A writer at EuroGamer had a neat idea for his father who doesn’t get video games which was to give his dad a tour of the city he grew up in. It’s a neat short story about how video games can recreate the past in an imperfect way, some things like landmarks were spot-on but the sound of some cars were off. You should read the tour of old Los Angeles in LA Noire.
I’ll never forget the moment we found it. Dad could just about remember the cross-streets – 6th and Flower – and I had a little trouble fiddling round in the game’s map to set a waypoint. Then we were off. On the drive, dad kept up a low-level muttering trail of recollections and fiercely specific critiques: the lamps on this bridge were right, but the large dumpsters in alleyways weren’t like anything he remembered seeing; a gas station’s Coke machine was just perfect, but little skirtings of exposed brickwork around the low walls of vacant lots ‘didn’t seem very Californian’; this was meant to be 1947? Why was that a 1950 Chevy, then? When we finally turned onto 6th, though, he suddenly stopped talking.
Like any son with a father in his late 60s, I assumed his sudden silence meant he was having a minor cardiac event. He wasn’t, however: he was simply back in the presence of a building he hadn’t seen in half a century.