Listmas 2022: Cary’s Great Gaming Escapes

No matter what life brings, we all need the occasional getaway. Time to refresh and regroup far away from the realities of life. For many, myself included, video games help conjure up similar feelings of escape and fantasy. They allow us to travel to new worlds and unfamiliar places, complete with sights and sounds so immersive it is like we are really there. Of course, real vacations are perfectly nice too, and better in many respects, but let’s be honest — games can be much cheaper and, sometimes, much safer options, though your mileage may vary. And speaking of mileage (haha), our third Listmas list of 2022 is all about dream vacations, and I wouldn’t mind gaining some miles from these great gaming escapes!

Hiking through the Phenandra Drifts in Metroid Prime
Alright, so maybe the Phenandra Drifts aren’t the most peaceful place in the galaxy…at first, anyway. When Samus happens upon this icy, snowy landscape, it’s teeming with all sorts of dangerous critters and contains several treacherous paths. But after eliminating most of the enemies, the region is not half-bad. Thanks to superbly dreamy theme song, once the placed is made quieter, it exudes a calm, quiet aura; one that almost has a “serene walk in the woods” feeling. Yes, making this escape happen would take a little work, but it’d be worth it in the end.

Touring the jungle depths of Havarl in Mass Effect: Andromeda
Although I’m okay with winter, I must admit that it’s slowly becoming my least favorite season as an adult. So, as much as a younger part of me wouldn’t mind trekking around snow-capped hills of the Phenandra Drifts, a larger, older part of me would prefer someplace much warmer, like Havarl, the ancestral home of the Angara in Mass Effect: Andromeda. At least, I think Havarl would be warmer, as it appears mostly like a rainforest. Sure, a blue and purple rainforest, but a tropical-ish place nonetheless. A place with lots of history, ruins, and places to explore. And hey, total bonus if my Angaran companion Jaal could be my tour guide – he was the best friend a space traveler could have.

Visiting the elven ruins of the Exalted Plains in Dragon Age: Inquisition
Speaking ruins, I’m all about them, so if my Havarl trip turned out to be a bust, the next best option would be to travel to the amazing Exalted Plains, a spot in Dragon Age: Inquisition that’s filled with intrigue and fortresses and more elven ruins than one could shake a stick at! The Exalted Plains are a vast landscape with a little of everything – flat plains, rocky hillscapes, canyons and valleys…oh, and did I mention the ruins? I’ll shut up about them, promise, but they are really what makes the place quite special.

Taking a cruise on The Great Sea in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
So, in a way, I guess I’m not shutting up about ruins yet, because they heavily dot The Great Sea in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and I would love to see them all! As sad as was the drowned fate of Hyrule Castle in that game, I adored sailing across its vast oceanic expanse with Link and his “pirate” crew, and I would love to do it all over again, only as a slower, more scenic cruise. I suppose that the cruise ship would have to be decked out with some weaponry, considering how many enemy ships also sail upon The Great Sea. But what a time that would be – one minute you’re relaxing with a fruity cocktail, and the next you’re off firing cannons. Huzzah!

Fishing on the shores of La Noscea in Final Fantasy XIV
After traveling across the three great lands of Ul’dah, Gridiania, and La Noscea in Final Fantasy XIV, my sense that the last might be the most popular, and I understand why. This seafaring region with its captial Limsa Lominsa is simply stunning! Not only are there so many different spots to explore, complete with varied landscapes and towns tucked away here and there, but it also possesses a very relaxed vibe. I’m guessing it must be the influx of sea air, but its residents are very friendly and inviting. True that Limsa Lominsa is an absolute hive of activity, but once you start traveling to La Noscea’s various islands, there’s plenty to see and do.

Lede image was taken by author during PS5 gameplay of Final Fantasy XIV [free trial] (© Square Enix).


  1. Solarayo says:

    Remember not to feed the Thardus when hiking through Phenandra Drifts! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Ha, no kidding. 😅 As much as I love this region in the game, I did not love Thardus. He was one tough cookie!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. WCRobinson says:

    Phenandra Drifts and The Great Sea are classics! The beautiful eeriness of seeing those snowy landscapes, and the rising musical score in The King of Red Lions.

    Also glad to see a mention for Dragon Age. Inquisition was full of areas you could really get lost exploring. 🙂


    1. cary says:

      For all its issues, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a great game for exploring. It’s only too bad there aren’t more secrets to find out in its vast expanses. But still, it’s great fun to get out and see its world!

      Liked by 1 person

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