If Italy is on your travel bucket list, you don't have to wait to get a taste. No, we don't mean travel while the Covid pandemic is still ongoing.
For the moment, ignore the flight ticket, spurn the strolleys and shun the masks and sanitisers. The Director General of Civil Aviation or DGCA has any way extended the ban on international flights till August 31, 2021.
Instead, get a gaming console, strike up a friendship with Elio, the old lighthouse keeper, catch some sparks while a soprano hits the octave, and tour through Italy, the Land of Wonders.
The Italian ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) recently launched ITALY. Land of Wonders, a video game to promote tourism and bring Italian art, music and culture to the world.
Downloadable for free, it is available for iOS and Android, smartphone and tablet, via italiana.esteri.it
Elio is the old lighthouse keeper who, every morning, with the help of the 20 sparks he retrieved the night before from the 20 regions of Italy, lights up the sun that will shine bright over the country.
The game starts at sunset, Elio – a reference to Helios, the sun god of ancient Greek mythology – is looking for an assistant who can help him complete his arduous task.
He summons the mysterious character outside the lighthouse: the player, who is drawn into a night adventure around Italy to retrieve 20 sparks, light up the lighthouse and ensure the sun shines again.
During their journey, the players will meet 5 Guardians, who will help them to discover Nature, Cuisine, Art, Performance and Design, the 5 main sectors of the Italian cultural heritage.
At the end of the journey, a surprise awaits the players: they will take Elio’s place, symbolically becoming the new Lighthouse Keeper, with a mission to protect the country’s treasures.
First, however, they will need to pass no less than 100 puzzle game levels, each one featuring a 3D reconstruction of an iconic Italian landmark and discover, step by step, the coast and mountains, cities and castles, traditions and myths of the country.
From opera to baroque to famous movie soundtracks, the original scores in the video game are inspired by the great Italian classics.
With a collection of 600 articles, stories, news and fun facts, the video game also serves as a travel guide. The game is also an informative learning tool for schools that teach Italian as a foreign language.
Ireland: Earlier this year, Tourism Ireland tied up with Ubisoft (creators of Assassin's Creed Valhalla) to promote not only Ireland's landscapes and castles, but also its culture and folklore through its game Wrath of the Druids.
The game features a vividly re-created Ireland, with famous landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in County Antrim; the Hill of Tara in County Meath; the mountain of Ben Bulben in County Sligo; and the city of Dublin starring alongside the assassins.
Playing as Eivor, the fierce leader of a Viking clan, gamers must make their way through Ireland’s haunted forests and stunning backdrops while gaining influence among Gaelic kings.
Gamers also have the chance to conquer ringforts, circular fortified settlements designed to keep raiders out and animals in. More than 45,000 ringforts of which still survive in Ireland today.
The story takes place about 80 years after the first Viking raid on Ireland and four decades after the Vikings first settled Dublin. At the time of the Vikings, Dublin was a bustling trading port, and so the city, filled with enemies and allies, is a central hub in the game.
Catalonia: In 2018, Catalonia, a Spanish region with a historically rich past, launched Legends of Catalonia Land of Barcelona, a video game created specifically to promote a destination.
The video game features internationally renowned Catalan personalities: Carles Puyol, an acclaimed FC Barcelona football player; Edurne Pasaban, mountaineer, and famous restaurateurs the Roca brothers. And, the action takes place at iconic sights in Catalonia, such as Tarragona’s Roman amphitheatre, Lleida’s old cathedral, the mountain range of Montserrat, Dali’s Cadaques, Barcelona’s Sant Antoni market and the Sagrada Familia church.
The game lasts 50 minutes and is available in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.LegendsofCatalonia.com.
Ancient Greece: In 2019, Assassin Creed’s publisher introduced virtual tours about ancient Greece through the universe of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Available on YouTube, it is called Assassin's Creed: Discovery Tour, Ancient Greece.Good to know: