Video games take us to fantastic places across many different fictional worlds and times, but plenty of them are rooted right here in reality.
This isn’t to say that those fictional destinations aren’t as great, but when a game shows you a place you can actually go, you can add it to your bucket list and start planning your next destination vacation.
Video games add a phenomenal level of escapism to our lives. This is particularly useful for those who are unable to reach every corner of the world.
Therefore, we are going to explore:
The Best Video Game Locations in Real Life
At the top of the list in video game locations is the Fallout series.
There are five games in the main series, but the more recent ones: Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4, hit more recognizable spots in the United States.
Even without the context of having played Fallout 3, Washington DC is a tourist destination for everyone.
You can compare photos of the haggard-looking Washington Monument or compare the futuristic technology built into the Jefferson Memorial as you tour through DC’s mall.
Even so, the game faithfully recreates parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland as the surrounding area, like the Washington Naval Yard which houses one of the game’s largest hubs, Rivet City.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout New Vegas takes place in titular New Vegas and the surrounding Mojave Desert, rebuilding from the ruins of our current Las Vegas.
While the actual elements of the Las Vegas strip are greatly diminished, New Vegas recreates the highway system surrounding the city and several locations such as:
- Hoover Dam
- Lake Mead
Hoover Dam is the site of much of the game’s conflict, as is Lake Mead that fuels it, and you can easily make a trip to tour both locales to see one of the United States’ marvels of construction.
The town of Nipton and Goodsprings are prominent in the early parts of the game and greatly resemble their real-world counterparts particularly well.
Nipton is infamous for once having the most lottery sales in all of California, because it exists just across Nevada state lines, mirroring one of the story beats of Fallout New Vegas.
Probably the most popular Fallout installment, with some excellent examples of marketing, Fallout 4 is a goldmine for real-world locations mirroring the game, and they’re all conveniently close together, seeing as the game centers in Boston.
Fallout 4 tends to repurpose Revolutionary War monuments and historical sites for plot points, including the famous Freedom Trail and the infamous Salem.
Boston is ripe with other locations like Fort Independence, called The Castle in Fallout 4, and Fenway Park, which is the game’s primary hub as Diamond City.
It would take you a whole week’s worth to hit all the things to do in Boston that the game covers, not to mention everything else you’d find in the city.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
In 2011 Eidos Montreal and Square Enix released Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a scifi game about people with high-tech prosthetics and other enhancements.
The first area you come to in Human Revolution is Detroit, Michigan, the unofficial capital of “augmented” people.
While the game heavily fictionalizes their locations, which include Montreal and a fictional district in Shanghai, they invoke very modern feel to all their destinations that can really entice a person to want to see them physically.
Human Revolution received a sequel in 2016 called Mankind Divided, and heavily features Prague as its setting.
Those with a penchant for international travel will find modern Prague just as exciting as the futuristic city portrayed by the game.
The Walking Dead
While not exactly a game with the tone to inspire vacation, The Walking Dead series by Telltale Games hits a few locations in the southern United States as it tours around the zombie apocalypse for its protagonists.
In the first season, you play as protagonist Lee as he guards a little girl named Clementine from the burgeoning zombie menace.
The game ties neatly in with nods to characters that appear in the comic book and TV show, but also the series lands you directly in beautiful coastal Savannah, Georgia.
Or, at least it would have been beautiful, had it not been for all the zombies.
While the game meets an emotional climax in the town, players discover how its survivors have been coping and traverse its varying districts in a coastal city that’s very inviting to visitors; at least, visitors that are living.
A series grounded heavily in historical locations is Assassin’s Creed.
From the outset of the first game, the protagonist Altair journeys through Crusade-era Jerusalem and Damascus to bring justice to his enemies.
The series truly begins to shine with later installments, such as Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, which both take place in Renaissance Italy, with the latter focusing nearly entirely in Rome.
Ezio, the protagonist, leaps from buildings and dashes through streets that still exist today to enact his vengeance.
Assassin’s Creed 3 touches on Revolutionary War-era America, showing you parts of Boston and New York City.
Subsequent games continue the historical fiction, with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate occurring across Victorian England and showing historical sites of London and beyond.
Forthcoming is Assassin’s Creed Origins, which plans on showing sites of ancient history—like the Great Pyramids’ construction.
Assassin’s Creed is a fantastic example of a series whose video game locations spread all around the world!
Games are a great way to introduce yourself to new places.
With each one you can add to your list of dream destinations, and hopefully make them a reality.
Take a trip to Venice and see the canals you leapt across in Assassin’s Creed 2, or tour the Mojave Desert to see the small town your courier crawled out of to save New Vegas.
Having our favourite heros interact with these locations gives an excuse to go on holiday and discover them for ourselves!
Featuring real life locations in our beloved video games also adds a sense of realness to the game. You can connect so much more easily to the story and the characters knowing it’s happening somewhere that exists.
I can’t relate to Destiny as well as I can relate to Fallout 4 as I’ve never been to Mars!
Is there a video game location based on real life that we have missed? Let us know in the comments below!