One Of The Most Powerful Weapons In Games Is... A Map

One Of The Most Powerful Weapons In Games Is... A Map

Swords, crossbows and BFG9000s are cool and all, but they may as well be twigs and pebbles for all the good they do you when you're lost. Enter the modern video game map — a perfect GPS, radar, and to-do list fusion born of mankind's wildest organisational fever dreams. It's one of the mightiest items in games.

It's also kind of a lot like a smart phone — even in fantasy settings — as this video from Cracked so astutely points out. Granted, not all video game maps are created equal and some plain-out suck, but at their best these things give perfect directions, point out enemy locations, let us use handy waypoints that magically project into the sky, tell us where everybody who matters is, and instantly update with new information when we find a new place.

Would that real-life smart phones were so handy.

However, the video also makes a pretty valid criticism of these things: when they're too useful, we just sort of end up bouncing between little red map dots, laser-focused on the destination instead of the journey. Go here, do this, go here, do this, etc. Yeah, getting lost is often frustrating, but sometimes it can also be fun — or, at the very least, revealing. It's kinda hard to feel like you're a real fictional adventurer when the map is doing all the heavy lifting.

What, in your opinion, is the best video game map ever? Yes, we really are about to have an in-depth discussion about maps. No, I'm not sorry.


    Dragon age 3 had a perfect map. Not enough detail as google maps satellite view so i knew exactly where each individual tree was, but enough to make out big features like ridges and valleys so you can orientate.

    Though a map without a compass is almost useless (Sonic Boom, for example).

    GTA is a game that really should be played without a map, if only thr missions were made in a way that allowed that to be viable. I do notice though that after a fee hours you start to actually know where to go by landmarks, rather then a blip in a circle.

    I loved the maps from Diablo 1. They show the layout and nothing else. The fact that you could overlay the map over the game, so you didn't miss any of the action, was fantastic.

    I remember a videogame that came with a sewn map on cloth.

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