We spend our lives in buildings every day. Our homes, offices, shopping malls, cathedrals, stations, bridges and even public toilets have all been designed. Video games mirror and magnify this built environment in different ways.
Some, like Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto and Forza Horizon recreate virtual versions of familiar places. Others, like The Witcher, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Eastshade, create their own cities and buildings. Then there are games like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Biomutant, Enslaved or The Last Of Us that drop you in a once-great but now ruined architecture.
Along with these pre-built spaces, there are also games that invite you to affect and rebuilt the architecture of a world. Games like Townscaper allow you to easily create series of buildings and consider how one structure relates to those around it -- like a street-scene generator. Then there are games like Animal Crossing, that offer a social context in which to apply your architectural and landscaping skills.
Then there are games that build spaces that would be impossible in real life. From the Escher-like Manifold Garden to the scale-confounding Superliminal, these games can play with perspective and movement to not only confuse the player but open new possibilities in perceiving buildings.
Finally, there are games with breathtaking architecture. Whether it's the atmospheric lighting of Control, the climbable buildings of the Uncharted series or Shadow of the Colossus vast cathedral-like structures, video games often create original spaces that stop you in your tracks.
The video games in this list create space to notice, reflect and try your hand at architecture. They are fun, but they are also important because the design of the spaces we spend time in have profound effects on how we feel, think and move.
This list includes 47 games from the last 25 years, with 1,084 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to learn how buildings are built.