One of the greatest parts of video games is the world they are built in. Games like World of Warcraft and Skyrim transport us to far away lands. But what about the ones right in our backyard? After a long weekend of camping, I felt like I could take on the open road. So I put together a cross country road trip inspired by some of my favorite video games. So buckle up, grab your favorite car snacks and pop in your favorite video game soundtrack because we are hitting the road!
The Call of Cthulhu – Boston Harbor
The Call of Cthulhu takes us to the creepy island of Darkwater to explore the tragic and mysterious events of some family deaths. However before we set sail, we start in 1924 Boston. Edward, recently returned war vet, is shacked up in his detective agency fending off nightmares with the aid of sleeping pills. Boston is beautiful to visit and the harbor is full of smaller islands you can ferry to for a quick visit. Maybe you will be able to find the mysterious island of Darkwater, just make sure to not anger any old Gods while you are there.
Silent Hill – Centralia, Pennsylvania
Before I ever saw any of the Silent Hill movies, I was introduced to the game. The small little town gave me nightmares for months, but I kept coming back for more. The idea of a small mysterious town with a horrible things living within makes for a great setting in a game. It is no surprise that the real life inspiration is just as mysterious. Centralia is a small town located in north east Pennsylvania and is home to 10 people (based on figures from 2017). The town itself sits on top of a burning mine that has been going strong now for at least 57 years. The graffiti highway has since been blocked off, but you can still explore a bit of the town.
Heavy Rain – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Heavy Rain is a psychological horror game that has you questioning every decision you make. The story follows Ethan Mars as he unravels the mystery behind the disappearance of his son and the Origami Killer. The game has a few possible outcomes all stemming from the choices you make throughout. While the city is never outright said, many Easter eggs in game reveal it to be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city of brotherly love is full of historical significance and amazing food and completely worth the visit. I promise though you won’t have to worry about proving your fatherly love to a serial killer on your trip.
Blair Witch – Burkittsville, Maryland
If you haven’t realized by now, I really cannot wait for Blair Witch to release on August 30th. This stop on our road trip takes us to the very center of this scary tale. Not far from town is the Black Hills Forest, the setting for the upcoming game. The story follows Ellis, a former police officer with some troubles of his own, as he sets out into the mysterious Black Hills Forest in search of a missing boy. Many of the footage from the movies were shot in other locations, but the small town itself is a sight to see. Remember to respect the people who live in this tiny town!
Fallout 76 – New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
The Fallout 76 open world is designed specifically to resemble many sights from West Virginia. The game is the studios first online multiplayer game within the series and set out to create a full and inviting world. The in game world is known as Appalachia and features prominent sites found throughout West Virginia. One such site is the New River Gorge Bridge, a 3030 ft. long steel arch bridge. The in game bridge is an almost perfect rendition of its real life counter part, except for of course the whole end of the world feel.
Still Life – Chicago, Illinois
Still Life is game full of mystery and murder between two different time period. The game follows two playable characters, Victoria McPherson in 2004 Chicago and Gustav McPherson in 1920 Prague. Both are pursuing murders that are taking place within their towns. The main story line takes place within Chicago and many of the cities sites can be seen throughout gameplay, including the killers final fall into the Chicago River. Take a trip around town and match the in game sights to the real life town.
The Last of Us – Salt Lake City, Utah
Joel and Ellie take a road trip of their own in The Last of Us, however theirs is accompanied by far scarier things. The two hit many towns on their journey to find the base of the Fireflies, however the game comes to a close as they reach Salt Lake City. There are a few inconsistencies between the in game version and real life, however it is still a great rendition to see. I for one would be completely fine if they had giraffes just roaming the city.
Oregon Trail – Willamette Valley, Oregon
If you were lucky enough to not have your entire family and traveling companions die of dysentery, you were rewarded with finally reached the end of the what might have been the longest caravan ride of your life. You see several different sights along the way, however nothing is more rewarding then the ending screen and the knowledge that you were able to save your family. Real life Willamette Valley features rolling hills of green farmland and beautiful landscape photos. The perfect stop to prove you can make it on a cross country road trip without dying of dysentery.
Life is Strange 2 – Humboldt County, California
Life is Strange 2 follows two brothers, Sean and Daniel, as they go on the run from their home in Seattle, Washington down to their father’s hometown of Puerto Lobos in Mexico. As they travel south, they hop a train to California where the older brother finds work at a marijuana farm in Humboldt County, California. It is here that the younger brother Daniel causes the owners house to explode and runs away after hurting everyone, including his brother. Humboldt County resides on the western shores of Northern California.
LA Noire – Los Angeles, California
This road trip comes to an end in Los Angeles, the main setting for LA Noire. The Neo-noir crime mystery game has you investigating crime scenes, following up on clues, and interviewing people connected to the crime all in third person perspective. Make your way from a plain uniformed officer through several different departments all with their own special case. The sights seen throughout the game give the feel of old time Hollywood and a very noir Los Angeles. Of course the city has been updated over time, however you can still get the same feel as you make your way through town.
Regardless of where you start or where you end, this road trip is sure to bring back a lot of great video game memories. It is easy to see exactly where game art designers got their inspiration for the in game renditions. The trip itself, from Boston to Los Angeles would take you roughly 75 hours total in straight driving across several different time zones and 4,762 miles. Let us know on Twitter what in-game settings from the real world you want to visit!
Originally published August 26, 2019