Gamers are often accused of not getting out and about enough – why would you when you can immerse yourself in a virtual reality that is more fun that life itself? Well, for serious gamers who still have an urge to travel and explore the great outdoors, there are some excellent locations you can visit that come straight out of your favorite game.
In the early days of gaming, the emphasis was on creating a fantasy realm in which the players could explore and fight. However, modern games are starting to base more gameplay on real locations using incredibly realistic 3D environments that look like the real thing. Why not visit your favorite gaming locations?
For Assassin’s Creed fans, the most iconic location is the Colosseum in Rome, which is featured in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. In the game, the Colosseum has been recreated in its former glory as a fully functioning building at the height of its glory. Today, it is just an incredibly well-preserved ruin, and while impressive beyond imagination, its marble walls and carved statues are no longer present.
The Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, and it is on the Piazza del Colosseo in Rome. It covers an area of two hectares, so be prepared to do a lot of walking if you wish to take in all its magnificent glory.
Assassin’s Creed also takes players to Florence and Venice, both of which are recreated masterfully and are well worth a visit if you are in Italy.
For Batman fans, a trip to the actual Arkham Asylum is a genuine treat. Arkham Asylum was set in a real psychiatric hospital called Danvers State Hospital. This 19th century hospital was built in the Victorian Gothic style and looked as terrifying in real life as in fantasy. It was built in an isolated site in rural Massachusetts near Danvers, and was a self-contained hospital built according to the Kirkbride Plan. Danvers State Hospital is thought to be where the first pre-frontal lobotomy took place.
The dim corridors of these huge, imposing Victorian era institutional buildings are the perfect setting for Arkham Asylum and create a nightmare vision in which art and reality become entwined and confused.
The Arkham Asylum in Batman was actually inspired by the master of horror fiction, HP Lovecraft, who first wrote about an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts, after visiting Danvers. Today, it is a suburban luxury apartment complex, but you can still view the outside of the building.
Real life Azeroth?
One of the most iconic and popular video games of the past decade has undoubtedly been the World of Warcraft series. The first World of Warcraft was released in 2004, and it has been going strong for over a decade now. The game takes place in the fictional world of Azeroth; many people have reported discovering real locations that are extremely similar to places in Azeroth.
For example, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona has been likened to the Sunwell, which the Blood Elves worship. The French Alps have also been compared to the Stonetalon Mountains, and if you wish to experience a realm similar to Sholazar Basin, you could head to the jungles of Central America.
A major driving force behind many of the most exciting massively multiplayer online games in the last decade has been executive Bobby Kotick, CEO of Blizzard, the company behinds games such as World of Warcraft, Diablo and HearthStone. Overwatch, one of Blizzard’s highly anticipated games for 2015, is set in areas called King’s Row, Hanamura, and Temple of Anubis, which are inspired by England, Japan, and the ruins of Ancient Egypt respectively.
San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York
Of course, some of the most realistic games on offer are not set in a fantasy world. For a modern, highly realistic game you cannot beat the 2011 game, Driver: San Francisco, which features many iconic landmarks from the city and a very accurate street layout.
Also in California is L.A. Noire, which is set in Los Angeles and features the famous Hollywood Boulevard along with most other streets. If you visit Los Angeles after playing this game, you will probably already know your way around.
If you have played Crisis 2 then you will know New York. Even without an alien invasion taking place, you will recognize many of the streets and landmarks. New York is always worth visiting if you have the chance.
Sega’s Yakuza is set in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, and most distinctive is the red light district. In the game, the red light district is called Kamurocho, but it is based almost entirely on the layout and architecture of Kabukichō. Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities in the world.
A game that was created by former Blizzard employees is Hellgate: London. If you played this game, then many of London’s landmarks, including the underground system, will be familiar to you. Fortunately, the real London does not have demon-infested dungeons and city streets.
A more recent game set in London is The Getaway, which is another crime caper, but this time players can explore central London. It features many accurate representations of central London, including Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Soho. Even many of the shops are accurate, making this game a great way to explore the city before visiting, so long as you do not mind being shot at!
London also featured in Tomb Raider III. The most prominent locations were the Natural History Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the disused Aldwych tube station.
Gray Matter was a popular fantasy/adventure game from 2011. Much of the game was set in Oxford, with many iconic Oxford landmarks, such as the Carfax Tower and the famous colleges, being featured throughout.
The game also features some beautiful English countryside in the area between London and Oxford, which is an absolutely delightful place to visit.
It is a shame really that there are not more games located in our national parks and other scenic locations in America. Many of today’s games are focused on city environments. Maybe it is time game makers started to explore the great outdoors?