Appraisals of Gaming Real Estate THE Tech Scoop May 15, 2012 Video Games A Bit of Background… I take a look at some of the most iconic examples of gaming real estate, and try to estimate how much they’d fetch on the market – before they were destroyed by rampaging bands of heroes… Virtual environments can shape your gaming experience. Truly stunning or iconic buildings from computer games can stay with you for years, remaining recognisable for decades. But how much do they cost? My colleagues said I had lost my grip on reality when I asked this question. In answer, I simply adjusted my spectacles, wiped some of the remaining yoghurt from my chest, re-caged my attack-ferrets, and got to ‘work’. The result of this ‘work’ sits before you now, an honest and accurate appraisal of some of the hottest pieces of gaming property to have ever existed. Enjoy this fun take on video game real estate! Scholomance –World Of Warcraft Converted schoolhouses are hot property these days, and this lakeside property is no exception to that rule. The steady stream of visitors to this unique residence peaked some time ago, but there are still a fair number of people who drop by to check it out. Oddly, though, despite the apparent interest, there has still been no sale. Image by dyashman The building is enormous, with a number of rooms for entertaining, dining, or just kicking back with an ancient grimoire on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Its distance from the nearest city, the troubled city of Stratholme, combined with its proximity to satanic magic and liches, make this a tough property to seal any deal on. Fixing the place up with some Sedlec-style chandeliers and sorting out the persistent problems with damp, mould, and the living dead would certainly go some way to lifting the value of this property to where it belongs, but at present I couldn’t see it fetching more than £325,000, as it is one hell of a restoration project. Unfortunately, the current owners don’t seem that interested in selling. They’re more the “world domination” types. Looks like no-one will be collecting those juicy estate agent fees for a while yet… End of Level Castle – Mario A classic red-brick in a Victorian ‘folly’ style, this detached house is in a desirable rural area with spectacular views of rolling hills, and good access to local services (especially plumbers). Image by Casey Fleser Sadly, access is only from one direction, and getting back to the property from town at peak times can be an absolute nightmare. It’s also a comparatively small building, next to the larger and more foreboding properties nearby, and there are an awful lot of similar buildings standing empty and bringing down property values. Ownership is hotly contested, and the property changes hands frequently between local business concerns. This is a fairly desirable residence, but I wouldn’t think about paying more than about £230,000 for it. Consult your local planning office for more information on building restrictions. The Hive – Starcraft The Hive is the main structure of the Zerg forces in Starcraft, a race of aggressive insect-like aliens with a strictly hierarchical structure. They are not particularly neighbourly, and may attempt to infect or assimilate you. Kerrigan, Queen of the Zerg, by Glenn Batuyong Due to the extreme difficulty involved in getting close enough to properly appraise the Hive, we only know a few things to help determine its value. Firstly, it uses state-of-the-art and extremely sustainable bio-technology for the majority of its processes, making it incredibly environmentally friendly. Secondly, it boasts unparalleled levels of security, with a reported crime rate of exactly zero. It also features wonderful in-built temperature regulators, leaving guests feeling warm and safe, if a little sticky. I would value this property at about £500,000 for the eco-conscious, but it might not be the right property for you if you have hobbies such as breathing or feeling emotions other than a bottomless lust for domination. The City 17 Citadel – Half Life 2 This particularly arresting (ha) property can offer enormous grounds, startling original artworks-cum-power-supplies, and comes with a full body of staff attached. Image by Adam Messinger Deep in the heart of down-town City 17, the Citadel is handy for local transport and plotting unspeakable acts of degradation and enslavement. It also has an entire room devoted to the storage of hats, to which ordinary personnel are not allowed. There may be issues with the local council over the unorthodox methods with which this building was constructed, with limited if any planning application sought, but the on-site staff should be able to deal with all queries and complaints in a most satisfactory manner. The main factor in judging this high-tech building’s price is its enormous height. At roughly 2.5 kilometres tall, extrapolating from the prices of other skyscrapers, I would not accept less than £900 million, making this well beyond the budget of the average taciturn renegade scientist. Other Iconic Buildings I know I missed out a fair share of iconic buildings from this list, for brevity’s sake. Some of the buildings in Bioshock’s “Rapture” are well worth a look, if you’re interested in underseas investment, while Arkham Asylum, as featured in recent Batman games, looks set to be repurposed any day now due to the incompetence of its current owners. Ultimately, though, I feel that many of these properties are far too volatile for you to simply go and sell house online in an attempt to move into one of these places. Problems such as subsidence and small but plucky bands of mismatched rag-tag heroes are too frequently under-reported to buyers, so be sure you get a look at the place and eradicate any rebel movements before moving in. If you could be sure of the destruction of your enemies, though, and I mean really sure, what gaming residence would you buy? Please tell me in the comments! About the author: James Duval is an IT specialist and expert in all things techy who is addicted to his Xbox. Given the choice, he would rather spend his days roaring around the world on his motorbike seeing the greatest architecture the globe has to offer. He lives for the sound of a great guitar riff, and a well written blog.