Video game tourism: When gamers turn into tourists

Video game tourism: When gamers turn into tourists

Destinations begin to find lucre in growing popularity of video games.
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Video games have become an integral part of media and an active form of entertainment for the masses. Though mostly virtual and make believe, the games are often based on a real-world tourist hotspot or famous monuments sparking interest in the hearts of players wanting to explore the tourist attraction for themselves. Over the years many destinations have been portrayed in video games and last year, Italy launched its own video game, Italy. Land of Wonders to target video gamers.

India Outbound curates a list of select destinations for the travellers out there who want to travel the world as Artyom did in Metro: 2033 completing his mission and travelling all across Russia.

Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum, largest amphitheatre is an integral part of the game Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre built under the Roman Empire by emperor Vespasian and was completed by his successor and heir Titus in 80 CE. The amphitheatre is located in the centre of Rome, just east of the Roman Forum. Despite being 2 millennium old, Colosseum continues to be the largest standing amphitheatre in the world.

Hence, it is little wonder that it finds a prominent place in video games. For instance, in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the main character Ezio Auditore da Firenze has to climb up the Colosseum and save one of his friends. Just as in the real world, the Colosseum in the game is quite mesmerising. Through the eyes of Auditore, one can roam the streets of Rome and enjoy the streets and culture set in the early 1500s.

Italy lets visitors enter the ground of the famed monument and experience the atmosphere and witness the point of view of an ordinary citizen of the Roman Empire watching the gladiators fighting after buying an entry ticket of EUR 16 (INR 1440) for adults. Gladiators were famed warriors who often faced animals, other gladiators and condemned criminals for the entertainment of people. They inspired a sense of admiration and love among the hearts of the audience and grasped a claim to fame in ancient times.

Notre Dame, Paris

Notre Dam one of the most famous cathedrals in France holds a significant value in tourism and spirituality as well as in the game Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Notre-Dame de Paris often referred to as simply Notre Dame is situated in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. It is a medieval Catholic Cathedral that has been attracting devotees and tourists alike. The Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and displays fine Gothic architecture prevalent in France during 1163 when its construction began, under the supervision of Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely completed by 1260. The cathedral has witnessed several key moments in French and European history, notably the French Revolution and the transition of France from monarchy to constitutional monarchy to democracy.

The coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte took place in this very Cathedral. In the game Assassin’s Creed: Unity, through the eyes of Arno Dorian, players experience the Church coming to life as the game is set in the year 1789 when the French revolution began. Unlike the cathedral cum museum, Notre Dame in the game is set according to the setting of the French Revolution when aggravation against churches was common.

The entry to the church is free however, there are two standing towers both 69 m offering a magnificent view of Paris. To enter the towers visitors, need to buy a ticket for EUR 8 (INR 720). Apart from the stunning view, tourists can also visit the bell tower, where the fabled Hunchback of Notre Dame lived and see the Cathedral’s multiple gargoyles. However, as the Cathedral doesn’t have an elevator, tourists will have to climb up 387 steep steps, situated in the North Tower (rue du Cloître) offering the only entrance to the two towers.

Hong Kong

Lan Kwai Fong a key night life area in Hong Kong is famous for exquisite experience it has to offer to the travellers and is also featured in the game Sleeping Dogs

Hong Kong one of the special regions in the world in terms of culture and customs is an autonomous region, situated in south-east China. It is one of the most densely populated and developed cities in the world with one of the most expensive housings in the world. The city has a lot to offer to the people who are in search of exciting nightlife or fun.

In the open-world game, Sleeping Dogs players see modern-day Hong Kong through the eyes of Wei Shen, the main protagonist of the game. Like the beautiful alleys and shops of Hong Kong, the game also offers an authentic look and feel of the city. As Hong Kong is pretty in the night with various enchanting colours over the buildings owing to the bright neon lights, the game also offers a similar setting. In the game, the Central is based on Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s most quintessential nightlife area. Just as in the real world, Bank of China Tower is present in the game.

Tourists can very well enjoy the nightlife in the city. They can visit the rooftop bars offering some of the best views of the city. They can also be a part of the underground culture by visiting the clubs and bars littered around Lan Kwai Fong, which are open till early morning especially around weekends. The city also hosts mesmerising audio and visual show for the onlookers.

