When it's done right, there's something pretty cool about "home bases" in video games. Returning to such a place after a long and grueling journey through a dungeon can give you the same sense of relief that you get from, say, going back to your suburban apartment after an exhausting day of fighting the crowd at Comic-Con. Or whatever.
Even the "Hero's Journey" archetype includes the "Return" as a major stage in the cycle. So just as there is some innate sense of satisfaction in stories that utilize this motif, so there is in these kinds of video games as well (which are usually very heavily story-based, anyway).
Two of my favorite video game "home bases" are Skyloft, from Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the Comet Observatory from Super Mario Galaxy. Just for fun - and in the spirit of Super Bowl week - let's see how they stack up against each other, shall we? (warning: mild spoilers below)
Neighbors: Skyloft has a bunch of interesting characters who live with you, from your fellow Knight trainees who represent the standard range of high school stereotypes to the split-personality people at the Bazaar. The Observatory has lumas, toads, and Rosalina. Point to Skyloft.
Interesting Twists: Each home base has cool little nooks and crannies for you to discover throughout the game, and eventually each one plays a major role in the storyline that involves it becoming something that you wouldn't (or maybe you would, depending on how many video games you play) expect. I won't go into major detail here, but I will award this one to Skyloft.
So the winner is...Skyloft! Really, though, it's hard to choose between the two. You'll just have to play the games yourself and decide which one you prefer. As for me, I'm gonna go eat stuff out of my fridge now.