When Iceland hosted the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, many gamers’ eyes quickly turned toward the island nation. However, The Land of Fire and Ice has had a massive gaming culture long before 2021.
Nowadays, some big games are in development by Icelandic companies and events are in the works to be hosted here. One thing’s for certain - there’s much more to come.
A large percentage of Icelanders play video games regularly, according to a Gallup poll. Therefore, it makes sense that there are so many game developers in the country. Of course, they also have the Icelandic landscape and fascinating Nordic history to inspire them.
Let’s take a look at games created in or set in Iceland, as well as upcoming events to attend. Once you’ve played the games inspired by the country, you’ll probably want to explore the locations yourself.
Book your rental with Reykjavik Cars to have your own Iceland adventure. Now, without further ado, here’s our guide to video games in Iceland.
Riot Games in Iceland: The World of E-Sports
Competitive gaming has become an officially recognized and extremely popular sport over the last decade. It attracts millions of fans who want to watch the matches via live stream or, prior to COVID-19, in person.
Now that restrictions are relaxing, plans have resumed filling stadiums again, with many fans eager to see the world’s best players compete live.
As mentioned above, Riot Games’ League of Legends chose to host their World Championship in Reykjavík in October 2021. It was originally planned to take place in China, but the location switched just two months before.
This was to make sure that all the competing teams could travel to the finals’ location. Despite having no crowds, the event was a big success.
While ‘LoL’ Worlds 2022 will likely take place in North America as planned, other games’ events are coming to Iceland. Set your calendar for the following:
- The Valorant Champions Tour, another of Riot Games’ creations, will take place in Reykjavík from 10th-24th April. Unfortunately, the event will not allow a live audience as things stand, but the matches will no doubt be live-streamed. One reason Iceland is such a great location is its time zone, catering to both western and eastern audiences.
- The EVE Fanfest will be held in Reykjavík from 5th-8th May 2022, in the Laugardalshöll Sport Center. You can attend the event and tickets are available for purchase here.
The Fanfest will include presentations, pub crawls, parties, tournaments, and more.
- The Midgard Fan Convention, also taking place at Laugardalshöll, is set for September 2022. The event covers video games, but also board games, RPGs, cosplay, comics, and various other forms of art. There is a Viking theme with activities and local craftspeople showcasing Iceland’s unique cultural heritage.
Video Games Created in Iceland
- EVE Online/EVE: Valkyrie. Yes, the above-mentioned game was developed in Iceland! Created by Reykjavík-based company CCP, EVE Online is an open-world online multiplayer set in space. First released in 2003, it now has many millions of players who can explore thousands of star systems.
EVE: Valkyrie is set in the EVE Online universe, but is a shooting game played on a virtual reality headset. Released in 2016, the player can choose between a single-player mode and 8vs8 real player missions.
- Everest VR. This game involves no gameplay. Instead, it allows players to virtually ascend to the summit of Mount Everest. The interactive experience lasts for around 2 hours and includes narration. It was created by virtual reality developers Solfar in partnership with Reykjavík Visual Effects.
- Starborne: Sovereign Space. Another massive multiplayer game set in the vast ocean of space, the goal in Starborne is to conquer the galaxy. It’s set several hundred years in the future, when humanity has mastered interstellar travel. Created by Icelandic developers Solid Clouds, the game released in April 2020.
- Echoes of the End (in development). This action-adventure fantasy game is currently in the works by Reykjavík-based Myrkur Games. They haven’t revealed much about the story or gameplay yet, except that the protagonist is called Ryn. Her powers include the ability to destroy matter; she’s sure to have a fascinating story.
Keep an eye on their web for more information about the game. Hopefully, we’ll hear about a potential release date soon.
Video Games Set in Iceland
- Call of Duty. series contains hundreds of maps with a massive variety of settings. Three of the games—Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III and Black Ops IIII—include maps based on Iceland. You can do battle in the highlands, fight over volcanoes, and navigate ice caves all while enemies hunt you.
The Activision team did a good job of showcasing Iceland’s landscapes, with its rugged geology. After playing these maps, see if you can find locations that resemble them.
- Hellblade: Senua’s Saga. This unreleased sequel to the highly successful Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice takes place in Iceland. The first game followed Senua as she journeyed into the Norse realm of the
In Senua’s Sacrifice, Senua struggles with psychosis, demonstrated by constant whispering voices in the background. The developers brought in neuroscientists and mental health experts to make sure the representation was accurate. Needless to say, prepare to be fascinated and disturbed.
It’s not yet clear when Senua’s Saga will be released; perhaps late 2022 or early 2023. The first game, although not set in Iceland, heavily featured Nordic and Viking themes. The sequel is expected to continue in this way.
Video Games Stores in Iceland
So, now you’re asking where you can find video games in Iceland? Well, since so many popular games are now online or downloadable, you’ll find them anywhere with an internet connection. But what if you want to go old school and purchase a physical copy?
The best place for new games on consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo would be Elko electronics shops. This chain sells all kinds of devices, from headphones to televisions to household appliances and more.
They also sell gaming consoles and the gaming titles that accompany them. There are two big branches in the capital, and both are easy to find.
If you’re looking for something more retro, check out Spilavinir store in Reykjavík. They sell a wide range of old and new board and card games, as well as jigsaw puzzles. If you’re here at the right time, feel free to attend one of their bi-weekly game nights.
Another shop selling a variety of games is Nexus, which has two branches. Here you can find cosplay costumes, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, tabletop games, and classic and modern board games.
Nexus also hosts game nights, movie nights, and much more. If you’re looking for like-minded people to discuss gaming with, you’ll find them here.
Iceland gaming industry
The gaming industry and its titles, developers, and players are constantly growing throughout Iceland. Despite having such a small population, this island nation is making its mark on the gaming world. You’ll be hearing a lot more in the future about big international events choosing to host here.
The games that are developed or set in Iceland wouldn’t be what they are without the country’s incredible natural beauty. Once you’ve tasted this picturesque scenery in the virtual world, you’ll have an inkling to see it for yourself. Visit Iceland and maybe you’ll come up with an idea for the next big game!