The “nightclub level” – every game has one. Raw and ready Grand Theft Auto cartoonish series Psyconaughtseven the war of Call of Duty. It’s hard to avoid the classic trope of pushing your character across a smoky, debauched dance floor to hunt down rascals. Nightclubs are a great mechanic in the game world – requiring minimal character dressing and animation. Designers can get away with putting the player in a big, open space full of nooks and crannies to explore, and harsh, commanding bass can remove the need for spoken dialogue.
However, some nightclubs in games go the extra mile – with levels that will have you booting your controller out the window and hitting your local dance floor to grab the real deal. So immersive and fantastical that you’ll think about it long after completing your mission objectives.
Not limited by the real-world issues that affect our nightlife spaces – such as developers, lack of financial support, or, you know, physics – gaming nightclubs can be downright crazy, coming in the form of a huge airship in the sky, a bee-themed club frequented by cyborgs, or a specialty club for you to relive more great memories.
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The thing is, with nightclubs in games, they’re pretty bad sometimes. To the point where you wonder if the game developer has even been to a real nightclub, too bad. Instead, apparently basing their knowledge of what a dance floor should look like on this stage in The black Knight where Batman punches the Ministry of Sound bosses. For some reason, everyone seems to be sitting in a VIP area, motionless, bathed in aggressive strobes.
Not this group. We’ve compiled a selection of fictional nightlife spaces that have had us yearning for the dance floor – whether in lockdown or before we’ve even been to a club. The places we desperately wish were real, and some that eerily remind us of reality.