From your standard racing to the typical shooter, video games are beginning to incorporate specific locations into there design. For me, this is something that is important because I’m deeply rooted into one of the most iconic cities in the world. The dazzling lights, $5 dollar black jack, replicated worldly landmarks, a mobster history, and of course, gambling are just a few of the many elements that give my hometown the title… Sin City.
I spent the most pivotal years of my youth growing up in the deserts of Las Vegas, NV. Why two million people and millions more would want to live and visit one of the hottest climate cities in the world still remains a mystery to me. The temperature gets so ferocious during the summer months that people learn to be nocturnal just to escape the sun, but I digress.
The iconic landmarks and the rich environments add a lot of depth to the environment. I remember the first time I was ever able to correlate my hometown to a video game was when I finally reached the Las Vegas circuit in Top Gear 2 for the Super Nintendo. I was about ten years old at the time, and I remember how excited I was. I remember running to my mom and shouting at her, “Mom! Watch me drive. I bet you’ll never guess where I’m about win my next race?”
She took about a minute and noticed the pixilated Stratosphere and said, “I don’t know. Could it be Las Vegas?”
I eagerly shook my head and played the circuit about 10 times over until the 16-bit graphics could no longer distinguish anything familiar. I remember traveling all over the world in the game and played it off and on for several years. But my most memorable video game location came when I reached the United States, and I raced in Las Vegas, NV. The city of my youth.
My next Las Vegas iconic video game memory came with the release of Rainbow Six: Las Vegas. At the time, not too many people owned a PS3, let alone, there weren’t too many popular video game releases, but it happened so, that one of my close college buddies bought the console with Rainbow Six. We played the co-operative mode for days on end.
The game play was fun, but I was a bit let down because the casino environments didn’t stand out too much. In fact, much of the levels didn’t even resemble any of the Las Vegas casinos, but there was one level that we played over and over. It was the University of Nevada Las Vegas Library or the Lied Library.
I attended UNLV for a couple of years before transferring, and whenever I studied at the Lied library, I always thought to myself, “This would be an awesome location for a video game.”
In my opinion, the Lied Library is one of the coolest looking modern libraries in the United States. When Rainbow Six: Las Vegas was released for the PS3, and it featured the UNLV Library, it instantly became my favorite level of all time.
The Rainbow Six Library doesn’t exactly resemble the UNLV Library, but I have to admit, gunning down terrorists in a location that reminds you of a place where you used to study day in day out is a pretty cool feeling. Just the thought that I used to sit on the second floor in a big comfy chair reading Slaughterhouse Five for English 418, but now, I’m pumping modern day terrorists with a 12 gauge shotgun is an awesome, conflicting and indescribable feeling.
Fast forward to the present, Bethesda Softworks are currently developing Fallout: New Vegas, which I hope will be as iconic as my past Las Vegas video game memories. If it resembles anything like the post apocalyptic environment of the DC area, then I’m sure New Vegas will be as memorable as Top Gear 2 and Rainbow Six: Las Vegas. Sorry Limit Cast Crew, Las Vegas is the king of all video game locations for the past, present and future.