Videogame Paris is as good as it gets

I will most likely never travel the world.

This is an easy assumption for me to make because I know what goes into traveling the world and seeing the sights, and I just don’t have that stuff. Money, time, that kind of drive, and so on. There’s really only a handful of places I’d like to visit, and they include Paris, France, anywhere in Ireland, and Tokyo, Japan. Okay, okay, and maybe New Zealand to check out all those Lord of the Rings locations. But other than that, I’m content with New Jersey and its surrounding states. We have nice parks and fun boardwalks, and hands-down great autumns.

In October, after Tara and I get married, we’re honeymooning it up in sunny, alligator central: Florida. Disney World and Universal Studios will be our main destinations, and what’s kind of neat is that we’ll get to do a little globe-trotting via the World Showcase in Epcot. There we can hit up everything on my list (I think) save for…well, Hobbiton and Lothlorien. There’s a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower at Paris, Epcot, and we’re totally treating ourselves to some sushi over in feudal Japan. It’s a lot of fun just walking from country to country, hearing the music changing, smelling new smells, and really being immersed–if for only a few yards–in a foreign culture.

This sort of worldly immersion happens from time to time in videogames, too. Fallout 3 had you sneaking around a totally effed up Washington, D.C., and I remember a forum posting that actually compared screenshots of the subway tunnels to that of real life ones; they were eerily on the mark. If I am ever to visit the Mall again, I’ll definitely be seeing it in a whole new way…mostly because I’ll be on the alert for Super Mutants. And despite all the hate I spew on Grand Theft Auto 4, Liberty City is a wonderful recreation of New York City, and some areas really do come to reflect that of their real counterpart. I am especially fond of their parks.

The most recent would be Nazi-occupied France in The Saboteur. It truly is quite an accomplishment, especially when Sean finds himself in the really controlled parts, the ones where only yellows and reds shine through the harsh black and white of the world. The countryside feels very much like a French countryside, and again, seeing as I’ve never been there, I’m only able to draw upon references from movies and books and paintings. It sure feels genuine though. I finally made it to the section housed around the Eiffel Tower a few days ago, and doing some missions at night and seeing it glowing tall and great in the background is a wonderful thing. I even spent a few minutes just casually walking down sidestreets, taking in Paris, hearing its sounds and seeing what was where. I have to trust that love and care was put into The Saboteur‘s layout and design despite it being the swan song for Pandemic Studios, and that a lot of what is there is there because…that’s where it is.

So, for now, I’ll take Paris, France from The Saboteur. My sister has gone before, and I’m interested in showing her some of the areas in a few weeks to see if she recognizes anything. Then Sean is going to jump off the Eiffel Tower and get an Achievement. Just so I don’t forget I’m playing a videogame after all.

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