AKA The Bed Under the Bridge
Like all right-thinking gamers of a certain vintage, I am completely in love with the Fallout series. I played the crap out of1 and 2, played through the "Tactics" game just to see how it furthered the story, and even suffered through (all the way to the end mind you) the bad, bad, verybad action RPG on the PS2, which I bought sight unseen because- dude it said Fallout right in the title!
However, my feeling that Fallout 3 trumps Fallout 2 is nigh-heretical in some circles.
The reason is two-fold, but it's simple: first, the depth of the world and the change from isometric to first person view.
Now the first part is not unique to Fallout 3. In fact, the world is what draws me back to Fallout 1 and 2, games I will *still* find myself playing from time to time.
But when you combine that world with a first-person perspective in Fallout 3, you get a place I love to visit, a place I feel like I know by heart.
Catching some Z's
My first encounter with this is what I call the "bed under the bridge". On your map I believe it's called the "hunter's camp" or some such.
Near two of your first big "dungeons" in the game, the Springvale Elementary School and the supermarket, now both overrun with raiders, there's a cozy little camp someone left under a bombed out bridge.
It's screened on four sides with plywood for privacy, has a footlocker to temporarily stow some gear, a mattress, and even a table with a book about explosives on it. Oh and a landmine right at the entrance.
It pays not to be a people person in Fallout and apparently the guy who made this camp knew it.
Throughout any game of Fallout 3 I will probably sleep in the bed under the bridge a couple dozen times as I explore the environs around Megaton. Sometimes I'll need to heal, sometimes I just want to wait out the day so I can better skulk at night.
There are many places like this scattered around the play area of Fallout 3. Little safe zones (usually safe because you made them that way) where you can slip away and grab some much needed rest.
Besides the bed under the bridge, there's one of the abandoned homes in Minefield (once you clear out its deranged sniper resident anyway), the luxury hotel in Rivet City (when you can afford it), or the mattress tossed into subway alcove nearby (when you can't), and of course, your home in Megaton.
Every single one of these locations is optional, you never have to visit them at all. But if you have, it gives you another little resource in the game, a number of added rest areas that feel safe and familiar.
These locations make the game feel much more like a living place, a familiar place and in combination with the first person "you are there" perspective, they make Fallout 3 the best in the series so far.
And oh yeah, I am very much waiting for Fallout: New Vegas, so hurry up!