Having recently come back from vacation, I have a quite good idea of what people want from a great time away from home. These qualities can be found in many different video game worlds and like the article I had made about such places after the bombs dropped and chaos reigned has proved, anyplace could have their own qualities which would make them memorable, interesting and relaxing. This article will determine those places and qualities which define a place worth exploring and having great adventures in. I hope you all will visit these places in your spare time, assuming you have enough cash and a loss of mental facilities with which to make the trip. After all, you can’t all be working and playing video games; get off your lazy butts and enter a warp pipe ten times your size, dammit. I got some juicy spots for you to enjoy your days on. Four of them, to be precise.
4: Mount Olympus (God of War)
Despite horrible war between Gods and Mortals, Olympus has to be the most suave place in the world because everything is so bright and cheery and angelic. We’re talking about a mountain that reaches up so far into the stratosphere, that we see the Titans as nothing more than ants…and one of them has an entire deciduous forest on her face, with an ecosystem and everything! You’re likely to have servants at your beck and call assuming you can convince someone that you’re a despotic god and wish to subjugate humanity under the guise of their creator.
So why not head up there? It isn’t so bad for a mortal compared to a fallen god who has to traverse oceans streaming with rapids of congealed blood from the corpses falling into the underworld, straight through the bottom up to the peak. You might even get Aphrodite to appreciate you in her own special way. She loves to get around and play both sides of the field. Or perhaps you would be more willing to take in a performance of Apollo and his high-flying act. Whatever, you choose to do, I would stay away from Zeus and Hera. One has too much on their mind, and the other is an overemotional lout about the family of Gods being torn apart. I’ll let you decide which is which.
3: Cyrodiil (The Elder Scrolls series)
Small towns strewn about over a large, beautiful green landscape? Check. Constant presence of law enforcement? Check. A number of old, yet majestic ruins made of white marble and magic which mesmerizes the eye from out and within? Check. Cyrodiil is not only one of the more beautiful parts of Tamriel, but also one of the safest. Let’s face the facts: Political strife is rampant in Daggerfall when a dude who allows worms to ingest his body and live within it is the district guild-master of Necromancers, Hammerfell has goblins and ogres smart enough to understand irrigation of poisoned water towards wayward adventurers, Summerset Isle has slug people who can teleport at whim. The Black Marsh has giant, sentient trees which garner worship as natural Gods. The deserts of Elsweyr and filled with drug-abusers and dealers, Morrowind has a small moon floating around hundreds of terrible Cliff Racers, and lets not even go into Skyrim.
Rolling fields, beauteous forests, and breezy plains are only a part of the landscape involved with this district of hard-working humans and humanoids living from day-to-day. The beauty and lush artistry of Cheydinhal, the rustic and industrial Anvil. The majestic and awe-inspiring Imperial City. All of these places are wonders to behold in their own right despite all the chaos and dangers that surround its beauty. For interested visitors, I’d carry a sword and potion or two and I just wouldn’t take a fishing trip at Niben Bay. Your largemouth bass might climb on stubby, insane legs and walk off but that’s just the beginning.
2: The Forbidden Land (Shadow of the Colossus)
First, we have to appreciate the immense beauty of the sun and stars that dot the horizon and the incredible views that the forbidden land can provide. Rolling, level fields are great enough for your horse to travel on, and the gentle breeze that flows through the crevice surrounding the mountain range about this massive stretch of land could lull you to your most peaceful sleep. Its native inhabitants won’t bother you much; after all, they shaped the landscape in order to house themselves and they’re far busier being the vessels of a fractured God hundreds of miles high. Go ahead and take a picture, too. I’d recommend you do so without the flash; they might get annoyed that the light shows their bad side.
What really sets this one apart from the others is the lack of dangers despite the giant creatures of stone and magic. While there certainly are shadows that move of their own accord, any tourist with a prominent light source has nothing to worry about. The downside to this is a lack of any life at all, so I would pack a large cooler for the ride as well. Great place to camp out and more than enough shade.
1: Serpent Isle (Ultima series)
There are so many ways I could extol the many virtues of Serpent Isle to you-all twelve of them, in fact-but I think I will sum it up in one: variety. There will never be a boring day while you’re within this place. The weather is always a crapshoot from one randomly-teleported object to another, and the place literally brims with magic on all its different sides. Three settlements each hold their own set of ideals and virtues based on a specific form of emphasis: Combat, Magic and Love. All of the settlements have their charm as well as their faults. Simply put, I wouldn’t get offended if you were asked to carry a robed man’s luggage and books right off the street. Nor would I mention anything about Britain, Lords or anything involving the hierarchy of Europe in general [Ed's Note: Though space travel is a well loved conversation topic among the populace].
I have to say, it is good to be back home. Now I’ll be able to put all this vacation stuff behind me and focus on what is really important: dissecting video games in the most destructive and humorous ways possible. Next time, I think we’ll be focused on what makes enemies threatening…and why a certain few can’t even hope to menace themselves out of a paper bag, much less humanity.