Wow. Look at that summer sun slapping the face of the planet, like a big 12-hour camera flash. So hot, so clear-skied. A blessed day of walks in the park, trips to the beach, picnics by the litter bins. What a glorious day for wasps it is out there. Let’s all go to the…
Oh right. Forget I said anything. Go back inside, lock the doors, and consider some of these perfect virtual holiday destinations. Please, trust us with your fake vacation. After all, what is a games journalist but a sort of really dodgy travel agent?
Sapienza – Hitman
Noted corpse secreter and bald man-for-hire Agent 47 has long been a fan of international travel. He has visited all sorts of exotic locations in his time as a professional loose end tidy-upper. But Sapienza is the glinting jewel in his travel crown. A gorgeous beach, rustic villas, playful alcoves and narrow streets. It almost makes you forget you’re here on work. The picturesque town was inspired by the Amalfi coast of real-world assassination hotspot, Italy. This is what the Amalfi coast looks like in real life which is nice, sure, but it’d look better through the scope of a sniper rifle.
Vacation Island – Vacation Simulator
You have landed on Vacation Island to have fun, you are told. But then a floating CRT monitor called Efficiency Bot appears to make sure you are having “efficient, memorable fun”. The true quality of a holiday, he rightly points out, relies on collecting sufficient metrics about said time off. So off you go. Build supervisor-approved sandcastles on the beach. Go fishing for quota-fulfilling freshwater species. Stuff your face to hurling point with forest berries and reel in horror as the vomit flows uncontrollably from your mouth in truly immersive VR. Hmm. Could the message of this videogame be that we ought to live in the moment, embrace real reality and go on actual holidays without the artifice of social media or videogames? No. Keep reading this list.
Harran – Dying Light
The light might be dying, but the night life is just getting started. Visit Harran for its golden sunsets, maze-like architecture, and prestigious tower blocks full of the shattered remnants of humanity.
Vespucci beach – Grand Theft Auto V
It is the car thief’s favourite stretch of sand, Vespucci Beach. There is lots to do here. Assassinate a weight-lifter at the open-air gym. Open a medical marijuana business. Buy a monstrous pig mask in the costume shop and rob a nearby liquor store. The beach neighbourhood is your oyster. Like Hitman’s Sapienza, this too is inspired by a real place, this time Venice Beach of Los Angeles. LA is an wonderful place, offering all the splendid anonymity of city life. I once flew into LA in summer and, looking down at the endless megacity from the plane, I thought: I could fall in a drain here, and die, and no one would know for days. Anyway.
Planet 4546B – Subnautica
Tropico – Tropico 6
What is summer without a sandbox? Tropico 6 is a continuation of the “make an island paradise with a dictator” joke. It is gag-meets-game, but this sequel falls heavily (thankfully) on the game side. Probably because the gag is 19 years old, and Fidel Castro has been dead for four of them. But never mind that. Here you can leisurely build bridges from island to island, making a neat, blissful archipelago, where one island is dedicated to idiot tourists, another to the smoke and stink of industry, and another to leafy farms stretching over the countryside. A game for anyone who wants to make a holiday resort, but also recognises that people actually live there. I mean, not real people. Little fake people. Everything is fake now.
Next to this star lol – Elite Dangerous
Have you considered sunbathing in the direct radius of a Class O supergiant?
Sulani – The Sims 4: Island Living
Ah, the Magaluf of virtual holidays. The Benidorm of the digital realm. The hotel buffet of fake vacationing. The all-inclusive bus tour of videogames. I could do a whole paragraph of these, you know. The Skegness fish and chip shop of PC gaming. The hastily bought airport flip-flops of faux summer escapes. Listen, Alice Liguori has left RPS, which is sad. But it also means I no longer have to withhold my contempt for the Sims, or for this, the Blackpool rock of expansion packs.
The Finnish countryside – My Summer Car
This game has a button to curse. There is a button to pee. A button to flip off the chassis of your own rusty vehicle in frustration. All holidays include these things, and it is a brave videogame that admits so. There is a button to slur your speech, because you are drunk. A button to stick your thumb out and hitchhike when your car inevitably breaks down thanks to your clueless tinkering. No other game has reproduced the aimless summer months with such commitment to 1990s ennui. There is a button to smoke and hate life.
The Caspian – Metro Exodus
Delicate dunes, starry nights, quaint sandstorms. The Caspian sea is a vivid and lively place to go on holiday. Especially now the sea is gone. Ha ha. It’s so funny when mindless shooter games have these wacky, ludicrous settings. Imagine an entire body of water just disappearing from the planet. As if!
[turns to face camera 2]
The Caspian sea is evaporating.
One Off The List from… the most extreme sports
Last week we shredded down the cliff face of the 9 most extreme sports in PC games. But one of these activities was judged not rad enough to chill with the others. It’s… Burnout Paradise.
“The beauty of Crash was the curation, not the carnage,” says list iconoclast “Durgendorf”, arguing that Burnout 3 is the true king of car crash games. “Launching a garbage truck off a ramp into a perfectly arranged overpass was always fun, even when you somehow managed to miss every possible target. Showtime, in contrast, becomes vanilla almost immediately. The same ordinary wrecks stretch off into infinity in every direction, and it’s all just so blah.”
The car war never ends. And neither do these list articles. See you next week, list scum.