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"I thought to myself, why don't I do it?" - inside a Fallout New Vegas fan's campaign to get Mr House on the Vegas sphere

“The only thing that will stop me from doing it, minus a lack of funds, would be if MSG Sphere outright didn't allow me to display anything at all.”

Mr House's face in front of concept art of New Vegas in Fallout New Vegas.
Image credit: Obsidian

It all started with a post on r/falloutnewvegas, Evan Zarsaz says.

“A user posted the meme with Mr House displayed on the sphere - original made by @tunnelsnakesfool on Instagram - with the next photo showing the price to advertise on the sphere,” he tells me, “and a caption that said ‘Hey guys did you know if all the members of the subreddit donated 5 dollars we would be able to put Mr House on the Las Vegas sphere’.

“Several users suggested that someone set up a fundraiser, and I thought to myself, why don't I do it?”

According to Zarsaz, under different circumstances, he might not have actually followed through on this passing thought. “Truthfully, if my work day wasn't so slow and I had to make it later, there's a good chance I'd [have made] a mental note to start a fundraiser and [forgotten] about it,” he admits, “I'd only remember it again when it's inconvenient and I can't write it down, like in the shower, or while I'm driving.”

He didn’t however, and with that, the GoFundMe campaign to display iconic Fallout New Vegas character and RobCo CEO Robert Edwin House’s computerised visage on the Las Vegas Sphere for one day was born. “Mr House has always fascinated me,” Zarsaz says. “Maybe it's his voice and speech pattern, his long term goals, the power he holds, or his mystique to both the player and the general population of New Vegas. Whatever it is, Obsidian did such an amazing job writing and casting him. Not to say they didn't do an outstanding job on other characters, but Mr House just happens to be one of my favourites.”

As of writing, the movement to put this interesting man on a big light-up ball has amassed $4,113 worth of donations in just over two weeks, with $487,710 being the target. It’s fair to say that, even though there’s still a very long way to go if that goal is to be reached, it’s attracted a lot more interest than its architect foresaw.

“I expected people to screenshot the page and see it make rounds on meme pages. What I didn't anticipate was a few thousand dollars in donations or the many media outlets reporting on it,” he says. “Once I started seeing articles pouring out, I realised that I have momentum and that I needed to run with it before it loses relevance, hence the social media pages.

“The publicity hasn't changed my day-to-day life all that much, other than joking with friends and family that I'm famous and asking if they want autographs. I'm not a celebrity (thankfully), nor do I want to be one. The only major change is that all of my free time since making the socials has consisted of making content to spread awareness.”

While Zarsaz has quickly embraced being the person behind the campaign, he tells me that suddenly having a duty to actually make Vegas Sphere House a thing if enough people donate money to the fundraiser - or to reimburse them if it doesn’t - was definitely daunting to start off with. “I remember seeing the first donation for $5 and thinking to myself, ‘Oh God, what if this takes off! I have so much work to do, I need to get on it ASAP!’”

Victor outside the Lucky 38 in Fallout New Vegas.
'Yer tryin' to get the boss on the Vegas sphere, pardner? Shoot, head on up!' | Image credit: VG247/Obsidian

“Due to the fact that [the campaign] was made as a joke during my lunch break, I didn't look into [the practicalities of] it at all [beforehand],” he tells me, “I just saw ‘$450,000 per day. The cost of a Sphere Ad Placement’, added extra for tax and surcharges, and figured I wouldn't have to worry about it just yet. Of course, I'll need to get in contact with [the company behind the sphere] at some point, but I know their time is valuable and I don't see a point in reaching out at this moment in time. Heck, we haven't even raised 1% of the goal yet.”

In a recent update to the campaign page’s FAQ section, Zarsaz has outlined how he’d plan to approach various scenarios that could come to pass when it comes to getting House on the sphere. For example, if the goal is reached and it takes less than the money raised to make the House sphere happen, he writes that he’ll refund any excess donations. “Some people have suggested donating any excess donations to a charity organisation,” he added, “but since I'm making this update a week later, it wouldn't be fair since that wasn't included in the description at the time of making the fundraiser.”

Similarly, if it transpires that more money than the goal is needed to do it, Zarsaz writes: “if it's a small fraction extra, I'll update the goal. If however, I deem it to be substantially and unrealistically high, I may refund all donors, or possibly make a poll and let the donors vote on the next step.” He’s even thought about how things could be approached if he’s unable to use the planned image of House’s face from the game, outlining some substitutes that might be options, and pledging to refund all donations if none of that’ll “satisfy the expectations of the donors” can be found.

A Caesar's Legion soldier knocking out a super mutant in Fallout New Vegas.
Putting together $487,710. Can't be much tougher than beating up a minigun-toting mutant, can it? | Image credit: Obsidian

“As I took the time to ponder it, I'm feeling very confident that, if the goal is reached, I will be able to go through with it and match the expectations of the donors,” the organiser tells me. “I'd like to think I'm a go-getter, quitting isn't an option. My day job constantly challenges me to find solutions to issues, so I don't see this not happening due to something in my personal control. The only thing that will stop me from doing it, minus a lack of funds, would be if MSG Sphere outright didn't allow me to display anything at all.”

To that end, in the FAQ, he also specifies that if the campaign hasn’t “reached any major milestones” by May 2025 - when Zarsaz hopes the total raised will ideally be sitting around halfway to the goal - he’ll “refund all donors and shut down the fundraiser”.

For now, it seems that Zarsaz and his donors will just have to see how things go. Though, in the meantime, the organiser - whose Fallout journey began when he got Fallout 3 for Christmas after being intrigued by an advert for it - tells me that the meme-based campaign’s already had a positive consequence for him.

“One great thing that's come of it is that I've found a lot of joy in interacting with the Fallout community,” he says, “Truthfully, I don't have time to play video games all that much anymore. Whenever I get home from work or the weekend comes around and I want to start a Fallout playthrough, I just think about the many hours of getting through the whole ‘tutorial’ phase I'll have to endure before getting to the actual fun - you know, getting out of the vault/Goodsprings, farming experience, collecting junk to sell, etc.”

“This fun little project revitalised my love for the franchise, and I couldn't be happier!”

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