You all shall know my guilty pleasure – my favorite video game to adventure in, of all time, *drum roll* is Baldur’s Gate.
Let me tell you why.
Baldur’s Gate is different for me – and this harkens back to my love of tabletop RPGs too. From an early age, I have been a big fan of WOTC’s Forgotten Realms…back when it was TSR’s Forgotten Realms. I would spend many a time adventuring in Ed Greenwood’s high fantasy world, and pretty much visited everywhere I could, critted as many Red Wizards as my sword could possibly reach, and teamed up my imagination with all of my source books and novels to try and put together a solid picture of Faerun in my head. In short, I grew up on Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft campaign settings.
So when I caught wind that I’d be able to actually SEE the Sword Coast, to take a character and actually walk around…Well…
Why does Faerun speak to me like this? It’s the rich history and varied cultures that combine to create a detailed tapestry of a fantasy world that FEELS real – one that isn’t a monotonous display of the same type of town, the same type of people, the same type of king, and let’s not forget the Kleptomaniac Rule, etc… Faerun is like a real, living world, complete with landmarks, personalities and thousands of years of history that have shaped the world into what it is. As a setting, it holds so much more weight than most, if not all of the 8, 16, even 64 bit worlds that were present.
For a game to have access to this incredibly detailed setting, it seems almost unfair to compare the content of the other games of its time to Baldur’s Gate. I’m all but certain when 98% of video game RPGs were made at that time, they weren’t thinking about how detailed their world’s history had to be…or if it had to measure up to the work done to the Forgotten Realms setting. But it is what it is…the setting, the polytheistic pantheon, the various types of characters…Faerun is pretty much any high fantasy storyteller’s dream come true.
Now I will say this as an end note – people have told me that Neverwinter Nights is even better in terms of exploring Faerun…but I have never actually played Neverwinter Nights before. If I ever do, I may change my mind.
So my favorite place to adventure in a video game is Baldur’s Gate. How about yours?