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The Top 5 Gaming Worlds I Want to Inhabit

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

There are a lot of different things we can and do talk about when reviewing or simply discussing games. We talk about the graphics, the sound, controls, enemy AI, level design, story, and on and on. One subject that doesn’t get quite as much attention, but is still very important to one’s enjoyment of a game, is the world in which the game (and the player) inhabits. The in-game world is often focused on more in “open-world” games, but even more linear/structured games can have a great sense of place with a generous helping of character and personality (e.g. Dead Space, Bioshock, and others). I’ve been playing A LOT of Skyrim lately, and recently transitioned to playing A LOT of Mass Effect 3. And both of those got me thinking about their respective in-game worlds, and just how much fun they are to be in. And that got me thinking about some of my favorite in-game worlds ever, places that if they existed as part of an infinite multiverse, I’d want to go live in*.

*Provided I could upload all of the skills and traits necessary to survive to my brain, Matrix-style. Obviously I wouldn’t want to go there as I am right now; I’d probably die within the first 10 minutes of arriving.

#5 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Yes, I know. This one almost doesn’t count, as it’s definitely lacking in originality. The Old Republic games developed by Bioware are all based on the Star Wars films, the difference being they’re set several thousand years prior to the events of the original trilogy. Of course, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t space ships with hyperdrives, bounty hunters, smugglers, blasters, Force users. LOTS of Force users. That’s probably the best thing about these games. In the films, the Jedi are either all but extinct, are doing boring sh*t like negotiating treaties. YAWN. But in the Old Republic world, there are hundreds of Sith running around embracing the Dark Side. You could either fight them or join them, or just make a handsome profit off their on-going war. It’s win-win-win.

#4 – Borderlands

The world of Pandora is beautiful in its own way, albeit extremely dangerous. And not “look both ways before crossing the street” dangerous, but “just about everything and everyone actively tries to kill you on sight” dangerous. Thankfully this world takes the right to bear arms to extremes that would make Charlton Heston orgasm in his grave. That and the “New-U” technology that will conveniently respawn your recently deceased body (for a price) a safe distance from the aforementioned danger, and now we’re getting somewhere. There is such a plethorific cornucopia of firearms that you will “joy puke your face off” as the trailer for Borderlands 2 happily promises. I’m not even much of a gun enthusiast in real life, but if the world of Borderlands were real, I’d be registering with the NRA pronto.

#3 – Mass Effect

As I mentioned, I played some of the Mass Effect 3 demo, and with the full game recently released, I simply had to include this world. The other sci-fi/space opera type game I was thinking of is Halo. But honestly, the world of Halo doesn’t seem all that fun. The only people who seem to be actively exploring space is the military, and the only alien species they’ve discovered (the Covenant) have begun a holy war to eradicate our species.  

While the galaxy is still under a dire threat from a “race” of machines called the Reapers, at least it seems to be a much more interesting place than that of Halo. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that Mass Effect is the Star Trek of the current generation. It certainly seems that Bioware took a good deal of inspiration from that venerable mythos. I could go on and on about how great the Mass Effect universe is, but this article articulates that sentiment better than I ever could. So go and read it (right after you finish reading this list), would you kindly?

#2 (or #1) – The Elder Scrolls

Whether it’s Tolkien high fantasy or  Howardian sword and sorcery, there’s just something about this setting that captures my imagination and holds it ransom. With The Elder Scrolls Bethesda has given us a world that is both original and familiar, innovative and derivative. Tamriel is a world of wizards and warriors, men and mer, and most of all, adventure. The Elder Scrolls puts a weapon in your hand and a road at your feet, and it leaves the rest to you. Sign me up.

#1 (or #2) – Fallout

I’m going to keep calling the world of Fallout nuclearpunk, until someone comes up with a better descriptor. If that doesn’t quite paint a picture for you, allow me to expound on it for a moment. What I call Fallout Nuclearpunk can be thought of as a genre of retro-futurism in which 1950’s pop culture, architecture, aesthetics, and social mores are blended with visions of the future from the decade that grew out of the inception of the Atomic Age. Robots. Ray guns. Cars powered by mini nuclear reactors. Oh, and it’s all been left in a state of rubble and decay from nuclear fallout from World War III. So it’s retro-futurism blended with Road Warrior-style post-apocalyptic wasteland. I don’t know of I can explain why this world is so appealing to me. But it is. Give me a Pip-Boy, a Vault jumpsuit, and a Weathered 10 MM Pistol and I’d be in heaven.

Author: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

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