Gamers may have a bit of a reputation for staying in front of the computer for too long, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t seen as much of the world as others. From dystopian war zones to historical monuments, gamers have actually been to many virtual renditions of spectacular destinations across the globe.
Just like books and films, video games have the power to transport viewers to another land. In fact, they tend to do escapism better than most media, since developers are known to put serious commitment into perfecting these motion graphics. Thanks to technology, players are able to engage with these beautiful realities from the comfort of their own homes.
But of course, these places aren’t just pulled out of thin air. Often, they draw inspiration from the real world we live in. And now with the growing popularity of advancements like Augmented Reality, effects are now more elevated than ever, increasing video games’ resemblance to real-life locations and experiences even more. Whether or not the similarities are intentional, using familiar locations makes it more relatable for players, and may even inspire them to get off their screens and experience these environments in the flesh.
Video game fan or not, here are some fantastic gaming world locations that might inspire your next trip or gaming binge.
As seen in: Tomb Raider
According to Business Insider‘s gaming reporter Kevin Webb, the cult popularity of the Tomb Raider franchise catapulted Lara Croft from female protagonist to the gaming industry’s poster child. Having been created in 1996 by British developers at Core Design, Lara Croft and the franchise surrounding her are one of the longest running of their kind in the whole video game history. Throughout the years, the leading lady’s journey has been explored in two Hollywood films, various magazine covers, advertisements, and more.
But on top of all these accomplishments, Tomb Raider was also able to shed light on the wondrous land of Cambodia. The game takes players around the Angkor Wat, which is known as the largest religious monument in the world, housing ruins from a 12th century temple built during the Khmer Empire. While you probably wouldn’t want to include ravine diving and rattlesnake fighting in your itinerary like Lara Croft has had to in the games, you can opt to visit Siem Reap, the closest city to the temple.
As seen in: Sleeping Dogs
From the distinctly blinding neon lights to the city’s rugged urban charm, it’s almost hard to tell Sleeping Dogs’ virtual version of Hong Kong from the real thing. The game completely immerses players in the environment, all thanks to the intricate details that the developers have injected into the effects and game play. Pleasantly lurking in the scene are some modern day landmarks and institutions, such as the impressive Bank of China Tower. Even the atmosphere and vibe in the game has been perfected down to a tee, as heard in the background characters’ uncanny local accents and the street vendors serving up true-to-life Chinese cuisine.
As seen in: Far Cry 5
The Wild Wild West is an instantly recognizable setting, constantly playing host to many of our favorite pop culture classics. Its dramatic landscapes and iconic rock formations are simply the perfect backdrop for action, as seen in hit shows like Westworld and Little House on the Prairie. Unsurprisingly, video games have followed suit, as in the case of Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5.
While the game’s main location, Hope County, isn’t an actual place, developers were inspired by the rugged beauty of Montana in Northwestern USA. In fact, they have created such an accurate portrayal of the state that the game’s locale has taken on a role as one of the most influential characters in the entire Far Cry 5 game. Just a few levels in and you’re sure to be pulled in by the allure of Montana’s mountains, too.
As seen in: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin’s Creed is pretty much a masterclass for creators on how to ensure the world you make is well-represented and credible. For Brotherhood, its developers designed it in a way that was almost obsessive in ensuring that it historically accurate, even going as far as consulting a Renaissance scholar. And although modern-day Italy has an endless array of potential breathtaking backdrops, the game takes players back in time to Ancient Rome, showing many of its iconic structures such as the Colosseum and Capitoline Hill.
The city is such a rich resource for inspiration that countless other games have been influenced by its heritage. Online slot gaming giant Slingo hosts titles such as Soldier of Rome, Ave Caesar, and Spartacus, which are all deeply influenced by the ancient empire and life in it. Because many of the locations have been carefully preserved, it makes for an interesting encounter once you actually see and touch them personally. Moreover, Ancient Rome’s impact is so immense that it can be felt even across other industries, too. One example of this is the vast world of fashion. The Telegraph notes that many modern trends and labels consistently take their cue from Greco-Roman looks, from the gladiator sandal to asymmetrical body jewellery.
As seen in: Far Cry 4
Another destination from the Far Cry universe, the fourth installment makes use of the surreal Himalayan mountains of Nepal. Just looking at the vast snow-capped peaks and seemingly infinite frozen terrains can almost make you feel the cold ice between your own hands. The environment is so impressively accurate, with developers even matching their game to the locals’ own clothing. For sure, you’ll be itching for the authentic experience with every in-game goal you accomplish.