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Virtual Cities

An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities

Video games allow us to construct and visit believable imaginary cities, provide us with glimpses of ancient urbanism, and let us immerse ourselves in the wildest utopias and darkest dystopias of our possible futures. They are an unprecedented canvas for experimenting with the urban environment, and an utterly unique medium for experiencing cities both imagined and real in truly immersive ways.

I and visual artist Maria Kallikaki have embarked on a virtual journey to explore, catalogue, and map the most spectacular, intriguing, and defining places of this new digital geography. 

Virtual Cities was published on the 12th of November 2020. 

Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities is an ambitious and richly illustrated atlas that is the first detailed attempt to document the deep and exciting history of game cities via a combination of original maps, ink drawings, and insightful commentary and analysis. 

Virtual Cities is a beautiful book meant for lovers of cartography and imaginary worlds, artists, game designers, world builders, and, above all, everyone who plays and cares for video games.

Virtual Cities covers 45 game cities across literary and gaming genres. Cities spanning almost 40 years of digital history, including detailed entries on Half-Life 2’s City 17, Yakuza’s Kamurocho, Fallout’s New Vegas, Silent Hill, Fallen London, and less well-known cities such as Antescher and Lizard Breath, plus cyberpunk Hong Kong, and voodoo New Orleans among many, many more.

Every city featured in the atlas is re-imagined in its striking entirety from an in-world point of view, and cartographically described using traditional and unorthodox mapping methods. The reconstruction and filling in of essential details allowed me and artist Maria Kallikaki to visualize the often fragmented, incomplete, and out of scale cities of gaming in a cohesive way. Allcities are accompanied by subtly coloured ink drawings, and in-depth texts detailing its history, design lessons, atmosphere, landmarks, and geography.

About the Book:

  • A full colour, high quality hardback with printed endpapers.

  • 256 pages.

  • 216 by 286mm format with head and tail bands.

  • 46 original maps, and more than 100 drawings.

The 45 cities included in the book (presented here in no particular order) are the following:

The City, Thief: The Dark Project
London, Fallen London
Dunwall, Dishonored
City 17, Half-Life 2
New Vegas, Fallout: New Vegas
Citadel, Mass Effect series
Hong Kong, Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Midgar, Final Fantasy VII
Lizard Breath, It Came From The Desert
New Orleans, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Silent Hill, Silent Hill
Kamurocho, Yakuza 0
Wan Chai, Shenmue II
Steelport, Saints Row: The Third
London, Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Antescher, Ant Attack
Rubacava, Grim Fandango
Whiterun, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Sigil, Planescape: Torment
Anytown, 0°N 0°W
Anor Londo, Dark Souls
Seaside Valley, Bus Simulator 18
Dun Darach, Dun Darach
Novigrad, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Rockvil, A Mind Forever Voyaging
Mega Primus, X-COM: Apocalypse
Orgrimmar, World of Warcraft
Terrapolis, B.A.T.
Olympic City, Need For Speed Underground
Pripyat, STALKER: Call of Pripyat
Metro City, Final Fight
Raccoon City, Resident Evil 2
New Bretagne, Lamplight City
New York City, Deus Ex
Yharnam, Bloodborne
Clock Town, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Fourside, Earthbound
Woodtick, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
New Donk City, Super Mario Odyssey
Tarsonis City, Starcraft series
Gotham City, Batman: Arkham Knight
Neketaka, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Milton, The Long Dark
Propast, Europolis, Dreamfall Chapters
Union City, Beneath A Steel Sky

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