West Mesa Penitentiary
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West Mesa Penitentiary, otherwise known as Red Mesa Penitentiary or simply The Prison, is a tall building, located in the Desert, where Henry was incarcerated after getting caught in an attempt to break into a Bank nearby.
"We vow to stop criminals and put them in jail, and keep them in jail, and if they escape, we’ll catch them and put them back again. We are the top rated penitentiary in the area (and also the only one but that is irrelevant)"
According to their mission statement, their core values are simply to be vigilant and shoot to kill. Further details are listed below:
- Be Vigilant - It’s a good trait to have and one we pride ourselves on.
- Be Creative - I wrote this entire thing filled with BS that I don’t think people can even read so... yeah.
- Shoot to Kill - We try not to waste ammo. it’s what makes us efficient.
Escaping the Prison
The building is 32-33 floors high, with gray walls. Henry's cell is located on the 17th floor, as can be seen during the Jetpack fail. There are more than 100 cell rooms, with windows. There are also a lot of offices, meeting rooms and prison wings. There is also an elevator and stairs to the ground floor. In front of the building there's a police car belonging to Rupert Price (which Henry steals in the Badass Bust Out ending), and when you walk in you can see security room and a billboard with some notes, and an employee of the month picture hanging from the wall.
The building and security plan is led by Captain Ed Roberts, who carries an AR-15 (AK-47 in the Original). The rest of workers there are higher ups such as Captain Roland Canterbury, Captain Geoffrey Custard, and Casual Policemen. Dave Panpa and Rupert Price are on Henry Stickmin's cell on the same floor where Harold Ronson the repairman was fixing the pipes. A lot of other staff can be seen when Henry ends on a police meeting or when he uses the Opacitator or NrG Drink.
The only other seen prisoner besides Henry is Blade McGee but there is definitely a lot more. Henry was locked up in the prison for around 33 days, according to the scratches on the walls he created.
Fleeing the Complex
The Building is also briefly seen in Fleeing the Complex when picking the Warp Star option during the "Presumed Dead" ending. The star allows Henry to escape from the truck he is in but ends up sending him crashing back into West Mesa Penitentiary. The fail screen says "This place seems familiar".
Completing the Mission
The prison appears again in the "Multiverse Correction" secret ending, where it is shown that the Center for Chaos Containment sent Henry Stickmin the Cake as part of fixing an anomaly in the multiverse. Dave Panpa picks the box up and Rupert Price wants him to bring that box, and so it is how the entire series starts.
- The prison was unnamed in the original games. The name West Mesa Penitentiary was introduced in the remastered version of Escaping the Prison.
- Although the sign above the entrance clearly says "West Mesa Penitentiary", the character bios for the guards and inmates refer to the prison as "Red Mesa Penitentiary".
- According to PuffballsUnited in the games Developer Commentary it's because he made the bios 3 years after he made the sign above the entrance and forgot what he called it.
- It is possible that "West Mesa Penitentiary" may be located in Arizona or New Mexico, suggested by the surrounding deserts characteristic of the state, and the real life area of West Mesa in Albuquerque, which might have inspired the name of the prison.
- However, it is confirmed by PuffballsUnited that it is actually located in Arizona, possibly near Phoenix.
- What adds on is the seal on the side of the police car parked out front, which looks like the Arizona state flag but flipped upside down.
- Upon closer inspection, the mission statement can be read if one is quick enough(see above), with an additional notation: “some text to look like it says stuff”.
- In the Legacy version there is a sign saying DPD which stands for Drawed Police Department. This is a reference to how Puffballs, as a kid, once created a fictional world where Henry, a minor character, used a pencil to draw an entire world, and he called it Drawed.
- Behind Henry, you can see tally marks, which represent how much days he counted himself been in prison. According to these tally marks, Henry has been locked in prison for 33 days so far, in Escaping the Prison, which may total up to one month and two days.
- However, it is possible that the tally marks are actually left by a previous prisoner.
- Rupert is seen driving a police car with the same serial number in StD.