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Why do Movies and Games Love Destroying Las Vegas?

Las Vegas – the City of Lights, the Entertainment Capital of the World, and Hollywood’s number one target for destruction. Indeed, the gambling haven in the middle of the Nevada desert has been destroyed numerous times in film over the years. Mars Attacks!, Con Air, and Godzilla have all depicted ruin and rubble in the famous city. It hasn’t stopped there either, and video games like Fallout: New Vegas have got in on the action and portrayed the demise of Sin City. Why is Vegas such a popular target for destruction? Is it down to it being one of the most famous locations in the world?

Las Vegas Destruction in Gaming

If you’re looking for a game set in a scary vision of Vegas hundreds of years from now, Fallout: New Vegas has to be your first point of call. The post-apocalyptic series is one of the most popular franchises in videogame history, and the fourth installment, which was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and released by Bethesda Entertainment in 2010 is considered by some fans to be the best. It takes place in the year 2281, in a world devastated by “The Great War” between the United States and China. The city known as Las Vegas has become New Vegas, and it is being ruled by a businessman known as Mr House and his army of Securitron robots. Although Vegas isn’t completely ruined in the game, it is painted in a completely different light to the city we know today. It’s dark, dingy, and terrifying – making for an excellent setting for a game like Fallout. While open-world adventures are much-loved by console players, some people prefer simpler arcade-style offerings. For iGaming players, Microgaming’s popular Lost Vegas slot game at Betway-Casino features a zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas, in which players can choose between playing as the survivors or as the zombies. This version of the famous city is on the humorous (but still destroyed) side, with the most common Vegas tribes appearing as zombies: Elvis impersonators, tourists and more. In more realistic terms, a pretty cool third-person shooter and racing game released in 2000 imagined a terrorist attack in Sin City. This was Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas developed by N-Space for PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. In the game, players had the opportunity to take on the terrorists as protagonist John McClane, while at the same time shooting up and destroying casinos and property in the gambling hotspot.

Carnage in Sin City in Film

However, Las Vegas has had even more of a raw deal in cinema than it has had in gaming. There have been countless films over the years that have seen various landmarks in the city torn to shreds and completely annihilated. One of the most memorable destructions of Vegas has to be in Tim Burton’s 1996 sci-fi spoof Mars Attacks! The film, which featured a stellar cast of A-listers including Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, and Michael J. Fox, brought in over $101.3 million domestically, and envisioned what it would be like if aliens came to Earth hell-bent on ending the human race – for fun. While a lot of carnage and hilarity ensued all over, the scene in the Nevada city will live long in the memory of viewers of the Warner Bros. film. The Martians lay waste to Vegas, firing at everyone and everything in sight. The city didn’t stand a chance. In 2014’s Godzilla from Gareth Edwards, Las Vegas was home to a fair amount of mayhem as well. The MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) emerged from a spore in Nevada and preceded to devastate all the buildings on the Strip. The huge beast simply trampled all over the casinos and hotels, instantly turning them to rubble. Another example is in Con Air, the 1997 action from director Simon West. In one of the final scenes, the plane carrying all the convicts crashlands on the Vegas strip, before Nicholas Cage sets off on an awesome chase to stop John Malkovich. It’s scenes like these that might make people slightly less inclined to visit the main strip in Vegas.

The list of films where the gambling capital of America has been destroyed goes on. Could there be a metaphorical reason as to why film and gaming writers love to tear Vegas down? Could it just be due to the exciting nature of the city which makes it stand out?

The reason why Las Vegas is such a prime target for destruction is probably because it is so recognisable. Most viewers or players from all over the world would know this famous location. Because it is well-known, it makes the destruction and carnage all the more real. If this was going on in a fictional place it would be harder for the audience to relate. It’s great to see Las Vegas in the mainstream so frequently, but let’s hope that it continues to be destroyed on our screens.

PaceVegas is the Publication of Everything About Las Vegas. Known for it's hard hitting exposes of crimes, the underworld and everything interesting about Vegas, it's won numerous awards from those who are scared to actually read the stories.

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