Aleteia

“Rome Reborn” simulates the ancient city for virtual tours

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Explore the marvels of Rome at the peak of the Empire’s might.

Video games have come a long way in recent years, as technological advances have allowed production companies to move away from pixelated graphics and simple, usually combat-oriented goals, toward beautiful landscapes full of educational content. A few years ago, the Assassin’s Creed series released a game set in Egypt, which featured a whole game mode where players could just wander the world and learn historical context for the various sights, while in another title their recreation of Notre-Dame was so accurate that it could be used as a reference for the Paris cathedral’s current reconstruction.

Now there’s a new title that offers a richly detailed, accurate recreation of the ancient city of Rome: Rome Reborn. It’s hard to qualify Rome Reborn as a video game, as there is no plot or way to “win,” but gamers will feel right at home within the simulation, made with care to reproduce the famed city at the peak of the Roman Empire in 320 AD.

Open Culture notes that this time setting was very significant for the Romans, as it was “when Rome’s population had reached its peak (about one million) and the first Christian churches were being built.”

Rome Reborn started in 2007 as a simple 3D model of the ancient city, but has since grown to include a complete tour of the ancient city with educational references. The program will also feature a “sandbox mode,” which means that players are free to roam about Rome on their own, but this feature is still in development. Players stay at street level, or they can take advantage of the “flight” mode, which allows for an overhead view of the city.

The simulated environment of Rome Reborn includes faithful reconstructions of many of the most famous ancient Roman locations, including the Roman Forum, the Colosseum District, the Basilica of Maxentius, the Pantheon, the Imperial Fora, and the Imperial Palace.

The website explains that Rome Reborn is intended as an educational tool:

If you are planning to visit Rome, you can use Rome Reborn to prepare by taking our virtual tours so that your visit to the city is more rewarding and meaningful. If you have been to Rome, you can use our products to deepen or to refresh your knowledge. Students and teachers of Ancient History, Classical Studies, and Roman Civilization will also find Rome Reborn an exciting new learning resource.

Rome Reborn is best explored through a VR headset, but downloads for PC and Apple products are available as well. Visit the Rome Reborn website for more information.