Like any story, video games are subject to feature a myriad of environments of all kinds. Need your story to take place in a populated city? In a desert? In a factory? In the sewers? There are so many options! One thing about video games is that by their composition, they can often feature multiple environments. Remember Super Mario Bros. 3: Grass, desert, islands in the ocean, a world of giants, a world in the clouds, an ice world, a maze of pipes and a fiery world! There is a very wide variety of locations that can be visited.
I doubt there’s a game out there that has them all – there are so many! Although their strength lies in how they're used. so it’s interesting to see how a developer approaches them. I recall Rayman Origins, which I reviewed two weeks ago; it had a desert world made of musical instruments, and a food world that also included frozen and burning lands.
I decided to pay tribute today to my 12 favorite video game environments. The ones that allow for the most creativity, the ones that offer great visuals. The ones that are tied to the plot, the ones that tend to be memorable. Considering that there’s at least three dozen different possible environments, I had to carefully pick my choices for the list, so if there’s an environment you like that is missing from the list, be sure to share it!
12. Locomotive Levels
|Jump from a car to another, and don't fall on the|
tracks. These wheels are deadly.
Screenshot from: Road Runner's Death Valley Rally
Note, if your game or show is set in a mostly realistic world, don’t do that. Ask Archer.
11. The Lethal Lava Land
|Fire everywhere, lakes of lava, artillery everywhere,|
and a nopn-stop sense of dread. But our target audience
is kiddies, so we can't call it Hell.
From: Super Mario Bros. 3
10. The Eternal Engine
|What are those smashing pieces of machinery and these|
spiky wheels for? We'll never know.
From: Rayman Origins.
9. The Most Heavenly Level
|You know things have gotten bad when even the Afterlife|
From: Super Paper Mario.
|This level from The Simpsons Game went|
a step beyond and had you battle in
the afterlife the dead opponents you
killed in previous levels. Awesome idea.
8. The Ice Palace
|Doesn't look very "Ice Palace"-y.|
The slippery floors would beg to differ,
From: A Link To The Past.
7. Band Land
|My wheels! These piano keys, they do nothing!|
From: Mario Kart 7 (Music Park track)
6. The Maze
|Going back to the Mario well... Remember the Forest|
Maze? The toughest part is to follow Geno and
remember where he went.
From: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
5. The Amusement Park of Doom
|In Video Game Land, always check who owns the park that|
you're about to visit. Or you're gonna have some nasty
From: Sonic Colors.
4. Hailfire Peaks
|The trope namer, featuring frozen tundras and fiery caves|
in close proximity.
3. The Abandoned Laboratory
|Some freaky amoral things have been going on here.|
That's, like, the most frequent reason for laboratories to
close down in fiction. Realistic reasons, like a lack of
funding, are far behind.
2. The Macro Zone
|This is an example of a game where your character is|
naturally small, so everything else is big.
From: Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers (NES).
1. All the Worlds Are A Stage
|Imagine that every single one of these connected rectangles|
is a stolen piece of land from plains, peaks, volcanoes,
abandoned zoos, towers, and so much more.
No rhyme or reason, just all connected together by
From: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Alright, that was my list. I hope you enjoyed. Tell me, are there video game settings I could have forgotten? Cutting it down to 12 means I had to take out many, many interesting video game settings. Are there any others that you enjoy, that you would have put in your own Top 12 list? Feel free to share them!