the distance. They are a constant presence, a guiding light, and a reminder of what the world once was before the bombs fell.
Thanks to the machinations of the mysterious Mr. House, New Vegas survived the brunt of the nuclear apocalypse Fallout fiction refers to as “The Great War.” Using his considerable wealth and resources, after the war Mr. House set out to rebuild Vegas and The Strip in the image of its glory days. He negotiated with many of the local tribes that had come to populate the Mojave Wasteland, recruiting them to his cause and transforming them from hardened survivors into noble families. In return for their support, Mr. House granted three families a casino on The Strip to call their own. New Vegas would go on to prosper as the go-to destination across the wasteland for fame, fortune, and the chance of a better life.
After being left for dead at the start of the game, you make your way to the city of sin to get some answers. Upon your arrival you get your first hint that maybe New Vegas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Rather than neon lights, your first impression of New Vegas is the run-down slum known as Freeside. Tall walls and the heavily armed Securitrons that guard them separate The Strip from the outside, keeping out the “undesirables.” As a result, getting into The Strip is no easy feat. You must be resourceful, dedicated, or just plain wealthy to pass through the guarded gates. Once inside and after doing a little digging, the reality of New Vegas becomes clear.
New Vegas is a city of lies and masks. Behind its appealing facade of pleasure and courtesy, The Strip is filled with plots and secrets few were meant to know. It’s a city owned by a faceless man, Mr. House, and operated by a collection of tribals who wear a mask of sophistication in public but behind closed doors, scheme to kill and sabotage their way to the top.
Players get to peak behind this curtain, seeing The Strip for what it really is – a lie, just as it has always been. Citizens of the Mojave Wasteland and the New California Republic flock to The Strip to gamble away their hard earned money for a chance at the big time or to find a night of pleasure in a life that has little. No doubt most instead end up in Freeside.
What’s great about The Strip in Fallout: New Vegas is not how it’s different from the Las Vegas we all know, but rather how it’s the same. It’s still the city of sin and vice and lies and liquor, but when set against the backdrop of the violent and irradiated Mojave Wasteland, New Vegas takes on the appearance of a shining beacon of civilization and prosperity, despite really being more of the same.
Email the author Cameron Koch, or follow on Game Informer.