I don’t get out much. Perhaps a stereotype of video gamers but I am mostly content with staying indoors, playing video games, surfing the web, listening to music or watching TV. Obviously, I go out to do your typical things like get groceries, gas, or eat out and I do occasionally visit friends but most of my time is spent in my room. Even my job has me essentially work from my computer. Needless to say, I view the world from a TV screen most of the time. Perhaps that’s why I like video games that immerse me in the world they take place in. Better than any other company at this idea is Rockstar Games. I’ve spent many hours in Vice City, cruising down the neon soaked streets and taking in the excessive nature of my surroundings. I’ve sang to Queen of Hearts while driving through the wilderness on my way to San Fierro in San Andreas. Most of all, I’ve experienced what the world feels like from a kid’s perspective in Bully, my favorite Rockstar game to date.
So far this year, I’ve played two of Rockstar’s games that I’ve missed in recent years, L.A. Noire and, currently, Red Dead Redemption. I’ve noticed that Rockstar seems to be having a strong interest with Southern California recently as L.A. Noire takes place in late 1940s Los Angeles, Red Dead Redemption takes place in the southwest in the early 1900s, their last Midnight Club took place in Los Angeles and even the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V is taking place in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles. In fact the only major game that Rockstar has released in the last five years that wasn’t based in SoCal is Max Payne 3. This is all the better for me as I live in the these very areas. I live in an area above the Los Angeles area called Hesperia and it’s a desert area that’s near mountains and is at a high elevation (4,000 ft above sea level).
Now I’ve been around the area where I live as well as Los Angeles. I actually grew up there before moving to the desert but I guess I’ve never really looked around where I live because Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire have gotten me curious about the world literally all around me. Whether it be me being able to point out landmarks in L.A. Noire (hey, I’ve been to that train station!) or being able to relate to the desolate beauty in Red Dead Redemption by simply look outside my window, I have found myself appreciating my surroundings more in these games than from actually living in them.
However, this could be that I just haven’t been looking and I think I want to start looking. It may be that I want to go out more and look around my surroundings thanks to video games. Obviously, I won’t be a cowboy searching for outlaws or a LAPD detective solving cases but I am someone who will be living in the same environment and experiencing that same world. I will admit that I would need to tread carefully, as there was a reason I moved from LA to the desert (i.e. the place is a dump and I don’t like it there) but that’s not to say that I can’t find something I do like. LA is a big place and the desert I live in is quite big. In fact it’s part of one of the biggest counties in Southern California. Even now I’m looking out my window and wondering what’s beyond the eucalyptus and Joshua trees in my backyard.
So have you ever played a video game that inspired you to go out and experience what you played in real life?