For those of us who are prone to virtual cabin fever, staying cooped up in our bedrooms with the lights off bashing through the latest games — this article is for you. There are plenty of places on our fine planet that are worth the trip if you’re a gaming enthusiast, from second-hand software Mecca’s to inspirational historic sites. Let’s run through a few and inspire some game-related vacations.
Of course, atop every gamer’s travel list should be Japan, widely regarded as the home base of video game culture. Whilst the language barrier is certainly not the easiest to cross, you can get by just fine if you know what you’re doing way in advance. Akihabara (known as Electric Town to many) is a bustling, eye-popping liminal homage to all things gaming, from gorgeous second-hand shops like Super Potato to merchandise peddlers and gigantic SEGA arcades.
Even though it’s a relatively small area, you could easily spend a whole week here if you’re not careful, with plenty of holes burning in your pocket. If you’re a compulsive buyer, you might want to bring an extra suitcase for all the tat! There’s something strangely alluring about buying all of your favourite old school games in Japanese, even if you weren’t a collector beforehand!
Just a hop, skip and a plane ride from Tokyo, Seoul is another fantastic hub for the traveling gamer. Especially if you’re into eSports and want to check out the many PC bang gaming cafes that line the streets or perhaps spend some time in Yeongdeungpo’s VR Park if you want to try the latest and greatest immersive experiences.
Seoul has some of the finest internet speeds in the world, so it’s a competitive player’s dream. As a consequence, this means that there are often major esports competitions taking place within the city as well as numerous conventions like it’s very own Comic-Con, meaning if you time it just right you could get more than you bargained for.
A gigantic State on the west coast of America, California is home to tons of game development studios but also a gargantuan amount of gaming events that you should certainly plan a trip around. If you’re a big Blizzard fan, there’s no better place than BlizzCon in Anaheim, and you could even try for a studio tour at the nearby Irvine office.
Special subjects aside, Los Angeles is home to the industry’s biggest event, E3, which is pretty much the best way to experience the latest game’s before they hit the store shelves, with insightful events like E3 Coliseum running in tandem to flesh out developer intentions and the latest trends. California is also home to countless gaming bars and barcades where you can watch eSports competitions and is also the inspiration for the setting of a number of top-flight titles like GTA V, so you may recognise some landmarks and figure out a route around if you’ve got a keen eye.
A wildcard to wrap things up, you may want to head to Rome if you’re a gamer with a historical interest. Beyond the rich culture and unbeatable landmarks to keep you busy, there’s also a fantastic store known as Avalon Roma for all your purchasing needs, as well as VIGAMUS, a well-regarded video game museum in the heart of Lazio which offers up a retro-tinged collection and plenty of arcade games for families young and old to enjoy.
We can’t possibly recommend scaling the landmarks, but if you’ve played legendary historically-grounded games like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Civilization or Imperator: Rome, you’ll definitely get a kick out of Italy’s capital city, and you might even be able to impress your traveling companions’ with the knowledge you gained when you were cooped up in the dark leading the legions.
Did we miss your favorite destination? Tell us where you go to escape from the daily grind in the comments below and join us over on the Green Man Gaming community pages to see what all our gamers have to say.