When it comes to capturing the spirit of Calgary, there’s no single answer. While the city has the nickname Cowtown and is located on a great expanse of prairie, Calgary is a massive metropolis that’s home to over 1.5 million residents. It’s got a little bit of everything, which makes it a fantastic place to live… if a bit hard to identify for out-of-towners.
So, what is the spirit of Calgary, and can it be defined easily? When it comes to the gaming industry, there are multiple titles that look to flesh out the Albertan capital. Some hit the mark square on the head, while others instead touch on one unique characteristic of the city.
Given Canada is home to some of the world’s most celebrated and most advanced gaming developers, Calgary has a bit of an edge when it comes to treatment from major companies—at least when it comes to ice hockey. Keep reading for some of the top video games that capture what it’s like to live in Calgary from a variety of perspectives.
Short & Exciting: Slot Games
In terms of online slots, there are dozens of titles that suit life in Canada and, in particular, the rugged wilderness accessible just beyond Calgary. For example, Bison Moon and Wild Link Frenzy both include depictions of rugged mountain streams and expansive prairies. The developers don’t give a particular geographic setting, but they both touch on elements of what it’s like to live in and around Cowtown. For those who prefer a more sporty look at slots, there are classics like Break Away Shootout, a hockey staple.
Hockey Adventures: NHL and NHL 2K
And speaking of taking a sport look, anyone who has lived in Calgary before knows that the Flames are a way of life. The NHL’s Calgary Flames franchise may be an expansion team from the early 1970s, but they’re an ingrained part of the culture—and you can play as the Flames in the NHL’s official video game counterparts.
The NHL 2K franchise was overseen by 2K Studios, the same company that oversees the NBA’s NBA 2K series. However, 2K Studios couldn’t compete with the concurrent NHL series from EA Sports. Today, EA Sports maintains the licensing to depict the Calgary Flames and their home arena. Best of all, the project is overseen by EA Vancouver, which makes it a fully Canadian project.
The Real Deal: Microsoft Flight Simulator
Anyone who has dreamed of piloting will be thrilled to learn that Microsoft has continued its Microsoft Flight Simulator series, which lets players learn to pilot factually simulated aircraft. And Calgary residents will be happy to hear that their city was chosen as part of MFS’s 2020 release. Players can cruise over the city, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the Calgary Tower and Saddledome. They can even touch down and take off from Calgary International Airport.
A Unique Take from the Arcade Era: The Rip Saber Experience
So far, we’ve covered some of the best modern projects that explore the Calgary lifestyle. However, there’s an early 1990s fighter game that takes a much less realistic look at life in the Albertan capital. The Capcom project Saturday Night Slam Masters includes one fighter from the city: Rip Saber.
Saber is one of fourteen characters that offer unique fighting skills in the secondary release of Ring of Destruction. Saber is a wrestler who draws on his experience in the military and his repertoire of dangerous weapons. Nicknamed ‘The Pioneer of Hell’, he’s one of the game’s biggest characters, having amassed a cult following for his strange moves.
Cowtown Staples: 8 to Glory
Beyond the city center, Calgary quickly turns into a suburban and then rural expanse. One of its biggest events each year is the rodeo Stampede. While not many people would consider entering a rodeo themselves, it’s a great option for a video game. This 2016 project from Unity and PBR (Professional Bull Riders) lets players step into the cowboy boots of their favorite riders.