Even those of us with the most intense natural wanderlust can always do with some fresh travel inspiration. It’s why we browse guidebooks in bookstores, peruse travel blogs, and scroll through photos of friends on their latest journeys. You just never know when a photo or a list of attractions is going to give you that deep itch to visit a new destination.
There’s an argument to be made that video games have always had a certain place in all of this. Games are able to take us to different locations – often particularly adventurous ones – and allow us to “explore” them in a way that no blog post or slideshow really can. Of course it’s all fantasy to some extent, and it’s rare that a gaming environment will exactly replicate a true location. But it can still give you that itch, to be sure.
Sometimes it’s almost through direct education about the world and its locations and history. In this regard, Sid Meier’s Civilization series comes to mind. You may have grown up playing these games on a PC, and it may surprise you to learn that the series is still going strong. It’s a franchise full of games in which your goal is to control a major civilization, exploring the globe, managing alliances and trade, and in some cases waging war in the aim of prosperity.
Ultimately it’s a strategy game, but it’s actually incredibly educational as well. A review of the most recent edition put it nicely, saying that “the world” is the soul of every opportunity and challenge. It’s a game about the history of civilization, and all the fascinating people and wonders of the world – and it will make you want to explore, particularly where ancient wonders can still be seen.
More modern games can inspire wanderlust in more visual ways, by showing us vividly imagined environments that we enjoy so much digitally we take an interest in them in the real world. As stated these games don’t often replicate real locations exactly – but they can still get the job done. Earlier this year a travel site did a write-up, in fact, of video games that inspire travel, and included a nice variety of examples.
Games from the Assassin’s Creed series can work somewhat similarly to the Civilization series, delving into chapters of human history. A game like Watch Dogs can give you a very in-depth look at a particular location that exists today. The article even mentioned FIFA, which is an interesting inclusion. Certainly though if you’re a sports fan, a game like FIFA can spark an interest in different cities, countries, and stadiums.
These examples might be nothing, however, to how games will impact wanderlust in the years ahead. As you’ve likely become aware even if you’re not particularly interested in the world of gaming, virtual reality has emerged as an exciting new medium. Naturally, it simulates gaming environments like no other system can quite manage, and it can actually give players the feeling of being transported to new places.
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A post exploring different ways VR will change gaming discussed the idea of exploring brand new environments where you can be and do whatever you want, suggesting that these environments could be really something special. This is true of fictional creations in VR – but could also work as an enhanced version of some of the examples above. We’ll be seeing virtual reality games that essentially put us on the ground in exciting places around the world.
There are some who will argue that experiences like these could actually supplant the need to travel, for a lot of people. But the argument here is that they’ll simply be extra inspiration and motivation. Some would say that wanderlust can’t be eliminated or cured – only fueled. It’s an interesting notion, and if that’s the way you think, you ought to be excited for how games and travel could be intertwined in the coming years.
[Also read: Best Travel Gadgets in 2017]