As long as mankind has stood on dry land, we have looked up at the sky and wondered, "Shit, dude, how cool would floating islands be?" While science and technology continue to fail us day after day, videogames have come through to stoke our imaginations with images of our ultimate aspiration: to live among the clouds. In the spirit of that lofty ideal, here's our list of the greatest floating islands in video games.
8. Skyloft (Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
The only way living on a series of floating islands could ever be construed as a safe idea is if you don't actually know that solid ground exists beneath you. Luckily for Link, Zelda, and the other inhabitants of Skyloft, a life surrounded by nothing but a sea of clouds (and of course the ever-present threat of death by freefall) is all they've ever known. As a result, the people of Skyloft appear to be both prideful, brave, and severely ignorant. Possessing the Triforce of Courage doesn't really seem that impressive when one of the main hobbies for Skyloft youth appears to be jumping off cliffs and then hoping that one of the island's indigenous giant birds will break your fall. Eventually, Link makes his way to the surface world of Hyrule, but can travel back to Skyloft using the Skyward Sword at any time. We can only hope he uses this ability to help drastically reduce Skyloft's ultra-high mortality rate among wandering blind people.
7. Dalaran (WoW)
What's the best way to let people around you know that your city is not only magical but also dedicated to the study and preservation of the arcane arts? If you guessed "Make that shit float," then you're absolutely correct. Dalaran is essentially Azeroth's capital for magical endeavors. As the home of the powerful magus senate known as the Kirin Tor, it serves as both a safe haven for magic users as well as a powerful ally against both the forces of the Lich King and the Blue Dragonflight, a coalition of blue dragons who wanted to destroy all mortal magic-users.
Like a giant floating version of Texas, Dalaran taunts those who would oppose it and openly flaunts it's raw power and resources. Currently it can be seen floating above the Crystalsong Forest, but if a lifetime of videogames and television has taught us anything, we know it's only a matter of time before some terrible tragedy (ironically suited to the hubris of the citizens) drops it out of the sky. But who (besides the whole draconic anti-magic murdersquad and the endless army of savage undead) could possibly want that?
6. Asteroid M (X-Men Arcade)
Lair of X-Men villain Magneto, the ""Master of Magnet [sic],"":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjuWKAMAlQU Asteroid M is a big ol' hunk of rock floating around the earth in low geosynchronous orbit. Recognizing that the only thing more secure than an underground base is an underground base in space, Magneto opted to construct the expansive compound to house his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, though apparently leaving no room to house a PR team. While Asteroid M has appeared in a number of X-Men and miscellaneous Marvel Comics games, it's perhaps best known as being the setting of the final showdown in the X-Men arcade game. As the dreaded mutant overlord would say, ""Welcome to die!":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdAmkx8eAos"