9 Pittsburgh Video Video games to Discover the Digital Metropolis | Artwork + leisure | Pittsburgh

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Approaching Pittsburgh on Organ Trail

Between the pandemic and the biting winter cold, the ability to wander around the city has been restricted. While some public places like restaurants and museums have limited open hours, free time for strolling or meandering in the open air without considering a specific destination is now being used with health precautions as well as Pittsburgh’s inclement winter weather in mind.

To remind yourself what it’s like to explore the city without such concerns, you can wait for the weather to improve and the pandemic to end, or you can get a taste of Pittsburgh in one of these nine games. Because these games vary in genre and association with Pittsburgh, they range from those directly comparable and recognizable as Pittsburgh to the most abstract and technical references, but all have the ability to quench the nostalgia for the streets of Pittsburgh.

1. The last of us

Chapter 5 of the 2013 post-apocalyptic action-adventure game by Naughty Dog is literally set in Pittsburgh. It includes the downtown freeway ramps and an unnamed bridge that resembles the Fort Pitt Bridge. The buildings and streets are overgrown with plants, and to wander the streets you have to move around abandoned cars, but it’s recognizable Pittsburgh. The city even retains its name in this post-apocalyptic world, which makes it the most direct reference to the Steel City and also gives Pittsburgh its own page on The Last of Us wiki.

2. Fallout 3: The Pitt

While Fallout 3 is set in the ruins of Washington, DC in 2277, the DLC “The Pitt” is set in the ruins of Pittsburgh. This game has a more literal map of Pittsburgh with recognizable landmarks like bridges, the Cathedral of Learning – called Haven in the game – and the dot, but the WWI nuclear explosions and the resulting “impact” give the environment a distinctly different appearance than the Pittsburgh at our doors. Nonetheless, this first person RPG offers the chance to tour the sights, including a graffiti green “Welcome to The Pitt” sign with the always recognizable “Visit PA” slogan on the bottom.

3. 4 dead on the left

After a zombie outbreak begins in Pennsylvania, the player must fight their way through Newburg and Fairfield, both of which are Pittsburgh-based. Fairfield is the location of the first No Mercy campaign based on Mercy Hospital and the Crash Court DLC campaign. Fans of the game have even recognized Pittsburgh’s Mercy Hospital as a reference, although unfortunately that led to an influx of low ratings related to the game. Newburg’s references to Pittsburgh are a bit vague and include an airport, river, and forest in the game’s geography that set the city apart from the five actual Newburgs in Pennsylvania.


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Inside of Snack Falcon at night in the forest

Inside of Snack Falcon at night in the forest

4. Counterstrike: Global Offensive

The HRG Aquarium at Valve Corporation and the 2012 multiplayer first person shooter from Hidden Path Entertainment are technically located in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge is visible even in the distance. However, HRG Aquarium’s floor plan and visual design are based on PPG Aquarium and offer the chance to roam the aquarium’s familiar, relaxing halls with the slight stress of other players shooting at you.

5. NBA Street V3

The 12 seats in EA Canada’s 2005 streetball game are based on real-world locations in the US – and one in England – and The Hawk is based on Garland Park in East Liberty. It’s not as extensive as the maps in games like Fallout 3 or The Last of Us, but it’s a calming, familiar slice of Pittsburgh’s life without the stress of being shot at or surviving post-apocalyptic conditions.

6. Organ track

Players visit Pittsburgh on their cross-country road trip in this zombie survival parody of the Oregon Trail. The city of Pittsburgh is called like The Last of Us, but aside from a bridge that looks like the South Tenth Street Bridge and a mall that might be the Ross Park Mall, there isn’t much to match the gaming environment with the real city connect. Still, it’s a fun opportunity to see Pittsburgh rendered in retro pixel art.

7. Sports League Games

The Madden NFL, NHL, and MLB series all fall into this category because they share the same Pittsburgh connection: you have the option to play as one of Pittsburgh’s national sports teams in a familiar stadium or arena. While some of the stadiums may be dated, it’s a chance to be in a Pittsburgh sports complex without the safety concerns of a cheering crowd during a pandemic.

8. Guild Wars 2

This fantasy MMORPG from ArenaNet technically belongs on the list. Yes, the setting is fantastic, with beasts to fight and terrain that doesn’t resemble Pittsburgh, but Skrittsburgh still pays homage to Pittsburgh’s East End, Homestead, Mount Washington – called Mount Gnashington in the game – and the Hill District as the tunnel of the City, in game geography.

9. Night in the woods

It might be a different track, but playing as Mae in the Rust Belt-inspired Possum Springs has a distinctly Pittsburgh feel to it. The 2017 story-based exploration game by game designer Alec Holowka and Pittsburgh-based animator Scott Benson features food markets such as Food Donkey, Ham Panther and Snack Falcon, reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s staple Giant Eagle. By walking around Possum Springs and overhearing your neighbors’ conversations, you can become a true neighbor the real Pittsburgh way too.

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