Google Maps 8-bit tour of the world

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With Google's 8-bit conversion of Google Maps, even world monuments and icons have been given the pixel make over. Here are just some of the ones which we spotted throughout the world.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

If you click on the pictures, you'll be able to view all of them as a slideshow. If you happen to find more monuments, do share with us in the comments below! Just updated with more sites with more to come!
See the original announcement, along with link to 8-bit Google Maps in the first article here: http://www.bulsuk.com/2012/04/google-maps-goes-8-bit-with-family.html
Japan

Mount Fuji


Naturally, something as iconic as Mount Fuji gets its own icon.


Once zoomed in, you can see an enemy from Dragon Quest. They say there are lots of ghosts and spirits in the forest surrounding Mount Fuji...
Tokyo


See if you can spot the blue Slime in Tokyo. Hint: it's near the Yamanote line. Looks like it's located at the actual offices of Square-Enix.


There's the Asakusa temple with an 8-bit version of the massive lanterns hung there, as well as the new and upcoming Tokyo Sky tree, designed to replace Tokyo Tower.


And there's Tokyo Tower in full pixels, along with the Yamanote Line and the Grand Hyatt Tokyo - a movie star in its own right.

Kyoto


You can see the Yoshida Shrine, as well as the hill with the big "Dai" burned on it once a year.


The gold temple, or Ginkaku-ji, has its own sprite.


Kyoto Tower, located just beside the new JR Kyoto train station.




The Byodoin temple, featured on the back of the 10 yen coin, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site as a historic monument of Kyoto. It's been around since 998.


Osaka


Osaka Castle surrounded by cherry blossoms and it's mandatory moat.



The Tower of the Sun is located in the middle of Banpaku-koen, or Osaka World Expo Park which was built to host the 1970 World Expo. Now it's become a park.

China
Beijing


The Forbidden City. Just imagine you might find a 16-pixel emperor running through here.



While it doesn't quite capture the size of the Great Wall of China, it's still pretty big relatively speaking in the world of 8-bit RPGs.

Brazil
Rio de Janeiro


Christ the Redeemer on top of a hill. Unfortunately, Famicom graphics don't do hills very well.

Egypt


The Pyramids and Sphinx, apparently the source of a secret artifact that your hero needs to go in search of.

Hong Kong


Ocean Park, a theme park, has its own pandas, and they're suitably represented here.

England
London


Say hello to Buckingham Palace, equipped with rows of guards in red uniforms and tall beaver hats. 8-bit Big Ben and 8-bit Nelson's Column are also present.


In the business district on Canary Wharf, the ever present 1 Canada Square.


On the left it's the Tate Modern, on the right is the legendary and widely photographed Tower Bridge. Which also for some reasons, is often confused to be London Bridge.

Scotland
Loch Ness



Looks like Nessie's having a bath.

Russia
Moscow


You might wonder if you bumped into real life Tetris, with Red Square and the Kremelin on show. Careful - 8-bit bricks may start falling.

France
Paris


Bonjour to Arc de Trimomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the glass pyramids at the Louvre, featured heavily as part of the conspiracy in the Da Vinci Code.

Italy
Pisa


The world iconic, but overrated 8-bit Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's still leaning in full pixelated glory.

Rome


I wonder if you were to go to street view, whether you would also see pixel lions and gladiators having a fight at the Colosseum.

USA
New York


Lady Liberty's still standing. They even coloured the flame for the Statue of Liberty.


Why isn't there a small pixelated King Kong climbing the Empire State Building?

The Googleplex


Ooooooooooo....

San Francisco



Although our friends seem to have missed the Golden Gate Bridge, it looks like they didn't miss Alcatraz.

.

And they also included the KGO tower in place of the iconic bridge. Strange.

Washington DC


The White House and Washington Memorial. One can't help but wonder if a small 8-bit version of Obama is inside somewhere.


Say hello to the Martin Luthor King memorial

Los Angeles


Hollywood: the sign that you've either made it or haven't.

Seattle


Space Needle on the left, Asian Museum of Art on the right.

South Dakota


All the guys on Mount Rushmore still look pretty good, even if they are now just pixels. May there's a secret switch to open a secret cave, where the hero can discover a sword needed to defeat the Big Boss?

