Gamers from all over the world were excited to find out the meticulous work of the Ubisoft development team could be used to restore the Notre Dame cathedral after the fire, but this magnificent structure isn’t the only real life building that was immortalized in a video game. We have prepared a list of titles that will let you explore them without having to inconvenience yourself with an actual journey. Here goes!
1. Chernobyl atomic power plant and Pripyat - S.T.A.L.K.E.R series (2007)
Left: archival footage, right: in-game screenshot
The exclusion zone around the Chernobyl atomic power plant is still contaminated, which is we’d rather not go to Pripyat in person. Thanks to a series of games from the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World we can see the actual power plant and the surrounding residential areas without having to get up from the chair. You character may have to deal with mutated boars or members of enemy factions, but you will at least be safe from the radiation!
The cost of visiting the exclusion zone (transportation to Kiev not included) – 149$
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – 10$
2. Colosseum - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (2010)
The Assassin’s Creed series has more to offer than just Notre Dame. Four years before Unity the series’ protagonist could thoroughly explore one of Rome’s most famous landmarks: the Flavian Amphitheatre also known as the Colosseum. It should be noticed that the tourists were not admitted to the upper tiers of the arena Enzio used to haunt until 2017, seven years after the game’s release.
An excursion to the Colosseum with a tour of the upper tiers – 22$
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood – 14$
3. Streets of Los Angeles – L.A.Noire (2011)
Unlike the developers of GTA V that came out later, the staff of Team Bondi decided not to change the names of the streets and various key locations, making the City of Angels look incredibly beautiful and authentic (adjusting for the fact the events of the game take place in the thirties). At least you won’t have to waste time in the traffic jams!
Los Angeles bus tour – upwards of 119$
L. A. Noire - 10$
4. New Orleans – Mafia 3 (2016)
Another journey into the past. The events of Mafia 3 take place in the sixties in a town called New Bordeaux, but we know what legendary place is hiding behind this innocent facade. The developers did not try to recreate New Orleans in detail, but they did capture the city at its best: the vibrant streets of ethnic quarters, the ever-present jazz and the feeling of a never-ending holiday stay with you and won’t let go for a very long time.
New Orleans walking tour – upwards of 90$
Mafia III - 32$
5. Race tracks all over the world–Gran Tourismo series
The Gran Turismo series places an emphasis on the reality of both the racing cars and the racing tracks. The latest title, Gran Turismo Sport, allows players to participate in the online races that take place on the same days and the same tracks as the real-life racing events.
Monaco Grand Prix 2019 ticket – upwards of 45$
Gran Turismo Sport – 12$