As George RR Martin famously wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” While intended for literature, this quote can most definitely be applied to the realm of video games. What is a video game if not an enthralling, controllable life in a whole new world?
With that said… there are certainly some video game worlds I want to inhabit more than others. That’s not to say that I don’t find others interesting – I’m merely a coward, and the idea of living in the world of Fallout or BioShock (however beautiful it may be) gives me the willies. And don’t even get me started on The Last of Us. Even Final Fantasy 7 is less than ideal, when you consider the implications of Muki and the Honey Bee Inn. Oh dear.
- Katamari Damacy
Including Katamari Damacy was a challenging decision. On one hand, it’s an enrapturing, colorful world filled with J-Pop, animals, and food; on the other, you are basically the victim of tiger parenting. I suppose my love for cute things won, because here it is on the list. I think what does it for me is all of that wacky global and space travel. When choosing Katamari Damacy as the world I want to live in, I’m really choosing dozens of other worlds within it. And, of course, the chance to roll a sumo wrestler into food.
- Dwarf Fortress
Super-indie ASCII game Dwarf Fortress is perhaps more dangerous than Silent Hill and Left 4 Dead combined; why else did it earn the title “Losing is Fun”? It makes an odd choice of a video game world I wish to inhabit, considering any novice’s first few experiences with the game end with your entire fortress being overrun by zombie camels.However, when in a more secure and bucolic world, the life of the dwarves in this game consists of continuously breeding cats (catsplosions!) and a constant beer drinking. That is, until the nobility comes.
- Animal Crossing
Perhaps this answer is a little easy, but Animal Crossing is essentially the life I would lead if I didn’t have responsibilities or bills to pay. Hanging out in the neighborhood, catching fish, digging up fossils, sending letters, and talking to animals. The idea of being indebted to Tom Nook isn’t ideal, of course, but again it’s not so dissimilar to real life. I’m sure I’ll be OK there.
I may get some flak from readers for saying this, but I think that Banjo-Kazooie was the best game on the N64. It is such an absurdly expansive game, especially when compared to many of its adventure game successors, and I can still remember the cast of characters vividly so many years later. What other game let you raise a baby bird, care for a giant metal shark’s aching teeth, and compete in a game show? These are the type of adventures that appeal at any age.
For all children born in my generation, there were two heart shattering moments like no other, the double-whammy of adolescence: not receiving a letter of acceptance into Hogwarts at the age of 11, and not being allowed to venture forth in the world as a Pokemon Trainer on your 10th birthday. Kanto, with its iconic cities, is just the most happening place to be. It’s a world where brawling on the streets is encouraged among the youth, taking things off the streets is encouraged, and shorts are comfy and easy to wear. You can even use an “Escape Rope” when things get awkward and you want to bounce. What preteen wouldn’t love that? Or adult me.
What video game worlds do you want to inhabit? I’m sure those bold and brave ladies out there will pick Skyrim or something with equivalent levels of kick-assery. Or, if you’re more like me, you’ll probably pick something like Harvest Moon. Let us know what your top five picks are!