Boston



Looks like the geniuses at MIT are there, along with the John Hancock Tower and to the right, Faneuil Hall Market Place (?)

St. Louis


The Gateway Arch. Might it be a portal to another dimension? Only our hero will know how to activate it.

Australia
Sydney


With the 8-bit Sydney Opera House in the background, you could almost hear a Final Fantasy heroine singing opera...

Northern Territory



Ayer's Rock (Uluru) is sitting there to be discovered.

Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur


The Petronas Towers, as seen in the movie "Entrapment".

Greece
Athens


Only true power will be bestowed upon those who walk the 8-bit hallways of the Akropolis.

India
Agra


The ironic Taj Mahal is right where it's supposed to be

Dubai


Dubai and one of the world's tallest buildings. Tom Cruise almost fell off this one in Mission Impossible 4.



The Burg Al Arab, home to the so-called world's first (and only) seven star hotel.

Peru



The Nacza lines.

Yemen



Is Mario about the make an appearance? There are a series of question mark boxes in the middle of Yemen.

Area 51


Enough said.

*  *  *

Apparently, there are also many more Dragon Quest characters scattered around the world, including a Dragon Lord in the middle of the planet.

Did you guys spot anything else? Let me know in the comments!

Updated: 2 April 2012 - added more locations in the USA, Dubai and other countries

Also, you may want to check this out:

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17 comments »

  • jwashed said:  

    i started a flickr album with all of them- i have to upload a lot more.. there are a lot of cool places to find

    http://flic.kr/s/aHsjyMkHjJ

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    Excellent! Hopefully we'll find them all!

  • Anonymous said:  

    MIT has an icon, and the Google Boston office does, too: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=mit&output=html

  • John P. Cloninger said:  

    Gateway Arch in St. Louis looks great.

    Not sure why it's there, but the KGO radio tower in San Francisco is on there too.

  • John P. Cloninger said:  

    I also haven't found evidence yet, but how cool would it be if they did the Great Wall of China.

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    Thank you for helping to spot those - I'll add them in a moment!

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    I also took a look at the Gateway Arch and it does look good. As for the KGO tower...it's Google/Square Enix, so who knows? Might be someone's hometown or an inside joke.

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    Hi John, the Great Wall was included but only the Badaling section. I've already included it in the screenshots above.

  • Dan H said:  

    Streetview is all VGA'd as well.

  • James Robertson said:  

    i found a lot more! now im trying to find all of the google locations as well as dragon quest characters

    http://goo.gl/CBiUu

  • Anonymous said:  

    Thanks! It's great!

    The statue near the Yoshida Shrine, Kyoto is in fact that of the legendary Prof Orita in the Kyoto University campus.
    It used to be there, but was removed after repeatedly decorated by someone as popular subculture characters.
    https://sites.google.com/site/freedomorita/rireki2
    Not every Japanese knows this, so I guess the author in Google is personally related to Kyoto University.

    And I found Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

  • Anonymous said:  

    More here:

    http://linearfix.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/gallery-of-popular-landmarks-showcased-in-8-bit-google-maps/

    Also, you've conspicuously omitted the Nazca Lines in Peru. It's one of the locations mentioned in the Google video ad, so... boo to you! April Fool!

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    Yes - quite amazing how far we've come since the days of VGA! I really enjoy looking it but wish Street View was also given the full pixelated treatment. Now THAT would have been interesting.

  • Karn Bulsuk said:  

    Haha, yes, it was missed somehow, but perhaps it's a conspiracy by the evil dark mages that seek to take over the world, again.

    Will include it - thanks for pointing it out to me!

  • Anonymous said:  

    There is also the Loch Ness monster:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loch+ness&hl=en&ll=57.333703,-4.421782&spn=0.006891,0.019934&sll=57.282,-4.455417&sspn=0.441648,1.275787&t=8&hnear=Loch+Ness&z=16

  • Anonymous said:  

    There are also some blocks with question marks at http://maps.google.com/maps?q=gulf+of+aden&hl=en&ll=12.778322,45.035362&spn=0.199218,0.318947&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=41.275297,81.650391&hnear=Gulf+of+Aden&t=8&z=12

  • Anonymous said:  

    its just a shame they left out a google 8 bit thing for Burningman since that was their FIRST doodle

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