The offbeat real estate renovation game House Flipper includes several pop culture references in its properties, and the two most prominent are its Breaking Bad and Home Alone-themed houses. House Flipper tasks the player with earning enough money to purchase often severely damaged properties, make repairs and alterations to suit the needs of buyers, and resell at a higher value. This emphasis on homes made the game a perfect opportunity to showcase residences from media where a house is an iconic part of the story.
The first of the two is the property called “Seller’s House,” a reference to the sale of crystal meth as featured in AMC’s landmark series Breaking Bad. The house’s description notes it belonged to a family where the father was a chemistry teacher, a clear callback to the story of Walter White, who was working as a high school chemistry teacher when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and turned to producing and selling meth to ensure his family would be cared for after his passing.
From the moment a player purchases the Seller’s House, the Breaking Bad connection is evident. Approaching the house from the outside, players will see a pizza box in the driveway and a whole pizza on the roof of the house, recalling the moment from season three when Walter’s wife Skyler locked him out of the house, and in frustration he threw a pizza which landed perfectly on the roof. Investigating the interior shows a series of suspicious stains, some of which might be blood. The property is covered in graffiti the player will need to remove to increase the home’s resale value, and one prominent piece of graffiti on an interior wall spells out “Hamburberg,” an obvious but slightly altered reference to “Heisenberg,” Walter White’s pseudonym in the drug world.
House Flipper’s Breaking Bad House Has Several Callbacks
Another callback to Breaking Bad in the Seller’s Home is a small square recess in a closet hidden under a rug that contains several stacks of cash. These can be sold for a bit over $500 each using the game’s scanner tool, which can help offset some of the purchase price of the home and the costs for repair. The imagery is reminiscent of episodes which feature Skylar storing money in the home’s crawlspace, though the amount recovered in House Flipper is far less than the millions in drug money the White family hid in Breaking Bad, similar to the hidden Van Gogh painting in another House Flipper property selling for about $55,000, instead of the fortune the real-world painting would be valued at. In the backyard, the swimming pool contains a pink teddy bear, a distinctive visual cue of the toy that fell into the pool as a result of an airplane accident that connected, in a roundabout way, to the actions of Walter White and his co-conspirator Jesse Pinkman.
The property called “Alone Home” advertises its connection to the original Home Alone movie, where the house played a pivotal role. The residence is described as big enough to house a family of 15, recalling the scenes from Home Alone where the extended family gathers in the titular home prior to leaving for a vacation to France. The property in House Flipper resembles the Home Alone house, and it contains evidence of traps that Kevin McCallister used to either humorously or horrifically thwart the Wet Bandits.
House Flipper’s Home Alone House Showcases Its Traps
An oily staircase in Alone Home descends to the basement, simply another mess to clean in House Flipper rather than a dangerous hazard. Broken Christmas ornaments near a window recall those that impaled the bare feet of would-be robber Marv Murchins. A fan lying on the ground next to a pile of feathers might remind players of Kevin’s “tarred and feathered” trap. Lastly, the placement of paint cans at the base of a staircase reminisces on the swinging paint can trap Kevin employed.
The numerous empty pizza boxes and soda cans lying around the property appear to be the aftermath of Kevin’s time spent ordering pizza and eating junk food, in the absence of parental control. While far from one-to-one recreations of the homes in the fiction they pay homage to, House Flipper’s Breaking Bad and Home Alone homes are clever winking references to popular film and television, with some changes due to the lack of official license for the works in question.