Blog Traces History of NYC in Video Games

April 23, 2008 -
Everyone who follows video games knows by now that Liberty City, the setting for the hotly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, is an ultra-realistic depiction of New York.

But the Big Apple has been the setting for many a past video game, according to The Bowery Boys:
The difficult part is actually figuring out, in fact, if a game takes place in New York. For instance, Frogger could take place in New York, if the West Side Highway straddled a Hudson River full of logs and turtles. Pac-Man is certainly a metaphoric representation of the Financial District. If Donkey Kong is an homage to King Kong, wouldn't that mean he's throwing barrels from the Empire State Building?

...In 1984, anxious Atari and Commodore 64 owners got their hands on a more literal tribute to the city -- The Big Apple. In the simple game, a player maneuvers through a traffic free midtown Manhattan... This game looks a bit like a malfunctioning digital watch and was appropriately forgotten.

The Bowery Boys go on to list several old school titles, including Punch Out!!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project.
The first [game] to make a real attempt at a recognizable New York landscape was probably 1989's Manhunter: New York, a clunky and mostly unexciting action game set in the post-apocalyptic future of 2002. However it did manage to depict city landmarks in ways that were at least recognizable, if primitive...

The excellent write-up also names games such as Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, Deus Ex, Max Payne and XIII, while noting True Crime: New York City as a turning point for its realistic depiction of NYC. It's definitely worth a read.

Comments

Somehow, I doubt that those games will get blamed for half the crimes in NY from now on.

Deus Ex was an awesome game set in NY. Although the crimes against humanity that gould be perpetuated therein were generally on a more cataclysmic scale.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptEveryone who follows video games knows by now that Liberty City, the setting for the hotly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, is an ultra-realistic depiction of New York. But the Big Apple has been the setting for many a past video game, according to The Bowery Boys: The difficult part is actually figuring out, in fact, if a game takes place in New York. For instance, Frogger could take place in New York, if the West Side Highway straddled a Hudson River full of logs and turtles. Pac-Man is certainly a metaphoric representation of the Financial District. If Donkey Kong is an homage to King Kong, wouldn’t that mean he’s throwing barrels from the Empire State Building? [...]

Ha ha, "action game." Manhunter was a Sierra Online adventure. For god only knows what reason, several times through the course of any Sierra adventure of the time, you would have to negotiate an arcade sequence. If you lose, you die. If you win, you get to continue. The engine was not up to action sequences, the players did not want them, and they did not fit into their games, but by God, they must be in every game!

Don't forget Crush, Crumble & Chomp, a game I used to play on the Apple II+. In the game, you chose to be a movie monster (Godzilla, The Blog, etc.) and attacked a particular city. I believe you could choose from major cities like D.C., Philly.... and NYC. The best part was that particular buildings were mapped out. So, if you wanted to attack the Empire State Building, you could. You could actually try and take down the White House! It was a simple graphical affair (obviously), with a one-color top-down approach, but yeah, it sees like this type of gameplay would be controversial today.

@Truthiness:

Sounds like an early Rampage, which I think was also set in New York... and I think you could eat people as well as destroy cars and sky scrapers.

And I'm not sure I would call "The Blog" a monster... sure it gets out of hand from time to time...

j/k :P

@Truthiness Advocate

If a game like that were made today it'd be a "terrorism simulator

Ahh, I love that New York considers itself to be the center of everything, ever.

@mogbert

They had like EVERY city in Rampage. That game was so amazing...

In my opinion, the only thing special about New York is how huge it is with lots of diverse things. Other then that it is nothing special, just an over crowded city.

You should check out the SNES game Urban Strike if you wanna see something that would be branded as a terrorist simulator. The game involves piloting a helicopter around fighting terrorists as they invade American cities. Mission 5 is in New York.

Wanna guess what happened to the twin towers? The terrorists blew a hole in the side of one. Ouch.

The digital depiction of NYC will not be complete until they can bring home that hobo-pee-and-garbage smell that permeates the city and outlying area.
 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Goth_SkunkThere's... no button mashing in DA:I. However, neither is DA:I's combat perfect. I, for one, detest the active talent max limit of 8.05/24/2015 - 8:21pm
MattsworknameDa I combat is fun, a bit stiff but fun, but I still say the best pure combat engine in any game was Metal gear rising.05/24/2015 - 7:15pm
ZippyDSMleeWhen DA gets a control system like DA:O I'll brother to want to paly it, I frown on button mashing RPGs not made by bethseda...05/24/2015 - 5:59pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/science/2015/05/new-neural-implant-reads-a-persons-intentions-to-control-robotic-arm/ our first steps tos a dues ex future lol.05/24/2015 - 1:51pm
Goth_SkunkThe game is 75% sidequests, 25% story. And most of those sidequests are only vaguely related to the main story at all, having very little consequence to the plot at large.05/24/2015 - 1:12pm
Goth_SkunkI'm such a huge BioWare fan that I played through my first playthrough of DA:I without complaint, but on my second time through I certainly took notice of just how much side-quest material there was. It's probably my greatest criticism of the game.05/24/2015 - 1:10pm
ZippyDSMleeI need one of my 70 games to play....mmmmmmmm05/24/2015 - 9:57am
MattsworknameSpent all night playing blood borne, now trapped in the Nightmare frontier and trying to reach the boss so I can maybe warp out again05/24/2015 - 9:21am
MattsworknameYeah, i got started and then made it through t the first few misions anthen blood borne05/23/2015 - 10:13pm
Goth_SkunkWhich one, Dragon Age?05/23/2015 - 8:20pm
Wonderkarpalso waiting patiently for Batman.05/23/2015 - 7:36pm
MattsworknameIn still trying ot beat that game the first time. Freaking game has so much side questing05/23/2015 - 7:34pm
Goth_SkunkPlaying a third and probably final playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Once that's done, I'll move on to AC: Unity, most likely, then get caught up on A-list games I have yet to play, like Murdered: Soul Suspect and Shadows of Mordor.05/23/2015 - 6:33pm
MattsworknameIf you own a vita and like monster hunter, but dont like the bs filler that goes with it. Try tokiden kiwmai05/23/2015 - 6:11pm
Matthew Wilsonaparently their servers got crushed, but I dont see the game selling well. Nintendo fans tend not to be fans of competitive fps05/23/2015 - 5:48pm
MattsworknameSPlatton looks intersting, Love the are style, gonna give the game a try with the upcoming test fire05/23/2015 - 4:39pm
PHX Corp@Technogeek, I'm returning for one more Run with the Global testfire05/23/2015 - 3:41pm
WonderkarpI'm bouncing all over the place but right now I'd say I'm playing Super Mario 64 trying to max out the stars. 2 worlds and 2 secret stars to go05/23/2015 - 1:12pm
TechnogeekReminder: Splatoon Global Testfire returns this afternoon/evening.05/23/2015 - 12:45pm
Andrew EisenA bit busy with my 30 Days of Netflix project but I did play through the first world of New Super Mario Bros. 2 at a sushi restaurant last night.05/23/2015 - 10:59am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician