There’s a certain feeling I get when I’m playing a video game and, suddenly, I find myself absorbed into its world. It’s a feeling even greater than being pulled into a movie I’m watching, or even a book I’m reading, in the sense that this is a world in which I have control over my character. In a video game, you’re not simply along for the ride, but rather, you play a major role in the main character’s journey; you’re the force that guides your character through these worlds. SEGA has created some stunning worlds over the years, and the five I’m going to list here only scratch the surface. But these are a few of the worlds that SEGA has created which, ever since I first got to explore them, I’ve been wishing for a way to transport my real life self into them. Hit the break to read on.
Sonic Adventure: Twinkle Park
Attention all visitors to Station Square: If you like thrills, do not leave the city without first getting to experience the rush that is Twinkle Park! Conveniently located directly across the street from the hotel, there’s no reason to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. From anti-gravity bumper car racing to roller coasters, bowling alleys, a house of mirrors, and even a swimming pool, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in Twinkle Park.
A true sight to behold, the park also holds value to me, since it was the first level I played in Sonic Adventure. In fact, the first time I ever picked up a Dreamcast controller was to get to explore Twinkle Park. Truly a highlight for the series and one of its coolest levels.
Shenmue II: Kowloon
Shenmue II had an atmosphere unlike any other game I’ve ever played, even the first installment in the series. Though many people would have probably expected me to list the expansive and neon-drenched Wan Chai as the location to represent the 2nd Shenmue game, I’m going to go with Kowloon here. From the second Ryo arrived in this city, a feeling of unease and excitement overtook me. Despite the peaceful nature of the shop-packed Dragon Street, a sense of darkness and danger seemed to lurk behind the scenes almost non-stop. Kowloon isn’t perhaps as tourist-driven as the likes of Wan Chai; its gambling areas are hidden underground, its skyscrapers and their shopping malls and apartment buildings aren’t without their layers of grime, and street fighting can be found in almost every Quarter. But when you stand on the grassy edge of Dragon Street to look out at the night sky as you listen to the crickets chirping and the wind rustling the grass around you, there’s something so oddly…magical about it. Definitely a highlight.
Kowloon’s a real section of Hong Kong, so you can actually visit it, though the Walled City, the part of Kowloon where Shenmue II’s action takes place, has been gone for quite some time.
Skies of Arcadia: Sailor’s Island
Ah, the good old sailor town. You visited this location pretty early on in the game to seek out Drachma, and nothing really signaled the start of an “adventure” like leaving your tiny village island and dropping into a town with a bar, a lighthouse complete with a view of the incredible rocky surroundings, the local Sailor’s Guild, and your weapon and item shops. From the sailor evidently very grateful to be on solid ground to a packed bar, Sailor’s Island seems to be the ideal place for Arcadian residents to stop and rest up as they explore the vast skies.
Dobuita had that perfect small town feel with elements of the big city mixed in, giving Shenmue’s main street the best of both worlds. With flower shops, tattoo parlors, a cozy arcade, not to mention jazz bars, clothing stores, restaurants, antique shops, and a great place to buy a hot dog or two, Dobuita had it all. There was something so peaceful about the town as the snow fell, the ice turning the roads white and the locals bundling up. The street of Dobuita actually exists in real life, though it looks quite different from the one in Shenmue, and, while I’m sure it would be an incredible place to visit, I just don’t think it would be the same.
Jet Grind Radio: Benten Cho
What more can be said about the electric Benten Cho? The City of the Night and home to the Noise Tanks, this seems to be Tokyo-to’s liveliest district and by far the coolest-looking. My favorite part was getting that last tag, the one where you have to climb those stairs and grind down that circular rail, hop over the street, and wind up on top of that roof. Good stuff.
There are so many more locations I wish I could list, but this is the Weekly Five, so five locations it is. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 of this down the road, but for now, leave some of your own favorites in the comments section below!Ad:
18 responses to “The Weekly Five: SEGA locations I’d want to visit”
I love this article so much. It gave me chills while reading
I think phantasy star online’s forest could have made a place somwhere? Or the grassy field before the dark falz fase, Without the gritty field with ghost faces on the floor.
Thanks, man! The praise means a lot. I tried to give off the same feeling in the text as I had while playing through these areas, so if it gave you chills then that was most definitely the goal :]
In Kowloon as we speak. Definitely worth a trip, though of course the walled city is no longer here.
“With flower shops, tattoo parlors, a cozy arcade, not to mention jazz bars, clothing stores, restaurants, antique shops, and a great place to buy a hot dog or two, Dobuita had it all.”
These are all boring and mediocre things. You can find these boring and mediocre things in any old boring and mediocre town, anywhere. You don’t even have to play a boring and mediocre game like Shenmue to experience them. =/
…You don’t like arcades?
lol wow body press are u mad? I respect opinions but your opinion is just WRONG!!! BANISH HIM!!!
That arcade has hardly any games at all. You don’t have to travel to some podunk Japanese town to see an arcade with only two or three old games in it. You’d find that anywhere, really.
There are much better arcades in larger Japanese cities.
I feel sorry for body press… Reading your comments is just plain idiocy! So I won’t read them no more cause I think they are draining my intelligence! haha Sorry dude if you are offended but that is my opinion!
Mystic ruins from sonic adventure is another place i’d totally want to visit
I’ve seen Dobuita, and it’s still cool to see even though it’s nothing like the game. Yokosuka is easily my favorite city to visit, not just cause of Shenmue.
Brilliant Article, a very good read and I agree with all of these.
If I could choose any videogame universe to live in, it would certainly be the Skies of Arcadia universe. It’s just so beautiful.
I’d also like to give a special mention to the locations in the Panzer Dragoon series. Never thought something so baron could be so beautiful, the combination of the world and music makes Panzer Dragoon a haunting and exhilarating world to trek through.
I genuinely feel sorry for people that can’t appreciate the atmosphere of Shenmue because that is really what drives the entire experience. There aren’t many movies that can move me like Shenmue has, let alone games.
Yeah Mystic Ruins I originally had in my list. That and Casinopolis. Sonic alone has so many locations that’d be so great to visit. Even though I remember being stuck for like hours in the Mystic Ruins having to find the entrance to Windy Valley, the atmosphere and the graphics made it feel so incredible.
Thanks Sharky. Completely agree about Shenmue as well. People who can’t get into that game are seriously missing out.
this article was a delight. I wouldn’t might a part 2 to be honest.
Great list nsega and great picks! I would have listed just about everything you did, but swap twinkle park with mystic ruins. It would be a blast to see Big’s pad and Angel island.
Thanks Radrappy. We’ll see about a part 2 down the line!
Carnival Night from Sonic 3 would be interesting.
I know this is possibly a very odd choice, but what about Pumpkin Hill from Sonic Adventure 2? that was always my favorite stage for Knuckles and it has that very Halloween vibe to it, which makes me love it even more because of all the pumpkins present in the stage. plus the exploration was really fun. you should definitely do a part 2 for this indeed.