Reichstag, Berlin

Reichstag, the parliament building of Germany and a historical landmark is one of the key focus in the game Call of Duty: World at War

Reichstag in Berlin, Germany is a meeting place of the Bundestag or federal assembly, the lower house of Germany’s legislature. The building, one of the most important landmarks in the city, is situated at the northern end of Ebertstrasse and near the south bank of the Spree River. The building has been a symbol of authority since the reign of Hitler. In 1995, the building was wrapped in more than 90,000 square meters of silver fabric by the famed environmental sculptors Christo and Jeanne, after which the building became a centre of attention in the world of art.

In the game Call of Duty: World at War, the building is shown in the year 1942 when World War 2 was at its peak. The players can see the war-ridden country of Germany during the Second World War through the eyes of Sergeant Reznov and Sergeant Roebuck the two main protagonists fighting for their motherlands, USSR and Germany respectively. The inside of the building has been edited according to the setting of the era.

In the modern world, however, the general population can easily visit the monumental building and see the dome which offers one of the best views of the city during the night as well as the day. Tourists can easily visit the dome between 8 am to 12 pm and admission is free for everyone.

New York City

New York City, an hotshot destination for the tourists and the game Spider-man revolves around the city

New York City, the heart of American culture, is home to about 8.5 million people and is one of the most developed cities in the world. The city has a lot to offer. Over the years, the portrayal of the city in many Hollywood and Bollywood movies has contributed to its fame. Apart from it, people who love music and drama are attracted to the city as it hosts as many as 41 professional theatres with over 500 seats.

The tall skyscrapers perfectly defining the city’s architecture has been incorporated in the game Marvel’s Spider-Man, one of the most top-grossing games on Play Station 5. Players see the world through the eyes of Peter Parker aka Spiderman as he fights crime. The open-world game allows the player to have an authentic look and feel of New York City as one jumps, walks or run across the city. The game also offers an accurate depiction of the famed Brooklyn Bridge. Many missions revolve around the bridge offering the players a nice perspective of the landmark.

Times Square is particularly mesmerising at night with giant LED screens displaying content for the passers-by to see. The city also has to offer several eateries serving the famous New York-style pizza. Apart from this the city also hosts many bars where people can easily share a toast with their loved ones and enjoy. Over 50 million tourists visit New York every year, making it one of the most visited cities in the world.

Moscow Metro, Moscow

Moscow Metro, one of the most appreciated metro networks in the world for its beauty is the central focus of the game, Metro: 2033

The capital of Russia, Moscow has one of the most well connected, well laid and beautiful metro networks in the world. Apart from the famous Red Square, the metro system, in general, is a pleasure to the eye. Visitors rather than travelling through private cars or taxis travel through the metro just to experience the beauty the transport system and its stations have to offer.

In the game, Metro: 2033, the world is set in a postapocalyptical setting. The beauty of the metro system is unfortunately not well defined in the game. It, however, does give a sense of the vastness of the system. The game, through its creative art design and creative dialogues, attracts the player in its immersive gameplay. Even though the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, the beauty of the city is not lost. From the snow-covered scenic routes to the greasy underground paths all are enchanting and beg the player to explore more.

Other than the beautiful transportation system, the city of Moscow offers a lot to visitors. The city boasts of Bolshoi Theatre, home to one of the oldest ballet and opera companies in the world. Lenin’s Mausoleum is one of the central attractions in the Red Square. It is the final resting place of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, whose body has been resting in a central spot in Red Square since his death in 1942.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Chernobyl, city infamous of one of the largest man-made nuclear disaster is an integral part of the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

One of the most saddening man-made disasters in the history of humankind which caused the overnight displacement of over a million people from the city of Pripyat is now a major attraction for tourists. People from all across the world are curious as to what the city looks like today after it had been abandoned in April 1986. Photos of the infamous amusement park of Pripyat still send a chill down the spine. Even 36 years after the explosion of the reactor, there are certain spots in the city which are considered to be radioactive.

In the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the eeriness and a sense of fear have been captured beautifully. The abandoned city of Pripyat has been captured quite accurately by Activision, the developer of the game. Every nook and cranny of the city be it the Pripyat School or Azure pool, is portrayed quite accurately. The city is accessible to the player through the eyes of Lieutenant Price with his superior Captain MacMillan leading the way.

Tourists and scientists alike flock to the city to the site of Chernobyl and see how the disaster has been contained within a metal sarcophagus, since the release of the game and the popular TV series by HBO. Visitors bring their Geiger Counters with them which help them measure the residual radiation in the atmosphere. The control room is accessible to the common public where they can visualise how the impact of the disaster was felt moments after its occurrence.

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