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5 things you (probably) didn't know about video games and Vancouver

From Tony Hawk getting people to skate around Robson Square to the utter destruction of the city (in the future) by aliens, here are some fun video game facts.
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Clockwise from top left: Mass Effect 3 cut scene, Tony Hawk Underground, Need For Speed 2 demo and Counter-Strike.

The video game industry is a massive one in Metro Vancouver, and while the city isn't always front-and-centre when it comes to the industry, its impact can be spotted in lots of places.

Across Canada the industry is worth billions and employs thousands; in B.C. there's somewhere around 8,700 people are working in the industry.

Sometimes the city gets a shout out; recently Mario Kart made a Vancouver course for Mario Kart 8 with tons of references to Vancouver. There's also Tails Noir (originally called Backbone) which takes place in a film noir style with anthropomorphic characters.

So here are some other facts mixing the video game world and city of Vancouver.

1. Counter-Strike was developed by an SFU student

While attending Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Minh Le was not just learning about video games, but experimenting with them.

During his fourth year at the Metro Vancouver university Le began working on the original Counter-Strike, which was a mod for the popular game Half-Life.

Its gone on to be one of the biggest gaming franchises of all time with more than 35 million games sold.

2. The Need for Speed 2 demo track was made up of spots in and around Vancouver

The Need for Speed series is one of the longest running series, with the original coming out in 1994. It was developed by EA Canada, the massive company based in Burnaby.

When the second one came out, to advertise it demos of the game were sent out on CDs. It was a basic version of the game, with just one course (Pacific Spirit).

That one course took place around Vancouver, with chunks of different areas, including Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge and Terminal Street. Lots of Vancouver details can be spotted along the way, including the lions at the bridge, Highway 1 signs, Science World, and the SkyTrain.

YouTuber Tom Scott drove parts of it a few years ago.

3. Tony Hawk's Underground takes over Robson Square

Robson Square has been used for lots of things over the years, but it has never officially been a skatepark.

However, in Tony Hawk's Underground, released in 2003, the downtown square is an open course (with a few skater-friendly modifications).

4. Mass Effect 3 and Rampage 2 destroy Vancouver

Massive destruction happens a lot in video games, and so it's maybe not a surprise it's happened at least twice to Vancouver.

In Mass Effect 3 aliens first arrive in a futuristic version of Vancouver, which means the city's downtown (which looks quite different but still features the Canada Place sails) is absolutely destroyed in a cut scene.

For those looking to destroy Vancouver themselves, Rampage 2 offers that option, though it doesn't look a lot like Vancouver.

5. The VPL has 1,100 games

Most people think of the library as a place for book, and probably not a place for video games, but the Vancouver Public Library has a massive video game collection and lends out games all the time.

Currently it appears around 1,100 titles are in the collection with games varying from Paw Patrol World to Street Fighter 6 (those are two separate games, not a wild cross over).

More games are on order; Garden Life (a cozy simulator) is coming soon, but already has some holds in place.

With a file from Nelson Bennett