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.