Chicago on the Really Tiny Screen

Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed

We’ve seen Chicago blown up on the big screen in Transformers, Batman, and The Blues Brothers.

We’ve seen Chicago serialized in Mike and Molly, Early Edition, and Good Times.

But this is the first time I can remember Chicago being used as a race track in a video game.

Electronic Arts has a game out called Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed, which has race tracks in all of the usual places like the Middle East, and Rio de Janiero.  But it also has a route through the Chicago Loop.

I played the iPhone version, and the game starts out on a simplified version of the Clark Street Bridge and has you racing through the city, both on the surface streets and through Lower Wacker Drive.  

While it’s not geographically correct, the game captures a surprising number of local landmarks including:

Granted, I’m not much of a video game person.  The last game system I bought was a PSP, which I got in Japan in 2004, and I haven’t really bought many games for it since.  But before that I was a video game madman, and the race tracks were always from the same group of locations: Tokyo, costal California, rural Arizona, rural Colorado, and San Francisco.  
A quick Google shows that the game Midtown Madness has a Chicago track, but it’s not very good.  Perhaps this will be the start of including Chicago’s epic skyline in more and more video games.  

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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