5 virtual vacations from video games

The weather outside is horrible, it’s dark and cold and miserable. You want to go somewhere to cheer yourself up, but you’re down to your last 27p until payday and will have to live on dry crackers for the rest of the month. What do you do?

Why, slap in a disc (or fire up Steam) and pretend! A few minutes in these lovely places will soon have you right as … um … rain.

5. Sadrith Mora, Morrowind

Balmora is filthy, Suran is sleazy, Vivec is snooty, and Ald’ruhn is under a perpetual cloud of ash. Sadrith Mora is just completely weird, and that’s what’s so great about it: you’re really going somewhere else. You even have to use a passport to get in, and there’s plenty of interesting things to do. Given an unlimited choice of places to go, who wouldn’t want to visit a trippy city made out of giant psychedelic mushrooms?

4. Anvil, Oblivion

The golden sands and crystal waters of Cyrodiil’s south-western paradise resemble the Greek islands. Start at the harbour and wander down past the lighthouse, following the coast away from civilisation westwards. Beautiful!

3. Teipoa Island, Guild Wars: Factions

The Asian-style architecture and stunning natural coastline make this area a pleasure to visit. The island itself is in the middle of the Haiju Lagoon on Shing Jea Island. It can be a dangerous place, since it may be home to the legendary Bog Beast of Bokku – but thankfully the Haiju Lagoon Water has magical healing properties, so like all great vacations you’ll leave feeling fully refreshed.

2. Virmire, Mass Effect

Calling it an “Earth-like planet” doesn’t do it justice: Virmire is a tropical paradise. Explore from the comfort of your space-buggy, The Mako (which, unfortunately, drives “like a fat man on a unicycle”, according to Yahtzee) while you appreciate the view of the beach. If you really take your time and travel slowly, you’ll feel beautifully replenished by the tranquility of such lovely surroundings.

Which is fortunate, really, because while you’re looking at that, Evil Bastard Robots will jump out and blast you to smithereens.

1. Mêlée Island, The Secret of Monkey Island

You might find all the adventure on Monkey Island itself, but Mêlée Island has shops and bars, a circus and even a swordfighting school. The weather is beautiful, the locals are friendly (well, the governer can be a little testy), and you can buy a drink there that will blow holes in your head. You can shop for souvenirs at the voodoo shop, or just kick back and enjoy the soothing music while you dream of treasure. Bliss!

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