I never thought I’d see a day when Super Street Fighter II was actually a street name, but I guess some dreams do come true–at least on Game Map ($40), the latest print by illustrators at Dorothy, which builds a highly detailed city map from more than 500 video games.
Dorothy’s designers have achieved design-blog fame for taking city maps (sometimes real, sometimes invented), then mashing them up with pop culture. They’ve illustrated London through its novels, and they’ve created an imaginary utopia where the streets are song titles.
Their latest creation is Game Map, which offers an encyclopedia of classic video games, squeezed into a landscape loosely based on an area in Tokyo–which one they will not say. Game genres are broken down into districts. There’s an area for old beat ‘em ups, like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. Nintendo classics squeeze into an area called Super Mario Land, where you’ll cleverly find Yoshi’s Island sitting just off the pier.
Sometimes cramming all of these disparate games onto the same map takes some coaxing. For instance, the Killzone is filled with all sorts of haunted house “survival horror” games, like Silent Hill, Splatterhouse, and Haunted Castle. Reading between the lines, you can see that what’s probably the most successful survival horror franchises of them all–Resident Evil–isn’t there, because it doesn’t really work as a noun-based location. So instead, you’ll find the “Umbrella Corporation,” an allusion to what is more or less Resident Evil’s own Monsanto for zombies.
The real secret to appreciating Dorothy’s work is not to overthink it too much. Ultimately, Game Map is just a pretty homage to games, and a way for design snobs to hang a video game poster without too much judgement from their peers.