Videogames have always been this interactive form of escapism. For years I would play my Game Boy Color with Pokemon Yellow while riding in the car between Ohio and North Carolina to dive into the world of Kanto and avoid the boring real world drive. Over the years, as my game tastes have expanded, I've come to find so many different worlds that I would love to go and visit. Here are a few:
inFamous 2: New Marais
Empire City in the first inFamous was enjoyable, but for the most part, it felt very generic. As a video game recreation of New York City, the building types and city streets seemed very bland, especially when you take in to account the fact that so many games before it have used the similar atmosphere (Spider-Man, Crackdown, Prototype..etc.).
The shift to New Marais brought a lot of characterization to the world of inFamous, and sucked me right in. From the random musicians, the string lights hanging and the mixture of new and old architecture, I fell in love with New Marais. The charm of the city comes from just how short of being real is. When you walk along the streets you get that feeling that people could live here. Aside from the conduits and militia, it'd be a whole lot of fun living on the bayou and riding the tram around the city. Add in the Pyre Night event and man does the city really come to life as a place to go and party. Part of it comes from my desire to visit New Orleans, the real world
counterpart of New Marais, but I would love to be plopped down in New
Marais to travel in the swamps and party in the downtown area. Hell, throw in some conduit powers and it would be well worth the trip.
Journey: The Tunnel
Journey is beautiful. The first time the game starts up and you watch the grains of sand move around the players feet you know you're in for a treat. That being said, traveling through a desert doesn't sound like the most fun in the world, even one as beautiful as Journey's. Except for the Tunnel segment. The moment you slide down from this fast-paced sliding sequence to a dead stop in the dark, you know you're in for something special. The feeling of being underwater while not actually being underwater is so unique, it's hard to not want to jump in there. From the flowing cloth-kelp to the jellyfish cloth creatures, the world is perfectly recreated to mirror a small dive into the tropical oceans, without the diving gear. Jumping weightlessly from one row of kelp to another, moving between shafts of light that sparingly shine down on the floor, I'm ready to strap on my scarf right now to go.
Falling into Tearaway's papercraft world is such an adorable experience that it's hard to tear yourself away from it (see what I did there?). Though it's so well put together, the downfall is that the world feels so entirely empty, even when you come across the charming NPC's of the game. However, despite this weakness, I would love to go to Sogport for a stroll.
Traveling around down from the iconic lighthouse, the world opens up to a vast sea rolling against the quaint port town. Though there is a surprising lack of characters to fill this tiny town, it's so adorable and portrays the quintessential port town that I want to be whisked away there. If you have the game, make your way to Sogport and just stand on one of the docks and look out to sea. It's so serene and peaceful, the way the paper waves curl and crash on the dockside. The lighthouse slowly spins it's beacon above. The small houses are stacked on plateaus, staggering up the hillside. There's even a small beach section where you could go swimming. Even without the game powers, Sogport would be a great place to visit, and that is something really special.
Final Fantasy IX: Lindblum
This one is an oldie but a goodie for me. I love Final Fantasy IX. To this day it is still one of my top games, easily within my top five. There are so many great places to visit within the world of Gaia, but Lindblum sticks out to me above all.
Aside from the short venture around Alexandria as Vivi, Lindblum is the first major city the party visits. Compared to the small village of Dali and even the very flat Alexandria, Lindblum is a marvel. A humongous city that is built on top of a mountain, it is full of crazy cool steam powered technology. For being a large city, it's also full of unique citizens from various races and places. This city is so large there is a rail system to move between the districts.
Over all the aesthetic of the city just speaks volumes. Steam powered technology mixed with ancient castle and building architecture makes the place feel so familiar yet so different that you want to just be there. Include the fact that it's the airship capital of the world, is located near the beach and hosts a giant hunting competition within the city walls every year and Lindblum is full of reasons to want to visit it.
Ni No Kuni: Ding Dong Dell
Part of it may be that this game is so fresh in my mind, but there hasn't been a place in a game that speaks to me like Ding Dong Dell. Every time I walked those cobble stone streets, I wanted to be there. Right then and there. Not playing it, but actually there.
The simple, older architecture makes the place look so quaint, but strong, like it has been there forever and isn't going anywhere. This sense of history is seen in the worn stones that make up everything as well as all the vegetation and moss covering everything. Small streams trickle through the town and green vegetation grows everywhere. Old catpaw symbols decorate the streets and walls and there a gorgeous ancient tomb near the back of town. Even the people are simple and nice and look like they belong in the world.
The thing that really makes me want to be in Ding Dong Dell is that I believe I could be. The entire aesthetic makes it feel so homey and real that I wish I could just look at a map and start buying my plane ticket today. Hell, I'd probably move there.
So these are just a few of many locals that would be great to see in person rather than experiencing them through a controller. What are some of your favorite game locations you'd like to visit? Sound off in the comments below and as always, keep the conversation going.