By the time you read this, I will be road tripping up the West Coast, or perhaps crushed under an ancient, vengeful redwood. My impending trip got me wondering, though: what are your favorite games to play while traveling or on vacation? Tell me your video game travel stories!
Me, I tend to like associating various pieces of media with each trip I take. An album, a book, a game—maybe all three in a single trip. It might sound counter-intuitive to forming happy memories about, you know, the trip itself, but I find that associating games I like with real-life mini-adventures makes both the trip and the game infinitely more memorable.
For instance, Final Fantasy X will always be paired with a skiing trip I took with my family and some family friends as a kid. It was a lengthy road trip to Angel Fire, New Mexico (which, come to think of it, sounds like the name of a Final Fantasy location), so we wired up a TV to draw power from the car. At that point, my 12 year-old brain, in one of its finest moments, made a leap worthy of an Olympic snowboarding medal: “Does this mean... PlayStation 2?”
On the way to Angel Fire and back, I marathoned all of FFX. I remember fighting back tears at the end, realizing that no one else in the car was paying attention and would have no idea what I was crying about. To this day, the music from that game can transport me back to that trip—back to surging down hills with no way of stopping except throwing myself face-first into the snow, back to drinking hot chocolate and ice skating with my mom and sister, back to building snowmen while zoning out and thinking, “Damn, so Tidus, like, isn’t real? Hello there, pre-adolescent existential crisis.”
I’ve had similar experiences with a trip to Japan and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (an, in retrospect, extremely fitting pairing) and a road trip to take the SAT (it’s a long story) and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. I guess what I’m saying is, I really like playing JRPGs while on trips, for some reason. Escaping to another place while escaping to another place, I guess. Perhaps all of these memories are why I dig the idea of road trip games so much.
This weekend, however, I’m changing things up: I brought my 18 lb behemoth of a gaming laptop—which I have affectionately named “The Folly Of Man”—and will likely indulge in some Grand Theft Auto V and Pillars of Eternity.
How about you? Do you have any fond memories of gaming and travel? Or... not so fond ones? What sorts of games do you most enjoy playing while you travel? Or do you prefer to stay away from games while you’re on the road/in the sky/tunneling through the center of the Earth, as in wonderfully terrible disaster movie, The Core?
Photo credit: Andrea Ritsu.