Vicariously Living Through Nathan Drake

Up until recently, video game characters were principally avatars of fantasy worlds and imagination. This is all well and good and the most fundamental foundation for what makes video games so great. Then, the “Uncharted” game series came out and I was instantly attached to him and his world which is exactly like our own with a few liberties taken including the supernatural, physics, and bullet damage. At its most basic this game series is a tribute to, and extension of, the Indiana Jones and Mummy films and their universe (which, also, is just like ours barring a few tweaks to define them). As a child I loved these movies, and as an adult nothing as changed. Pulp adventures of outlandish proportions, impossible mysteries solved, epic battles with even more epic adversaries, the hero, his sidekick, and his woman. Tried and true formulas.

My mother is a travel agent, and since I was one year old our family has traveled numerous times to Australia, Europe and the Caribbean. After college I journeyed a bit by myself to Asia including Tokyo and Hong Kong. It’s in my blood and I have every intention of seeing as much as the world as I can. On top of this, I love learning about the history of where I visit; the older the better. I’m that guy who will read the blue and yellow signs next to roads in the U.S. that are historical markers. I’m very partial to the American Revolution and Feudal Japan (Tokugawa  through Meiji Eras). While games like Assassin’s Creed III/Liberation and the Tenchu series, respectively, are great for fueling my imagination with these interactive worlds that very much existed they are no longer around. This is where Uncharted holds a unique edge of being cast in the modern world, visting real countries, with very real or not-so-real locations (depending on whether you believe the stories passed down).

Each of the three main games (I never played “Golden Abyss” for the PS Vita) has Nathan Drake, a seemingly famous treasure hunter (he hates that term) in search of some mythological treasure, or location with treasure. His adventures have taken him and his partner Sully to (in order) El Dorado, Shambhala, and Iram of the Pillars. Reaching each of these places has takes a lot of sleuthing, reading Latin, finding clues all over the maps, and deciphering puzzles.

The beauty of these adventures is the graphical horsepower of the current generation of video game systems really brings these journeys to life. Goregous, sweeping views of the Amazon, Borneo, Tibet and Nepal, Syria, Yemen and, the Rub ‘al Khali. While I do not wish (or am unable to due ot civil war) to visit all of these places the rich detail and interaction with your characters in these worlds just makes my mind go wild with possibilities on where to travel next. To accentuate this fact I finally purchased a push-pin world map to chart my travels. We are going to try and do once international trip per year, each one being to a place I have never visited before. I can finally scratch Chichen It’za off my list of locations. but the list keeps growing:

  • Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • Shanghai (China)
  • England and Scotland
  • Romania (specifcally any place mentioned in the Castlevania series)
  • Pyramids (Egypt, if they ever become stable again)
  • Olmec and Aztec ruins (Mexico)

Just to add a nerd factor, certain locations I go to I will take a snapshot with my Nathan Drake costume. I pull it off fairly well and his outfit is very functional and not out-of-place. It’s going to be exciting.

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