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Virtual reality

Don’t have money to travel? Get a glimpse of a world-famous monument or popular shopping district in the next game you play.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2013 16:32 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

G gaming companies usually spend months and millions trying to recreate a virtual world that bears little to no resemblance to reality. But last week, the Isle of Skye made headlines when the island in Scotland, famed for its quaint towns, natural beauty and castles, became the “first place in the world” to be virtually twinned with Skylands, the fantasy setting of the blockbuster Skylanders series.

“The Isle of Skye is renowned for its stunning landscapes, which possess an almost ethereal quality, and its abundance of wildlife, making it the perfect place to virtually twin with Skylands,” announced VisitScotland’s Alan Mackenzie, adding that the move would also boost tourism in Skye. “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with the franchise for this unique partnership, which will help raise the profile of this beautiful part of the world, encouraging families to enjoy a real-life adventure on the Isle of Skye.”

As part of the deal, game characters appear on Skye’s official tourism website while a large-scale version of one of the characters was also taken to Skye for publicity photographs. Skylanders Swap Force released for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii and 3DS on October 18 in Europe.

It is also out in North America. Now we take a look at other historical or famous sites that have been captured in the gaming world.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, India
In 2010, Spiel Studios launched an India-centric iPhone game called The Sealink. The 3D racing game had players choosing vehicles from a vast array of options, including an auto rickshaw, and featured Mumbai’s latest “engineering marvel”, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Players raced along the famed bridge that offers views of the city’s skyline.

The Colosseum, Rome
Considered one of the “greatest works” of Roman architecture, the amphitheatre was the largest in the world. In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the primary setting is Rome. Ubisoft Montreal, the game’s developers, have featured the historical venue several times within the set premise. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, which also made it to the New Seven Wonders of The World in 2007, is part of several in-game scenarios and can be virtually bought by players as they go about reconstructing Rome.

Shinjuku, Japan
This district is known for its shopping, entertainment and nightlife options. Yakuza, a game developed by Sega in 2005, takes players through the neighbourhood. Though the makers have never admitted that the game is set in the area, one cannot deny the uncanny resemblance of Kabukicho, the red-light district in the area, as well as the shops, malls and restaurants in the district to places featured in the game.

Hollywood sign, USA
The fifth installment in the Grand Theft Auto series is set in a fictional city of Los Santos based on real-world Los Angeles and its nearby hills and beaches. There are several places that one can spot in the hit racing game, which raked in more than a billion dollars in a record-shattering first three days on the streets despite a violent gameplay. It includes Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Los Angeles International Airport, among others.

Lincoln Memorial, USA
The 2008 video game, Fallout 3, showcased one of USA’s most iconic landmarks, the Lincoln Memorial in Washingston DC. Set 200 years after a nuclear war, the memorial is badly damaged with Lincoln’s head missing in the game. It is found in the possession of some escaped slaves, who want to restore the place to its former glory.

Also Captured

Golden Gate Bridge, USA: Driver San Francisco
Hollywood Boulevard, USA: LA Noire
St Paul's Cathedral, UK: Tomb Raider III
Manchester Cathedral, UK: Resistance
Venice, Italy: Assassin's Creed II
Chernobyl nuclear plant: Manchester Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
Park Guell, Spain: Bayonetta
Parliament building in Belgrade, Serbia: Half Life 2

First Published: Oct 23, 2013 13:11 IST