Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top Ten Towns in Video Games

Let's end the week right, shall we? Borrowing an idea from NeoGAF, towns are an important part of video games. They're where players purchase goods, talk to non-playable characters, and sometimes start quests. These bustling hubs are especially popular in RPGs. This is a top ten list of my personal favorite towns, villages, and cities in video games. After you check out this list, rattle off some of your own in the comments section.

10) Midgar (Final Fantasy VII - PS1)

This steampunk-inspired city is gigantic. When I first picked up the game as a younger lad, I was amazed that there was a whole other world outside of the large Midgar. This industrial city is blocked off into various sectors from the seedy slums, the underbelly of Midgar, to the richer districts, this town is absolutely massive. What stands in the middle of Midgar is the Shinra Corporation whose iron-fisted grip looms heavily over the city. Plus who can forget racing and battling Road Rash style on a deadly highway?

9) Viridian City (Pokemon Red/Blue Versions - GB)

The second town introduced to aspiring Pokemon trainers is the vibrant and forest-like Viridian City. Although there is a gym leader in this city, only after trainers collect seven badges will the sinister leader of Team Rocket and Viridian City gym leader, Giovanni, will open his door to challengers. The town tune is additionally quite catchy, too. For a humble beginning that leaves a lot to nostalgia, Viridian City may be my favorite town in a Pokemon game.

8) Windfall Island (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - GCN)

Windfall Island is essentially the Kakariko Village of The Wind Waker. It's where a plethora of happenings occur. From talking with Tingle the fairy to bidding on goods in the auction house to mixing up helpful potions with the potion master, there's plenty to see and do on this hustling and bustling isle. The wonderful art style the game possesses only further showcases the beauty of Windfall Island.

7) Flanoir (Tales of Symphonia - PS2, GCN)

Flanoir is a winter wonderland with its own academic library. Though you have to be pretty stupid to build a city in an arctic area, so just how much do these guys need an academic library anyway? Nonetheless, Flanoir is a beautiful city with a fantastic track composed by Motoi Sakuraba to accompany it. One could stare in amazement as snowflakes fall from the sky and touch down softly upon the snow below. I just hope Lloyd Irving and friends packed parkas!

6) Tibetan Village (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - PS3)

The Uncharted series isn't known for its sprawling cities. It's more known for its swashbuckling adventures in jungles, temples, and other ancient areas. When players first get a glimpse of the Tibetan Village after waking up from a near-death experience, they get to see a magnificent mountain town before their very eyes. Sure, no one here speaks English, but they're kind people regardless. There's even some treasure to pick up as well as farm animals to play nice with. What more could Nathan Drake ask for? It's masterful Naughty Dog's design behind this jaw-dropping village.

5) Luca (Final Fantasy X - PS2)

Luca is a seaside metropolis full of life and places to go and people to meet. There's an enjoyable blitzball stadium (blitzball was listed as one of my favorite mini-games in a special article on SPC), a theater where players could listen to music and watch past cinematics, a gorgeous fountain, and a pleasant marina to sit down and hear the sounds of seagulls crying in the distance. The only downside to Luca is that this city was where the infamous "laughing scene" took place. Regardless, I love this town nonetheless.

4) Clock Town (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - N64)

The final burg from a Zelda title, Clock Town is right smack-dab in the center of Termina Field. It is the main hub of Majora's Mask. In order to reverse the flow of time back three days, Link must return to the clock tower in the main part of town. There's always something going on in Clock Town whether you want to reunite lost loves, help out an old lady, or save up enough rupees in the bank for a Heart Container. The Asian flare of the architecture is also a very nice touch.

3) Halure (Tales of Vesperia - PS3, 360)

Such a gorgeous autumn town with a tremendously tall tree resting over the entire city, Halure is truly a sight to behold in Tales of Vesperia. Known affectionately as the City of Blossoms, Halure proves that HD towns can be done, and they can be done marvelously. I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy XIII. Though it appears early in the game, Halure makes a lasting impression upon the player from beginning to end.

2) Kakariko Village (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - SNES)

In the Light World, Kakariko Village is a peaceful village. One can participate in a racing mini-game through wild grass, bush, and past fences, read a book or two in the library, or get guards sicked on them as Link is a wanted fugitive. The color palette chosen is pleasing to the eye with its subdued green grass and white tiled paths. Link, with ocarina in tow, can even summon a bird to fly him across the land of Hyrule in a hurry.

1) Delfino Plaza (Super Mario Sunshine - GCN)

Number one goes to a place that perpetually reminds me of summer, Delfino Plaza. Mario goes short sleeves in Super Mario Sunshine, the black sheep of the three-dimensional Mario games. That doesn't stop sun-soaked Delfino Plaza from making this list as one of my favorite towns in a game. From cleaning graffiti high and low, scaling rooftops via wall kicks, using Yoshi to make it from boat-to-boat to an isolated island, and trading blue coins for Shine Sprites to kicking fruit into nets for Piantas, the denizens of Delfino, this plaza definitely has a lot to do. It was also named as one of my favorite game hubs of all time.


So there you have it. My list of my personal favorite top ten towns in video games. I'm sure you can't wait to dissect this list and share your own opinion on the matter. Feel free to directly in the comments section. Don't forget to vote on September's poll while you're at it!

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