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14 April 2011

Location 23: The Strip - Lucky 38

The Stratosphere at ground level
Time to meet Mr House! At the fourth and final casino on the New Vegas Strip, the Lucky 38.

The equivalent view of the 38
While The Vault (at says it's based on the demolished Landmark Casino, I think the game's Lucky 38 looks more like the existing Stratosphere - with its slimmer tower and angled-outward windows up on the viewing platfom.

Besides, most of the design team would have been in school uniform (at least) when the Landmark imploded (1995). Of course, it could be a mashup. Believe what you want.

The only way is up
The Stratosphere seems a bit of an odd choice to house the most powerful guy in New Vegas: in reality it's a bit of a dump, cheap and sparsely inhabited in the rougher end of town (up north near Fremont St.)
Check out the view

Stepping back, the visuals seem to confirm it though. Here are my reasons...

Slim concrete tower without any inhabitable space in it (all it contains is the elevators) topped off with a large viewing floor containing a couple of bars and the best views in Vegas (unless you count the front row seats at the better topless shows.)

All hands on deck
But the clincher for me lay inside the viewing deck. Look at these two shots - they're clearly of the same place, even allowing for the 38's 1950s-era decor. The radius of the two rooms feels about the same, and the infrastructure lifts) occupy the central area so you can walk around in in a complete unbroken circle.
Are you feeling lucky?

The game only skimps on one aspect: you can't look downwards out of the windows to see the whole Strip arrayed before you. (That would've taken serious computing power of course.)

I'm not a gambling man, but I'd bet money on this. To finish up, here's a 360 degree video walkaround of the viewing deck...

All this gambling is making me dizzy. Let's head out of town to Callville Bay.


  1. Im thinking you are right, Mr House is obviously based on Howard Hughes, who lived in Vegas and built the Stratosphere. It was supposed to be built to be double the size, however despite the reduced dimensions when it opened it was the most impressive place in Vegas. Perfect for a alternative 50's universe location for Mr House. :-)

  2. The Stratosphere was built in the 90s and Hughes died in 1976, so I'm not sure he had much to do with its construction unless he owned a Mr House-style immortality pod :-) But yes, Mr House does seem to have been inspired by him.

  3. I've stayed at Stratosphere for about a week, and it was amazing. The view at the top of the tower was awesome. Being able to see the far reaches of Vegas, and all the flat terrain. I remember also being surprised at just how far I could see into the distance. It's a shame that this was about almost a year before the release of FNV; the magic of the moment would have doubled.

  4. The Stratosphere used to be Bob Stupak's Vegas World (and was as cheesy as that name makes it sound). Hughes built the Landmark (and owned many other casinos) - I'm fairly positive that the Lucky 38 is based mostly on the Landmark.

  5. It's only now I've completed the tour that I realise just how much of the FNV Strip is a mashup rather than a representation - for instance, I'm now pretty sure the Ultra Luxe has DNA from both Mirage and Bellagio as well as older hotels that aren't around any more... oddly enough, the Strip is the part of FNV least like reality (unless you count radscorps, deathclaws, laser weapons etc.) :-)

  6. Born and raised here in Vegas. Glad to see that the game has inspired someone to come and see what it is all really like. Love it!

  7. Having lived in Las Vegas for 40+ years I can tell you that the Lucky 38 is MOSTLY based on the Stratosphere, HOWEVER, it does have some exterior elements that more closely resemeble the Landmark. Specificly the exterior superstructure at the top, the girder and beam arrangement. Also consider if they made ANYTHING in the game look TOO close to it's real life counterpart they would have run into copyright violations and lawsuits up the wazoo. :)

  8. The Vault is not at, it is at

  9. You didnt go into the restaurant floor? Its just below the one where you took a photo, with the tables and chairs and everything.