Before you stands a mountain that lives up to its name. The sweltering heat obscures your vision as you approach. You’ve dreamed of making this journey since you were a child, and now here you stand at Death Mountain.
Imagine for a second what it would be like to visit your favorite virtual world. From the sights of Hyrule to the edge of the galaxy in Mass Effect, we’ve spent countless hours exploring these digital landscapes that expand our imaginations.
For us, those worlds allow us to escape and experience things that are impossible in our everyday lives. For patients at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) unable to leave the hospital, experiencing something as simple as trick-or-treating can feel just as impossible. Their experiences have been limited to the space around them.
We use games to see other worlds. Patients use games to see ours.
By using Virtual Reality headsets, SickKids has been able to transport its patients to places they’ve never been and experience the impossible. Whether going door-to-door on Halloween or visiting the pyramids in Egypt, patients are able to live out their dreams and see the world beyond the walls of the hospital.
To celebrate Extra Life, the annual charity 24-hour streaming marathon that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals like SickKids, we’re highlighting some of the virtual worlds that we dream of exploring. VR has given us the chance to visit Gotham and even Tamriel, but if you could go to any world, which would you choose?
Before you start rattling off your favorite video games, you might want to think a few things through. After all, some of the most visually arresting worlds also happen to be the most deadly. Even though the halls and alleys of Yarnham are beautiful to behold, would you really want to visit the world of Bloodborne? If your answer is yes, then you have both my respect and my distance, as I back away slowly.
Choosing just one world is quite the challenge. Deciding between the setting, the people that inhabit it, and the various activities is a debate of its own. The world of the Persona series is similar to our own in most ways, but being able to hang out with Yosuke, Chie, and Yukiko would be a dream come true. Even spending a single day with the townsfolk in Animal Crossing and shaking trees to share some apples would leave a permanent smile on the face of just about anyone. Yet the pure spectacle of Alfheim as seen in God of War would transport one to another world.
To help spark some ideas, we’ve been running polls on our Facebook page that ask you to choose which virtual world is your favorite. Below, we’ve broken down the results, along with why we believe these are the best worlds to experience the ultimate escape.