Saturday, December 28, 2013

Video Game Maps

I've been thinking about maps lately.  Fictional maps, specifically.  Great fantasy authors like  J RR Tolkein, L Frank Baum, George RR Martin and a newcomer named Ian Silva -- have grasped the power of maps to draw a viewer in and to lend a new dimension to a fictional world.   I'd like to draw special attention to Ian Silva's Maps as they are the only one of this small collection that are of a Modern design, but they also contain a history of a fictional society, and 100 years of baseball records.  

In the case of video games, maps come in different forms.  Overworld maps in RPG games are the most prevalent, where players will navigate the continental structures of the given video game world.   The navigation of an overworld is often aided by a sub-map which displays the entire planet, highlighting the players current position in a 'you are here' style.  

There are also Dungeon maps, made popular in the first Legend of Zelda.  And there is another style of map which you can find on a website I just found, called - The Video Game Atlas.  This website uses screen captures to map out entire games, from the NES, SNES and even Nintendo 64, among others.  The database is extensive, and if you were a former Nintendo Power subscriber, you might lose some time wandering through their library.

VGMaps is an old site, it just celebrated its Tenth Anniversary.   It reminds me of the old internet, when commercial interests hadn't moved in, and everything you could find was put there by dedicated people, doing it out of love.  I miss that internet, but I don't think it's ever coming back.  Still, there are sites like VGMaps, more like outposts in deep space, or oases in the desert.  Or something.

Anyhow, go have a look, have fun.  They're doing a Map of the Month thing, and the one for December is from a Japanese Sequel to Paladin's Quest that I never heard of.  Enjoy



  1. That's a pretty cool site and I have to stick to a single game each time I visit, otherwise I'll lose myself looking at every detail on every map.

    I especially love the "entire map" from both Castlevania and Simon's Quest, just to see how big the world is and how big it isn't compared to modern day Castlevania titles.

    And yeah, Lennus II (what would be Paladin's Quest II if there was ever a localization from Square Enix), that's a game I would like to have played, but probably because of the not-great-reception that Paladin's Quest received here in the US, there most likely won't be any NA release.

  2. To this day, you are still the only person I know who played Paladin's Quest. I never beat it -- it was tough! Hmm, maybe that would be a good one to retro play. Lennus 2 could get a fan-sub, maybe?

    The 'entire map' thing is really interesting. I saw one on Metroid once, and it's weird to think that the map's not that big. But I think that these old maps make up for it with raw difficulty. The map may be smaller, but it's a hell of a lot harder to navigate!

  3. Looking at Simon's Quest map now - it's pretty fun to just start from the beginning and read all the townsfolk dialogue. I never noticed how the formatting is identical to Zelda II. Did you ever beat Simons Quest?

  4. I only played Simon's Quest a couple of times (rented I think). I was at an age when I couldn't make the connection between platforms becoming visible and Dracula's Eye (I think it was his eye). I ultimately gave up. I did however buy the game on eBay a few years back, when I wanted to go through the entire series in chronological order, but now I need a converter for my TV, which I believe I've mentioned a few times.