Five video game attractions (and their Toronto equivalents)

In the expansive world of video games, there’s always smaller tasks, mini-missions or interesting places to visit. Ask any Legend of Zelda player and they can tell you all about the scenic places they’ve taken Link. Video game developers put countless hours into designing the places you’re going to visit, and even the paths you’ll take to get there! Well, Summer is more or less here in Toronto, so instead of staying indoors collecting achievements and beating bosses, how about you experience that stuff “IRL”? Here are 5 things you do in video games that you can do out and about in Toronto this summer!

1) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Also, chickens.

Can you feel that? The cool breeze brushing up against your face as you sit on a boat gliding across the clear, blue waters? How refreshing, knowing the end destination will be a beautiful island covered in green grass and towering trees. It may be hot outside, but oh man will it be worth it! Wind Waker makes itself known for being a game comprised of… travelling across water, probably to mask loading times like in the Metroid: Prime series. And in that infinite sailing time, you’re sitting there wondering “how long till I reach my next dungeon”, or “Why is there so much water” or “What game will Nintendo rehash next to take our money?”

Though it is true that waiting for your next journey is exhilarating, but I’d much rather enjoy this in person. Here’s my suggestion:  Take a short boat ride to Centre Island! The events are almost so similar you wont even realize you’re standing miles away from your Wii U (or Gamecube)! If it helps, you can even cosplay as Link and ride that boat over to the island. Don’t worry about the stares; they’re just impressed with the amount of effort you’ve put in to looking like the hero. Once you get onto the island you’ve got some adventuring to do, buddy! Explore the island and you’ll uncover a theme park, petting zoo, a restaurant, and many things you’d probably never run into if you sat at home.

2) Counter-Strike

You must be a tactful one if you’re the one on top of the scoreboard with all of those headshots. That or you’ve spent way too many hours on the current map. Either way, it takes a lot of skill to become good at CS– There are hundreds of ongoing tournaments waiting to test your anti-terrorism know-hows and each one smelling just as worse as the other. I mean the tournaments, not the terrorists. If the adrenaline of clicking the left mouse button and mashing the ol’ WASD buttons isn’t enough for you, you might want to kick it up a notch and get involved in a game of airsoft! For those of you unfamiliar, airsoft is a man’s version of paintball; the guns are more realistic, the balls of paint are replaced with rubber pellets, and the pain is just a bit more painful.

At least now you’ll really be put to the test and see if you can survive a few rounds. Real pain, real game. Do you hide behind the tree, do you blindly turn that corner, or do you storm in the field ready to fire? You make the choice. But if you’re not ready for the mission, stick to paintball. Or Counter-Strike. Or just sit and cry.

3) Guitar Hero

You knew this was coming, after months and months of practice you finally get your friends to see you play the mightiest song you and your friends know. You pull out the guitar and click away at those 5 buttons, sweating, anticipating the next circle and waiting to tilt that guitar for your star power. But your friend accidentally hits the mute button on your television remote and you lose track of the song. You lose. Loser. Now step outside, buy an instrument, practice in your guitar, and become the next Nirvana. That’s how they did it, and that’s how you should too. Would you rather get 100% in front of 5 friends who have better things to do with their lives, or perform a mediocre song in front of hundreds of people? Tough choice. I find the thrill and motion of playing a real instrument far surpasses the movement of a cheap, plastic instrument that gets you nothing but another song unlocked

But hey, even if you’re not the type to play an instrument, you can at least enjoy one right? How about 5 instruments at once? Like in a band! New plan: how about you go outside, walk to the nearest bar or venue and see a band perform! You’ve probably played a few Weezer or Muse songs enough times to know you’d enjoy the music live, sing along and such. Go! Watch a performance and never play Guitar Hero again.

4) Pokémon Snap

Happy snapping!

It’s pretty safe to say Pokemon Snap is probably one of my favourite games from the creature-capsule franchise. It was an incredibly new concept driven by an overdose of familiar critters you’ve grown to love and tolerate. In it, you’re taking a friendly version of House of The Dead where, instead of shooting everything in your path, you take a photo of… everything in your path. In a way you’re still shooting something, just without the whole death part. But what happens when Pokemon don’t exist? Well then you’re stuck with the animals we see on television… or at the Zoo. Go to the Toronto Zoo, bring your camera and snap away at all they have to offer. You can probably throw at few apples at the cages and see what happens, but I’m not liable for any mishaps you may stir up. The zoo is a safe and fun you, your family, or your date can enjoy while living under the withdrawal of Pokemon Snap not being a real thing. Here’s a fun game you can play: You and a group of friends should head to the zoo, all armed with camera. Take a bunch of photos and then have an old guy rate your photos at the end of the day. The reward can be money or cookies or whatever currency you and your friends decide on.

5) Don’t Tap The White Tile

The latest mobile craze has you frantically tapping your fingers along a scrolling wall of black and white tiles, and the obvious objective is to avoid the white tiles. The game sounds easy on paper (on blog) but once you get a hold of the game, you’re in for a world of airsoft pain. It’s a highly addictive game that constantly pushes you to aim for that personal record. This is all fun when you’re sitting on the bus or waiting for your game of Counter-Strike to load, but if you’re sitting at the park tapping your fingers, I have a better suggestion for you. Are you ready for it?


Yep. Nothing like the good ol’ days drawing complicated squares in patters, numbering them, and then pretending the rest of the world is made of lava. Not only is the game limited to your imagination, but it’s also just so darn active! Forget the whole “I’m too old for this” motif. Chances are you just had a conversation with your friends about Pokemon or Zelda or something childish, so you might as well step outside and relive those moments. Maybe you and your friends can make a crazy-elaborate hopscotch path.

Or if you want to mix young and old- draw smaller squares, longer paths, and if they fall off the path they have to do a shot of… scotch.