This week, we at Culture of Gaming are hard at work putting together the list of Top 25 Best Platformers. Such a massive site-wide undertaking leaves one immersed in video games and their worlds. Which got me thinking, “which game world would I actually like to live in, if given the choice?” Then I think, “oh that would actually be horrible!” There exists plenty of worlds within video games where the danger outweighs the awesomeness of living there.

Just remember my usual warning that my list will differ from yours. And in the case of this list, you may actively feel defensive towards games that you love very much. Just because I wouldn’t live in these worlds, doesn’t mean they are bad games. In fact, it probably makes the games MORE entertaining. With that out of the way, let’s get started!


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mario terrifying world

5. Super Mario

Come visit the Mushroom Kingdom. Take a tour of the royal castle. Play golf and tennis with Mario, Luigi, and all your friends. Drive go karts and take in all the scenery.

First, don’t pay attention to the fact that the royal castle has horrible security and regularly gets invaded by giant turtle monsters. Never mind that haunted tennis rackets possess your soul. Don’t forget that these giant turtles — if you believe the Super Mario Bros. instruction book — can turn you into bricks which Mario proceeds to break apart with his fists.

Your answer to all of this may include that we follow Super Mario 3 logic that it’s all a play, and it’s not real. Great, now your whole life is a lie. Don’t even get me started on how exhausting it is to perform plays night after night. But in Super Mario, it never ends.


sonic terrifying world

4. Sonic The Hedgehog

Ah, Green Hill Zone. Such a beautiful place. Lots of cute, fuzzy animals. There’s a cool blue dude that’s always got your back. Everything will be ok.

Then you remember that there is a madman who regularly stuffs these animals into killer robots. He also constantly comes up with schemes that put the whole world and its ecosystem in danger.

And what do you think would happen if you happen to find yourself in a bonus area? If an ordinary human ends up on an endlessly running halfpipe, with rings and bombs, or a giant pinball machine, they would die. Heck, what do you think would happen if one of those fuzzy bunnies that Sonic rescues went in there?

We won’t even go into the fact that the human Princess of Soleanna perversely kissed a hedgehog. Eww.


kh terrifying world

3. Kingdom Hearts

What a dream! I get to spend time with my favorite Disney characters? We’ll probably become best friends. Sign me up!

If you want to know why you shouldn’t live in the world of Kingdom Hearts, look no further than the first location of the first game. First, there’s an island where kids often get left unsupervised. Then the darkness takes over.

Sora ends up in Traverse Town with a bunch of other Final Fantasy characters. Homeless. Because darkness engulfed their respective games. And YOU wouldn’t have your own gummy ship. Chances are good that you’d get engulfed in darkness like all the Final Fantasy characters we don’t see.

If you are “lucky” enough to survive, you’re stuck in a small town with no way to escape. What a nightmare.


zelda terrifying world

2. The Legend of Zelda

Have you ever wished to take things more slowly? Wind down with a slingshot shooting gallery or take a ride on a horse at the ranch. Go fishing if you like. Nothing could go wrong.

Oh, boy. Where do I start on this one? There are lots of different Hyrules in lots of different Zelda games, but one thing seems to remain. There’s only one hero, and everyone else gets relegated to a doll at the whim of the king of evil, Ganon.

In A Link to the Past, Ganon gets his wish on an all-powerful artifact. God help you if you end up in that dark world. In Link’s Awakening, you don’t even exist. You are a dream. Ocarina of Time sees you living under a ruler who only wishes to become all-powerful. In Breath of the Wild, everyone you know, who could possibly help, is long dead one hundred years ago.

And then there’s Majora’s Mask. Forget it! You go through the five stages of grief over and over in a time loop as the moon comes crashing to the planet over and over. I don’t know what hell I wouldn’t want to live in more. Except…


blue terrifying world

1. Pokémon

I can’t even pretend that living in the world of Pokémon wouldn’t be terrifying, every moment of every day. Imagine it. You wake up in your bed. You’re ten years old. Your mom wants you out of the house, so you travel the whole world on foot. Only occasionally do you rest on a bed. Even then it’s only for a nap.

That’s not even taking into consideration the danger that the Pokémon, themselves, pose. I’m not even talking about the lame crime families that occasionally put the world in danger to take it over. What about Growlithe that can set your whole house and body on fire if not careful? Think of a Snorlax that would eat you out of house and home. People using a Pikachu to give illegal electroshock therapy.

Then there is the most terrifying, most dreadful situation that Pokémon has to offer. Imagine walking outside to encounter a Machoke. A wild man animal that wears pants in the wild. You treat them like animals and they wear pants… in the wild… The Pokémon universe truly is the video game world that would be the most secretly terrifying.

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