Roamin’ in the Gloamin’

Every year around this time I like to take a sabbatical of entirely predictable proportions.  I get in the car, this year a one litre Nissan Micra, and head for the North West highlands of Scotland.  The journey is roughly 255 miles but due to the undulating roads, the time this trip can take can be anywhere from five to seven hours.  Being the sole driver I have no time for playing games unless they are of the, “I went to the shops and bought…” variety, but that doesn’t bother me one bit.  The drive is one of the best you can do in the UK, it takes in lochs, mountains, glens, open roads, heights, drops in fact everything that makes driving a joy.  Every year I wonder if it would be possible to somehow capture this beauty in a game and every year I can’t work out how it would be done.  Of course it is perfectly suited to a driving game but this is where tradition falls apart.

Test Drive Glencoe, just doesn't sound right.
Test Drive Glencoe, just doesn't sound right.

The drive and scenery of my epic journey are too good to waste on a racing game, you simply wouldn’t have the chance to take in the majesty of the surroundings.  You could of course have it as some kind of Scottish cycle race which may make the pace a bit more sedate but ultimately it would still be under racing conditions.  So my thoughts turned to a little known game that goes by a few different names, it is popularly known as Africa.  In it you were a photographer tasked with taking pictures of wild animals and receiving ratings and the like based on the quality of  your pictures.  This is the only way you could possibly do justice to the wonder of the highlands,but instead of taking pictures of the animals you would be taking pictures of the scenery.  You could get to choose what vehicle you want to hit the roads in, be it a car, bike, motorbike or maybe a horse and you would then set off along the roads looking for the perfect picture.  I’m starting to like the sound of this, I really could be on to a winner here, let’s roll with it a bit.

This is Plockton, home of Hamish MacBeth
This is Plockton, home of Hamish MacBeth

The Highlands of Scotland are vast with so many isolated places, it would be impossible to fully recreate them so the play area would need to be limited to the most spectacular scenery and roads.  All of the play area would be mapped by satellite to ensure it was accurate and more so to make sure that everything looked as it should.  Last week I drove up and down hills with 14% gradients, they would have to be captured in all their glory, a hard thing to recreate in a game.  The most important aspect would have to be that none of this game would be about rushing or racing, all of it would be taken at a leisurely pace, you could also have a stopping for a picnic mini game section to break up the driving.  Scattered around the landscapes would be “Sweet Spots”, certain areas where you can take the perfect picture gaining you extra points or whatever you play for.  As with games like Forza 2 and Gears of War 2, you could upload your in game pictures to a website to be viewed and compared by others and even rated.  Test Drive Unlimited was able to map a whole island, and did it rather well, so there is no reason why the same couldn’t be done with Scotland.

The beauty of Lochcarron.
The beauty of Lochcarron.

Okay, I know a great many of you will be thinking that this sounds like the most boring game ever, if you could even call it a game, and to be honest most of you would be right.  But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work or be popular.  Look at how the Wii has captured a whole new audience of non-gamers, people that would never have played a game if you paid them.  This could have the same effect for other consoles, a more sedate game encompassing an activity that many people adore taking part in, this could be the next step forward in a games market that is becoming a bit stale.  Fresh ideas are the things that keep technology moving forwards and give us something new for tomorrow; without them we would still be playing Pac-Man.  So start your engines, get your camera ready and take a drive with me to the lands of Highlanders and Bravehearts where the eagles are lords above. For the record, I took all the pics in this post.







4 responses to “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’”

  1. Emily avatar

    Scotland is mighty beautiful, I always imagined I’d be very content exploring an idyllic wilderness, collecting keys, opening doors and exploring new places. Even if there was no goal, no story, no weapons and no enemies, if I felt immersed in a stunning landscape I think I’d love it.

  2. ZeroMark avatar

    Why not mix Wii sports resort with the Highland games? 😀 It really is a beautiful place to travel.

  3. Michael avatar

    Being in places like that makes me quite happy, I suppose, so I’d probably pre-order this game months in advance if it existed. 🙂

    Oh, and horse FTW! 😀

  4. razgate avatar

    Ok then! Pokémon Snap: Highland Adventure
    I’ll buy that.

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