I recently finished playing the last episode of a wonderful series of old, Gabriel Knight (graphic adventures based on supernatural and occult mysteries), and, given its attention for details and its immersive atmospheres, I was convinced that at least some of the locations where it takes place would be WHS... but, with my disappointment, it is not the case. Indeed, neither New Orleans nor Rennes-le-Château nor München are. There's only Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee
which are on the tentative list of Germany as "Dreams in Stone - the palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria". Unfortunately, if I remember well, one goes to the Starnberg lake, but there's no mention of the pile dwellings of the Roseninsel either (I'm sorry, @elsslots
In any case, I did a branstorming to retrieve from my memory all appearances of WHS in videogames I have played, and subject them to public scrutiny. In some cases, I'd favour a less strict approach than the hyperrealism proposed in the original post, if the WHS in question is represented with enough details and in spirit, within the technical limits of that game. As a side note, it's actually amazing how so few in my personal "collection" are tied to real places.
But anyway, this is what I found out:
- Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsène Lupin
: one of the initial scenarios takes place inside a rather detailed Tower of London
, where you, Sherlock, are investigating. Apart from that, you are in the London, but don't go to other WHS.
- Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption
: a rather crude depiction (3D graphics of 2000, so it cannot hold a candle to the later Assassin's Creeds) of the old town of Prague
, a wonderful setting for a rather disappointing game. The story begins there in the Middle Ages, and you get to see some rendition of the St. Vitus cathedral, the Golden Lane, and so on. I found it very nice!
- Moebius: Empire Rising
: A quite recent (2014) graphic adventure by the same author of Gabriel Knight. In the first chapter you go to Venice
. As far as it is possible for a game with painted fixed backgrounds, you have a coffee in San Marco square and perform investigations in a very characteristic alley with canal of the city. Since I personally consider Venice more as a metaphysical rather than a real city, I think that a similar evocative scenario should count, even if it does not actually exist; it truly cannot be anywhere else but there! :-) In the final chapter you go to an unheard-of Qatari fortress named "Qal'at Al-Sakhra Al-Athema", which looks very similar to that of al Zubarah, but is described as quite ancient.
- Atlantis 3: The New World
: Another graphic adventure, and a weird one. This might be controversial, I think. The game starts in Algeria, where the protagonist is looking for Egyptian ruins in the Ahaggar/Hoggar (explicitly cited). There are very curious rock formations (this
is a gameplay of the first minutes) which could be those of the Tassili n'Ajjer
. Now, I don't know if this is just a confusion of names (Berber vs. Arabic vs. transliterated spellings) and/or of similar places... later you also have puzzles dealing with cave art.
And now for a different category, namely: the wonders
of Age of Empires! In this strategy game set in different historical eras, every civilization has buildings belonging to a given "cultural set" (central European, Middle-Eastern, etc.), but each has one unique building which should represent their peak, and which stands out from all other: the wonder! Unsurprisingly, many are WHSs. I think that their status in the game is so special and their models enough detailed to warrant them a place in this connection... why not? And in few other games you can experience the heartbreaking event of destroying a WHS (it always makes me uneasy). Here they go:
* Age of Empire 1:
- A ziggurat of Ur
for Babylonians, Persians and Hittites;
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
for Egyptians, Assirians, Sumerians (why);
- The Temple of Heaven
for Yamato, Shang, Choson;
- An integer Colosseum (so, historic centre of Rome
) for Romans, Carthaginians, Palmyrians, Macedonians.
* Age of Empires II:
- Britons: they had the Aachen cathedral
for whatever reason before the definitive edition of the game came out (now it's Chichester's)
- Byzantines: Hagia Sophia (so, historical areas of Istanbul
- Chinese: Temple of Heaven
- Franks: St. Vitus cathedral in Prague
(I don't understand it fully)
- Goths: Mausoleum of Theoderic I (so, Ravenna
- Japanese: Tōdai-ji in Nara
- Saracens: Great Mosque of Samarra
- Turks (Ottomans): Selimiye Mosque
- Huns: the arc of Constantine in Rome (so another appearance for the historic centre of Rome
). It's represented in ruins, so it's rather updated!
- Mayans: Great Jaguar Temple in Tikal
- Incas: Sun Temple of Macchu Picchu
- Indians: Bridahisvara
- Slavs: Church on Kiži Island
- Berbers: Hassan tower in Rabat
- Ethipians: Biete Amanuel rock-hewn church of Lalibela
- Malians: Great mosque of Djenné
- Portuguese: tower of Belém
- Burmese: Now, here I am not sure if the Shwezigon pagoda, or anything in the town of Nyaung-U, is included in the area of Bagan
- Khmer: Angkor Wat
- Tatars: the Ulugh Beg observatory in Samarkand
* Age of Mythology - here things verge on the imaginary, but there are still some real sites
- Greeks - Zeus: his own statue in Olympia
(no more existing); Poseidon: an integer theater of Dyonisus (included in the Akropolis
- Egyptians - Ra: Great Pyramid of Giza
(+1); Isis: the Great Sphynx of Gizah
(+1); Set: Hathor's temple at Abu Simbel
- Chinese - Fu Xi: Hall of Harmony in the Forbidden City
; Nü Wa: the Summer Palace
in Peking; Shennong: the Temple of Heaven
* Age of Empires 3
- Things are less clear here, "wonders" seem to be more generic (and limited to Asian civilizations). But of course we have the Temple of Heaven
In sum, the most recurrent represented WHSs are the eternal and immutable Temple of Heaven, followed by Gizah and Rome. But many other choices are much less trivial!
And this is really all I could think of! :-D