The games industry is full of exotic locales, picturesque towns and exciting cities. We take a peek at a few of the most popular tourist destinations of the gaming world, and give you a little taste of what fun you can expect. From sightseeing wonderlands to relaxing country getaways, there's sure to be something in here for everyone.
Albion – Fable II
There’s plenty of fun to be had in Albion, the free love capital of gaming and the lothario’s holiday destination of choice. Nowhere else in the gaming world will you find locals of both sexes so easy or eager to please. A gift and a funny face and you’re in! Just be sure to bring a prophylactic or two: you don’t want to come back with an STD. Don’t worry if your conquests become overly clingy and start following you around and disrupting your holiday; after all, you can always have them sacrificed to the dark spirits and then spend the finder’s fee at duty free on the way back.
City 17 – Half-Life 2
Cameras at the ready, people, as City 17 boasts some of the finest Eastern European architecture, with pre-WWII neo-classicist structures sitting in perfect harmony alongside Soviet modernist complexes, and the enormous, towering Citadel stretching up into the clouds. Of course, don’t expect to be able to take your photos home unless secreted somewhere inside your person, as Combine officials don’t look too kindly upon snap-happy tourists, or anyone for that matter. There’s plenty to do in the surrounding countryside, too, with the Ravenholm overnight stay proving so popular that most visitors simply decide to stay and are never seen again.
Paradise City – Burnout Paradise
Paradise City is the petrolhead’s ultimate holiday locale, with winding mountain roads for taking in an afternoon in the convertible, a bustling seafront for cruising along leisurely, an abandoned quarry for testing out some sweet stunts and dozens of garages where you can pimp your ride. Do be wary at traffic lights, though, as several visitors have returned penniless from losing street races in which they didn't even realise they were taking part. It’s always sunny in Paradise City so no need to bring a brolly, and there are no traffic laws or police so you can carve up the road as fast as you like. I’d take out some insurance though first, as the occasional holidaymaker will ruin it for everyone by causing a 50-car pile-up just for a laugh. Be advised that you may have to sleep in your car though, as you won't be able to leave your vehicle, and pedestrians are strictly banned.
Rapture - Bioshock
Fancy a holiday like no other? You should check out Rapture. The underwater paradise was built upon socio-economic laissez-faire policies, making it a haven for artists, scientists, philosophers and businessmen alike. From its art deco architecture to its bathysphere transport system, Rapture will blow your mind. You’ve never seen water this good, with perfect diving opportunities for deep-sea lovers. On a romantic getaway? Be sure to sample the ADAM: guaranteed to help you rise to the occasion, although be advised over-use can lead to addiction and insanity. Incidentally, watch out for wandering orphan drug-mules and overprotective drill enthusiasts.
Silent Hill – Silent Hill
Situated around the edge of Toluca Lake, right next to a large forest, Silent Hill is perfect for those city-dwellers looking to just get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. You won’t find big chain stores or franchises here as the town is almost entirely self-sufficient, and full of sheer, natural beauty. Silent Hill has had some bad press recently with some visitors complaining that the town was nothing like it was described in the promotional brochure, all empty and blanketed in thick fog with faulty electrics and unwholesome noises everywhere, but strangely enough most agency follow-ups are unable to find those in question. It does mean, though, that prices are dead cheap! Visitors are encouraged to partake in the town’s traditional ceremonies and rituals, and the town has been known to be a fond location for nudist holiday makers and bizarre circus acts.
Vice City – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Fancy trying your hand in a casino or two on holiday, getting in a game of golf or two at the Leaf Links or maybe even hitting up the Hyman Stadium for a demolition derby or rock gig? Vice City's perma-80s metropolis is certainly the place to be. As with any city, there'll be the occasional murder spree, but they only ever last for a minute or two. Why not take in a sweep of the city with the Tommy Vercetti Tour and visit all of the landmarks in his old empire. Grab a beer with washed-up members of Love Fist, check in on Ken Rosenberg’s offices in Washington Beach, and go on a delivery run with The Cherry Popper Ice Cream Factory van, just don’t sample the stuff. Or offer it to kids. Or try to smuggle any back with you.
Wuhu Island – Wii Sports Resort
Definitely the destination of choice for all you amateur athletes out there, Wuhu Island offers some of the finest sports around including its glorious 18 hole golf course, bowling alleys, airsports and an extensive array of water-based activities. Resort residents can also engage in a number of other activities such as table tennis, archery and swordplay. Be sure to bring a partner as although there are usually plenty of other residents you’re likely to see who’ll jump at the chance to join your baseball team should you ever create one, none of them will want to play Frisbee with you and you’ll feel sad and alone and probably want to drink a lot, only the resort doesn’t really offer a bar. Or beds for that matter.
These are just a few we picked out for fun, but a memorable virtual world can make or break a game. Have you got a favourite? Let us know in the comments below.