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Published on November 17th, 2014 | by gareth


3 Gaming Worlds That Can Hold Their Own To Middle-earth

A huge part of why video games are so appealing is the ability to escape into a different world developed by an army of programmers, designers and artists. What started with warp pipe journeys in “Mario Bros.” has become intricate worlds comparable to novels and movies. Game developers no longer pride themselves on level-by-level linear gameplay. Free ranging worlds where players can follow their own path and make their own decisions to affect the outcome are now coveted by Gen 4 gamers. J.R.R Toliken’s Middle-earth is expansive but the gaming worlds of today are more than qualified for feature films given there are 32 adaptations in the works. Let’s take a look at three worlds where gamers can explore, learn and, of course, pillage.

Nirn (The Elder Scrolls)

There are few game worlds as intricately crafted as the world of Nirn from the “Elder Scrolls” franchise of games. The games to date have focused heavily on the events that occur on the continent of Tamriel over several thousand years, the world outside of Tamriel is detailed in-game in books and histories. Over the extensive history of the Elder Scrolls games, players have been able to walk the ash-caked wilds of Morrowind, explore the Imperial City, climb the Throat of the World in the province of Skyrim and explore the entire Imperium’s nooks and crannies. Elder Scrolls Online offers a map of the entire continent to help players understand the vast scale of the world.

It isn’t just the size of the world, however – Tamriel is a world rich in history, language, culture, flora and fauna that have been crafted by the hands of many talented writers and developers over the years. The legends of the world are so rich that they can be considered philosophical statements on creativity itself – The Imperial Library explores how the “Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec,” a collection of in-game books from “Morrowind,” explores ideas concerning theories of game design and player interaction disguised as religious gospels from the Dark Elven folk religion. Not every game goes that deep.

Thedas (Dragon Age)

A huge continent in the southern hemisphere, Thedas is the primary location that all the Dragon Age games are set in. While we know there is a world outside of Thedas since the Qunari are from a northern land, much of it is shrouded in mystery. Thedas however, is made up of a dozen nations ranging from the fallen Feralden lost during The Blight to the magocratic Tevintar Imperium. “Dragon Age: Inquisition” is slated to come out November 18th and requires 26 GB of hard drive space on PC. Players are set to explore a whole new facet of Thedas.

Thedas is a living world in which events from one game deeply shape the world of later games, a trademark characteristic of the “Dragon Age” franchise that has made players feel like a part of an ever-growing mythology. As more games in the franchise are released, Thedas will grow and each players experience of it will be different and unique.

The Continent (The Witcher)

The world of the Witcher is a strange one – much has been said of its inhabitants, geography, and languages, but the world itself has never actually received a name. Originally created by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, the world of “The Witcher” game franchise takes place on a continent only known as “The Continent” by its inhabitants.

The continent is inhabited by the Northern Kingdoms and the Nilfgaard Empire, other races are forced to live in second-class enclaves or dangerous wilderness. Over the last few centuries, much of the land has been claimed by the expanding empire of Nilfgaard while the Northern Kingdoms suffer. “The Witcher” series takes place after a massive war between these powers. Geralt of Rivia will return in the “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” due for release in February of 2015. Players who purchase the physical copy will receive a detailed map of The Continent.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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