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 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.
Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities is an ambitious illustrated atlas that is the first detailed attempt to document and present the rich history of game cities. Virtual Cities offers a combination of original maps, ink drawings, detailed descriptions from in-world perspectives, as well as insightful commentary and analysis.
Virtual Cities is a book meant for lovers of imaginary cartography and worlds, artists, game professionals, world builders, and, above all, everyone who is fascinated by the digital urban spaces crafted for video games.
Virtual Cities covers 45 game cities spanning almost 40 years of digital history. Entries include Half-Life 2’s City 17, Yakuza’s Kamurocho, Fallout’s New Vegas, Silent Hill, Anor Londo from Dark Souls, and even pioneering classics such as the 8-bit Antescher and the 16-bit Lizard Breath.
The book was written by Konstantinos Dimopoulos, and illustrated by Maria Kallikaki.
Vivi Papanastasiou contributed several of the included maps.
Virtual Cities in the press:
"In this Herodotean travelogue, the lore of spaces that “uniquely exist somewhere between art, engineering, urban planning, literature, game design and architecture” unravels through brief treatises on spatial design alongside illustrated maps in ink by Maria Kallikaki."
-- En Liang Khong, TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, February 5, 2021 (link)
"As the Khan observes in Invisible Cities: 'Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else." As Dimopoulos's lovely book shows, the same is true, mutatis mutandis, of videogame cities too."
-- Steven Poole, Trigger Happy, Edge Magazine, issue 357, page 28
" [...] a fictional travel guide to some of the most iconic cities in videogames, and testament to a career pinning down how the best can feel like real places."
-- Edge Magazine, issue 352, page 20
"Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities ist ein mit Mühe und Achtsamkeit hergestellter Liebhaberband, der auf seinen 255 Seiten nicht nur verstehen lässt, wie Computerspielstädte SpielerInnen auf mannigfaltige Weise während des Spielens fesseln, sondern auch, warum sie auch lange nach dem Ende des Spiels als Orte ‚echter virtueller‘ Lebenserfahrung erinnert werden."
-- Robert Baumgartner, Paidia, February 16, 2021 (link)
"If you’ve ever wondered how much work goes into creating the gaming world you’re currently exploring, this new book from Konstantinos Dimopoulos will certainly be for you."
-- Retro Gamer magazine, issue 214, page100
"Se il racconto delle città soddisfa un bisogno di tipo turistico, gli approfondimenti di design rispondono tutti a una domanda molto specifica, ovvero: “Perché questa città è credibile?” e scheda dopo scheda Konstantinos Dimopoulos ci accompagna in un altro viaggio che permette di scoprire quanto questo concetto sia estremamente cangiante e affascinante, perché a essere complesso è il rapporto dell’uomo con gli spazi che abita."
-- Davide Mancini (in Italian), IGN Italia, https://it.ign.com/citta-virtuali/177348/feature/virtual-cities-latlante-delle-citta-dei-videogiochi
"Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities gives the dearly beloved cities their due in a way that not only encapsulates the love gamers feel for them but a deep dive analysis that can only come from the mind of a city planner."
-- Heather Johnson, Hey Poor Player, https://www.heypoorplayer.com/2020/11/20/virtual-cities-book/
"Virtual Cities groups its chosen game worlds under broad thematic categories (Fantasy Cities, Familiar Cities, Future Cities) and relegates release date, platform, publisher and genre to secondary information – a significant, if not revolutionary, step. Much more radically, though, and especially for a full-color, large-format book about games, there is not a single screenshot or photograph anywhere in the book's 255 pages."
-- Josh Peck, Degraded Orbit, https://www.degradedorbit.com/articles/konstantinos-dimopoulos-discusses-virtual-cities
"[...] αποκαλύπτει διαυγώς μια σημαντική πτυχή αυτού του μέσου: ότι τα βιντεοπαιχνίδια είναι, σχεδόν εκ φύσεως, είτε είχαν ποτέ επίγνωση του γεγονότος, είτε όχι, πνευματικά παιδιά του μαγικού ρεαλισμού."
-- Γιώργος Πρίτσκας (in Greek), UnBoxholics, https://unboxholics.com/stories/80022-odigos-pragmatikon-pseytikon-poleon
"I highly recommend Virtual Cities for those who love any combination of video games, maps, and lore. It’s definitely a book I’ll return to, especially as I play more of the games within it. I’m very inspired to explore (or re-visit!) the cities in this book, and I’m sure you will be too."