Ten video games set in Colorado: Part two
Who would have thought that our humble state of Colorado could have hosted so many video games? While for many developers Colorado seems to be synonymous with little more than "snow," these games will take you everywhere from explosive recreations of '90s blockbusters to wholesome educational programs. Although few of these games will teach you about Coloradan geography, if you've ever been under attack by a North Korean army or driven through Commerce City, you'll want to keep reading...
10. Homefront (2011, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
John Milius served as a story consultant for this modern-day, first-person shooter, but he's better known as the writer of another Colorado-set Communist shooting fantasy: Red Dawn. While Red Dawn takes place in the fictional Calumnet, Colorado, Homefront starts you out in Montrose, after the villainous North Korean army has already invaded the USA and begun dismantling God, country and apple pie. Between buckets of blood and hails of bullets, the game gets the feel of a sleepy Colorado town right, but doesn't capture much of Montrose's specifics. Particularly egregious is the sight of a White Castle: only in our wildest dreams.
9. Cabela's Dangerous Hunts and Cabela's Big Game Hunter (2003, 2010, Xbox, PS2, PC)
Sure, you could just hunt, but why not hunt... dangerously? Both the classic Big Game Hunter and the more adrenaline-fueled Dangerous Hunts flavors of hunting games occasionally dip into the frosty Rocky Mountains to let you take a shot at exotic wildlife. In Dangerous Hunts, you're taken to fictional Glenville to face the terror, the unimaginable danger of... white-tailed deer. Despite the rabid man-eating bears promised on the box, this hum-drum Colorado hunting experience disappointed both Coloradans and hundreds of little kids at Christmas who got Dangerous Hunts in their stockings instead of SOCOM 2. "Gee, thanks, Grandma..."
8.NBA 2K Series, NBA Live 2005, NHL 98 & 2004 (All platforms)
As with Madden, MLB 2K and other sports games, the popular NBA 2K series has repeatedly shown off a Denver stadium, this time the Pepsi Center. It looks pretty good, though they don't bother to render the outside. Denver athletes have also graced the covers of a number of sports games, with Carmelo Anthony on the front of NBA Live 2005 and the Avalanche's Peter Forsberg on NHL 98. Atlanta's Dany Heatley was slated to be the cover guy for NHL 2004 until he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the 2003 death of teammate Dan Snyder, whereupon he was replaced by Denver's Joe Sakic.
7.Need For Speed: The Run (2011, Xbox 360, PS3)
While Forza Horizon lets you take in Colorado's natural beauty, and DiRT 3 shows off the frosty slopes of Aspen, Need For Speed: The Run has you burning rubber through the visual feast of, uh, Commerce City. After racing on the Million Dollar Highway and dodging avalanches throughout the Rockies, Commerce City's smoggy industrial splendor and a stop at Colorado's finest Shell station (at 1:52 in the video) don't quite measure up. Still, the significant portion of The Run's cross-country race that takes place here is a good showcase of the state's environments.
6. Die Hard Trilogy (1996, Playstation, Sega Saturn, PC)
Die Hard 2: Die Harder was filmed at the decommissioned Stapleton Airport, standing in for Dulles International in Washington, D.C. So yes, we're cheating with this one, but who's writing this list, anyway? The second part of this PS1 classic is very loosely based on the film, with the player shooting terrorists threatening D.C.'s supply of Coke machines with their light gun. Though we don't remember John McClane blowing away quite so many innocent bystanders as in this video...
5. Where In The USA Is Carmen Sandiego? (1985, 1996, PC)
5. Where In The USA Is Carmen Sandiego? (1985, 1996, PC)
"Colorado is calling your name! Because someone pilfered a peak: Pikes Peak, to be exact." That's how The Chief (played by the forever awesome Lynne Thigpen, the DJ from The Warriors) notifies you that Colorado's most famous mountain has been thieved by none other than Carmen Sandiego. Both the 1996 and 1985 versions of Where In The USA had kids solve thefts from Colorado -- but back in the '80s, Sandiego and the Villain's International League of Evil saw fit to steal not just the peak, but Molly Brown's tea set and the State Capitol's golden dome as well. What would Carmen snatch in 2012, the Big Blue Bear, perhaps? (A V.I.L.E. agent gets bagged in Colorado near 5:48.)
4. Shattered Union (2005, Xbox, PC)
After Washington, D.C., is blown up, the United States plunges into the dark depths of a second Civil War in Shattered Union. Now renamed Southwest Arcadia, the Colorado region is a crucial battleground... if you can pry it from the cold, dead fingers of the lamely named Great Plains Federation. Seriously, guys? Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley and even Rifle and Craig are depicted in this hex-based war game, meaning Shattered Union might be the first and only virtual representation of these smaller towns. There's no spot-on visual recreations of these cities, of course, but the relevant rivers and highways are accurately labeled, as can be seen in this article.
3. Outlast (Projected release Summer 2013, PC)
Miles Upshur, intrepid freelance reporter, enters Colorado's abandoned Mount Massive Asylum and finds more than he bargained for. That's the premise of Outlast, an upcoming first-person horror game in the vein of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Mount Massive is fictional, but the Colorado Mental Health Institute, formerly known as the Colorado Insane Asylum, bears a striking resemblance to Outlast's creep-filled spookhouse. The trailer mentions the CIA's abandoned "MK-ULTRA" project -- a name that might ring a bell with fans of Denver's old punk bands.
2.Spike's Peak (1983, Atari 2600)
A Facebook commenter alerted us to this nearly forgotten Atari mountaineering adventure. Does it really take place on our beloved Pikes Peak? Hey, it was the Atari 2600 era -- for all we know, Pitfall! took place in Cheesman Park. This unique, double-sided cartridge replicated the experience of climbing Pikes Peak with breathtaking accuracy: difficult and chock-full of killer eagles and polar bears.
1. Resident Evil series (1999-present, all platforms)
No one quite knows where Raccoon City, home of the Umbrella Corporation and ground zero for the T-Virus that begat Resident Evil's mob of troublesome zombies, is in the U.S. Well, was in the U.S., in the canons of the film and the game, Raccoon City has long been wiped off the map. But given its location at the foot of the Arklay Mountains and hints of its location in the Midwest, Denver seems like a safe bet. The guy who made this video seems to think it's Boulder, but we don't really get that whole 'zombie apocalypse' vibe from there. (Clip below NSFW for gore and awesomely bad acting.)
Get the Arts and Theater Newsletter
Weekly information keeping you in the know when it comes to the art and theater scene. Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events.