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infamous

I'm afraid of heights.

It's not, like, an incapacitating terror. I love all the tallest rides at theme parks. I've done rock climbing and rappelling. I don't freak out if I'm on the roof of my parking garage or anything. My fear is probably no worse than that of any average person. But it's there.

And you know when I feel it the strongest? When I'm trying not to plummet to my death in a video game.

Yes, I know the games aren't real. After I get over the momentary panic and clutching of the controller, I invariably hurl my character off to see what happens. What usually happens is a swift and gruesome death. But that's not the point. The point is to watch the world you've been exploring below flying up to meet you. The sense of size and scale always impresses me.

So here are a few examples of the highest heights I've found, and what it's like to leap off of them:

 

inFamous junk tower

Infamous

Apparently electric superpowers also make you impervious to falling damage, because no matter how high Cole climbs, he always lands unharmed. The giant tower of junk found about halfway through the game is the best place to experience this. I had some serious vertigo while I was climbing the thing, but leaping off made it all worth it.


Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

It's possible — though difficult and time-consuming — to climb the ivy at the back of the Shrine of Worship and reach the secret garden from the game's ending, as well as the bridge from its beginning. Walking across the bridge takes about ten minutes. Jumping off takes…less than that.


Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge

It doesn't really matter where you fall in Faith's adventure, because every time you do you're treated to a blurry, terrifying smash to black (complete with a vicious thudding sound). I had never actually yelled in fright as I've fallen in a video game until I played Mirror's Edge. Play it in HD and you'll see what I mean.


Crackdown

Crackdown

I haven't played this one, but its free-falling exploits are legendary. You can even get an achievement called "Base Jumper" for making a truly death-defying leap, as seen here:

[embed:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_ZFYQp4u-s ]


Pilotwings

Pilotwings

The SNES's Mode 7 graphics made scaling and rotation possible. Deliberately ignoring your parachute in the skydiving event made death certain. (Well, sort of. Your instructor would just get mad at you. Maybe that's worse than death.)

Other famous free-fallers include the GTA games and the Just Cause series. Let's hear about the largest object you've hurled your virtual self off of in the comments.