What’s Your Favourite Video Game World?

What’s Your Favourite Video Game World?
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I’ve always loved the world of Phantasy Star 2.

It’s a utopian vision of a future where everything is provided for. A big AI computer called Mother Brain has created peace and harmony in the world. The weather is perfectly regulated. No one needs to work any more. Hunger has been eliminated. The main problems the citizens face are what to do with their free time. Even though ultimately, all hell breaks loose and the seeming order falls apart into a nightmarishly human-caused chaos, the ideal it represents is awesome. Plus, I could never get over the fact that it was your own actions, precipitated by the sabotage of Nei First, that spark the end of paradise. Then again, even Adam and Eve brought about their own exile by eating from the forbidden fruit.

The save state system uses a really clever device that reminded me of the Culture books by Iain M. Banks. Rather than magical recordings, they are data storage units where you actually download your memories up to that point in a literal information dump of all your experiences. So at any time, if you venture into an area where the biomonsters or robots are too hard and you get killed, no problem. They will upload your old “save stage” up to that point, and feed that information into to a clone. Yes, clone, as there are no miraculous resurrections. That means game over when you die. Reload, the Sega logo comes up again, followed by a darkness, then catchy upbeat music and a data storage specialist that confronts you with your temporary flirtation with mortality. They then upload all your old memories into a new clone. The science fiction elements used to explain the basic JRPG mechanics were fascinating, and in a sense, eerily comforting. Immortality wasn’t just some magically esoteric concept, but a science fiction fuelled possibility.

With every year that goes by, I realise time is way too short. There are a thousand books I want to read, a thousand games I want to play, a thousands places I want to visit. But whereas a few years back, I felt like I had all the time in the world, every passing year reminds me that the sense of timelessness I used to feel is an illusion. I can’t just store my data in a save state and clone myself as needed.

I don’t think we’ll get to a point (at least in my lifetime) where all of my knowledge can be stored on a disc. With advances in biomechanics, will clones be commonplace in the future? What would be the quandaries in a post scarcity economy where people can pursue what they’re passionate about without having to worry about the financial feasibility of their endeavours?

But as always, humans ruin everything. Greed destroys the perfect balance of Mota in Phantasy Star 2 and discrimination against Neifirst leads to the destruction in the Biolab. The utopia shatters into a long dark era known as the Great Collapse. It would take a thousand years for them to recover, and even then, things would never be the same. The “phantasy” was over.

The question today, Kotaku readers: What’s your favourite video game world?


  • For me it’s a toss-up between Azeroth and The world that Pokemon takes place in.

    Demons, destruction and the occasional apocalypse notwithstanding, the world of Azeroth itself is a wonder of design, art and fascination that spending time in would be one hell of an experience.

    The pokemon world would be some place you could carve out a permanent life in and I’d be down for that.

  • The world of Mass Effect. The first one that is, the sequels don’t hold up quite as well in my eyes, especially ME2.

    I love the world of Gunpoint, judged on a word for word basis it’s incredibly fleshed out and rich for such a short game. Obviously it’s pretty ‘trope-y’, but it works and those backdrops are just beautifully run down.

    I’ve got a lot of fond memories for the twin worlds of Stark and Arcadia in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey as well.

    Perhaps an odd choice but Yoshi’s Island was pretty cool, it just had a great art style.

    The Playable area of Firewatch was fantastic to visit, not sure I’d necessarily want to live there though.

    Alien: Isolation‘s Sevastopol Station – Just steeped in love for the film, I had to love it by default.

    The world of Bastion needs to be mentioned.

    As does the world of Transistor.

    I can’t really pick just one. This is a cruel question.

  • The world of the Suikoden series, easily. It’s such a rich, vibrant world. Which feels expansive because each game takes part in a different part of its’ world.

    I will forever be heartbroken that Konami ruin everything. 🙁

  • Well that article went dark really fast.. and I agree totally.

    my contribution would be the world of Fallout the mix of retro and sci fi is awesome

  • Elder Scrolls and Fallout are just so well developed and obviously made with a loving eye for detail and humour.

    But there are so many other more self contained worlds that I love to. Nier Automata, Bio-Shock, Oxenfree and so many others.

    • Tell me about it. I’m currently involved in an absolutely pointless forum fight with someone over who started the great war in Fallout 😀

  • Favourites: Bioshock/Infinite, Mass Effect, FF7/8, Dragon Age, Deus Ex

    Runners-up: Xenogears, Chronos, FF6/9, Half-Life/Portal, Shadowrun, G-Police, Suikoden II, DQVIII.

  • I always liked the world of Legend if Mana. You put this absurd storybook world together yourself, went off to get caught up in somebody else’s story, and then return home after each event to do some light gardening, golem building and monster rearing before talking to your pet cactus before bed.
    It’s like a neat cross between Secret of Mana and Harvest Moon. It’s a shame not more people discovered the game.

  • I’m an absolute sucker for the Farcry series. Would totally dig the Himalayas of 4 or the Caribbean from 3. Oros in Primal sucked me in too.

  • Ivalice – I could say many things about the world of FFXII, but my favourite thing would be: MOOGLES WITH GUNS!

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