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i thought about that conversation the other day when i saw that google is rumored to be creating 3D maps of all the big metro areas...


A9 is doing it too.

Heck, you could already try and hack Google Maps to give you the equivalent of Grand Theft Auto 1.


Isn't this sort of thing already being done, to a certain extent, by flight simulators? While the use of "real-world" topography seems more common in non-military simulators like Microsoft Flight Simulator, even the JetFighter series uses a recognizable, if rather vague, version of the West Coast. If they just had more street-level detail, you'd practically have a "Tourist Game" all ready to go.


I've been wishing for games like this for ages. In fact, I've had experiences identical to Mr. Buffa's in Yokohama, Tokyo, London, and even San Francisco (prior to becoming a resident) thanks to the PGR series and Bizarre Creations' predecessor, Metropolis Street Racer. There's just nothing quite like feeling like you've been somewhere before, even though you know you haven't. While books, television, and film have had an opportunity to fool their audiences in this way for years, it obviously isn't on the same level as it is in videogaming; interactivity is truly a wonderful thing.

Sure, the Getaway contained a relatively large section of London rendered realistically for gamers to explore. But I don't need the running and gunning... I don't need the narrative. Let me explore... rent a car... use an external microphone to practice simple phrases in a foreign language... make short vacation videos... and visit landmarks and museums.

Such experiences would probably only interest a small sect of gamers, but I can assure you that my mother would be into it. And why not use the technology for something a bit different?


That's a great idea; esp partnering with Let's go. You could also partner with someone like "The Amazing Race" and do a MMORS - massive multiplayer online reality show :-)


I think something that promotes tourism for a city would do best by taking a more indirect route: using the city as a vehicle for a story (or using a story as a vehicle for the city, depending on how you look at it). For instance, I imagine a Martin Scorsese film set in New York City has probably attracted a lot more tourists than a video tour of the city.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was what got me crazy for New Orleans, and it did far more than any kind of tour book or "virtual tourist game" could ever do: it turned the city into a sort of mythic, legendary place in my mind. GK was particularly good at this because it managed to intimately connect the history, culture, and geography of the city with the game's story, characters, and gameplay.


GTA: Vice City made me want to go to Miami, even though it's a fictional city. I haven't played The Getaway, but I imagine it would have a similar effect on me in regards to London. You just start thinking to yourself, "Wow, this is such a fun place!" and I don't mean stabbing old ladies with screwdrivers. The developers don't just create the city exactly, they add style and spiffy it up so that it appeals to the gamer. I noticed that in Project Gotham especially since I work in Chicago. The Chicago they have in the game is very accurate in terms of landmarks, but the real Chicago is much dirtier, any many of the buildings look much, much older than they do in the game. Plus, with a track marked off and no people around, it's really not like Chicago at all.


Exactly the same thing happened to me when i visited San Francisco for the first time. I could find my way around with surprising ease thanks to PGR and Tony Hawks 2.

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