The world is a beautiful place full of stunning cities and landmarks. There’s a reason real world locations keep popping up in gaming. Video games allow you to experience the most beautiful places on earth in a way that would be impossible in reality.
While not as common as fictional locations, real locations are still common in games, bringing a sense of wonder and fantasy to everyday locations. You can fly through the skies above your hometown or explore a city you’ve always dreamed of. No matter how many times they show up in gaming, it’s always fascinating to see how each studio looks at the world’s most iconic locations.
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10 Washington DC – Over 75 appearances
When you think of fun places to play a game, the city where the United States government votes on policy might not be an obvious choice. But its instantly recognizable landmarks and historical value make the capital of the United States an interesting location for video games.
Washington DC has appeared in over 75 games, most commonly action titles, first-person shooters, and flight simulators. Many compelling stories have been told in this iconic city. Some notable ones are Payday 2, Fallout 3 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
9 Chicago – Over 75 appearances
Chicago, probably the most famous city in Illinois, can be seen in over 75 titles from a wide variety of genres. Whether you’re uncovering a conspiracy in the N64 classic Perfect Dark or scouring the streets for your niece’s killer in Watch Dogs, the Windy City is home to many exciting plots and adventures.
Chicago has also appeared as a stage in many titles, including TimeSplitters 2, Rock Band 2, and Tekken. In addition, it was the main setting for the second DLC pack for Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. There is certainly plenty to do in this famous city.
8th Las Vegas – Over 80 performances
Las Vegas is so bright you can see it from space. It almost sounds too good to be true. The dazzling lights and neon signs make it an unforgettable experience and a great backdrop for a video game.
Sin City has been featured in over 80 titles including some incredible games. You can protect the city from a vicious army in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas, or explore the city’s post-apocalyptic ruins in Horizon: Forbidden West and Fallout: New Vegas. It continues to be a popular locale and shows no signs of slowing down.
7 Hong Kong – Over 100 appearances
Hong Kong has appeared in video games over 100 times and is featured primarily in the fighting genre. Hong Kong is the birthplace of several Street Fighter characters, including Jamie Siu and Fei Long, and has made for many beautiful levels throughout the series.
In addition to Street Fighter, the city has appeared in the series Tekken, Fatal Fury and King Of Fighters. Outside of fighting games, Hong Kong serves as the setting for Sleeping Dogs, published by Square Enix, where you explore the city and investigate crimes as an undercover cop.
6 Paris – Over 120 appearances
Paris is a stunning city that everyone should experience at least once. The Eiffel Tower and the Seine are just a fraction of what this stunning place has to offer. Paris has made over 120 appearances in video games and has been featured in many compelling stories and fantastical adventures.
Whether you’re searching for your father’s killer in Assassin’s Creed Unity, exploring the catacombs as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider 3, or pulling off a master heist in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Paris is always worth a trip.
5 San Francisco – Over 140 performances
When you see the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll know where you are right away. San Francisco has appeared in over 140 video games. Some of the most notable include Watch Dogs 2, Fallout 2, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Far Cry New Dawn.
The famous palm trees and unique sloping streets of San Francisco should look familiar to a Sega fan. This beautiful coastal town plays an important role in the Crazy Taxi series and even served as the inspiration for City Escape in Sonic Adventure 2.
4 Los Angeles – Over 170 appearances
Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities in the United States, so it’s no surprise that many games are held there. LA has appeared in over 170 titles, many of them from the Call Of Duty, Terminator and Tony Hawk series.
If you enjoy solving crimes, you’re in luck here. Los Angeles is home to many outstanding mystery games, such as LA Noire, a dark detective thriller that puts you to solve crimes in the 1940s. Even the English localization of the Ace Attorney series is set in Los Angeles, although the backgrounds have not been changed to reflect this. This leads to fans affectionately dubbing the location “Japanifornia”.
3 Tokyo – Over 200 appearances
Tokyo is truly a breathtaking sight. The culture, food, entertainment and abundance of activities make it a must for all travel fans. Given how many video game studios are based in Japan, it makes sense why so many games are based there.
Tokyo has appeared in over 200 titles including AI: The Somnium Files, Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE and The World Ends With You. Sega and Atlus games also frequently take place in Tokyo, such as Jet Set Radio, the Shin Megami Tensei series, the Yakuza games, and Persona 5, one of the best portrayals of Tokyo in a video game.
2 London – Over 230 appearances
London is one of the most famous cities in the world and there is no shortage of games taking place there. The capital of the United Kingdom features in over 230 video games including Street Fighter 6, Fallout: London and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Even the Grand Theft Auto series had a title set in London when it was still in 2D.
When it comes to detective games, there is no better place to look. There are plenty of Sherlock Holmes games to play, not to mention Professor Layton And The Unwound Future and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.
1 New York City – Over 450 performances
New York City has starred in many incredible titles. There’s always a lot going on in the Big Apple. Every day there are busy sidewalks, busy streets and people in a hurry to catch the train. But that’s not all: Superheroes fly around, Mario characters race through the streets and giant turtles fight villains in the sewers.
Manhattan has been featured in over 450 games. A large portion of this list consists of Spider-Man titles and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Other notable appearances include Deus Ex, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. There’s never a dull moment in the city that never sleeps.
NEXT: The best fictional cities in video games