What makes a great video game stay in the memory? While gameplay, graphics and plot all play their part, an often overlooked factor is the world the game takes place in. These virtual playgrounds are more than just a backdrop for the action; they are the foundation on which a game’s immersive qualities lie. 
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In the following gallery, we pay tribute to the best video game worlds in the history of the medium. Some are memorable for their intricate ecosystems and back-stories, while others broke new ground in visual realism. All share one thing in common: once you step inside them, they are not easily forgotten&#8230;
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<b>[Note: We have limited our list to original, fictional video game worlds. So no licensed properties (Star Wars, et al) or real-world locations.]</b>
 

What makes a great video game stay in the memory? While gameplay, graphics and plot all play their part, an often overlooked factor is the world the game takes place in. These virtual playgrounds are more than just a backdrop for the action; they are the foundation on which a game’s immersive qualities lie.

In the following gallery, we pay tribute to the best video game worlds in the history of the medium. Some are memorable for their intricate ecosystems and back-stories, while others broke new ground in visual realism. All share one thing in common: once you step inside them, they are not easily forgotten…

[Note: We have limited our list to original, fictional video game worlds. So no licensed properties (Star Wars, et al) or real-world locations.]

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The 20 most memorable video game worlds

In the following gallery, we pay tribute to the best video game worlds in the history of the medium. Our choices are based on intellectual appeal, graphical breakthroughs, immersive environments and complex design. (Words: Chris Jager)

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