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No Communities Were Harmed
Fictional cities are often obvious stand-ins for Real Life
cities. They have a different name, different landmarks and a different population, but the look, conventions and society at large are the same. This gives the setting more flavor than just calling it City of Adventure
Where names or street numbers are obscured, or not obscured at all, but accurately based on real locations, Real Place Background
See also Hollywood Atlas
, Big Applesauce
and Fantasy Counterpart Culture
. Occasionally involves Istanbul Not Constantinople
. Contrast with City with No Name
, Where the Hell Is Springfield?
and Canada Does Not Exist
when the city's location is deliberately concealed or seems to contradict itself
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Anime series often have a version of Tokyo rebuilt or moved after some cataclysm; AKIRA and Neo-Tokyo, Bubblegum Crisis and Mega-Tokyo, Sailor Moon and Crystal Tokyo, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tokyo-3.
- MegaTokyo employs Lampshade Hanging on this, as there is a police division dedicated to rebuilding Tokyo after the numerous disasters.
- This prefix-Tokyo practice is parodied in the first Phoenix Wright game, where an in-game TV show, The Steel Samurai, is set in "Neo-Olde Tokyo".
- This is something of a Truth in Television, as in its modern history Tokyo was completely rebuilt no less than four times. The first time was in the 1870s, when it went from the seat of Bakufu to the imperial capital (and started being called Tokyo, for that matter), then it was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1923, after Great Kanto Earthquake, then again it was firebombed almost into oblivion in 1945 by the US, and in the early 1960s much of the city was remodeled in preparation to the Olympic Games, creating modern street plan in the central districts. They just didn't stick any fancy prefixes/suffixes on its name.
- In Excel Saga, the City of Adventure, F City in F Prefecture, is a thinly veiled stand-in for the real-life Fukuoka City in the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan. The original manga actually calls the city its proper name, and in the anime, the map of F City is that of Fukuoka.
- The Haruhi Suzumiya series is set in the author's hometown of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, with the serial numbers filed off: Kanji in actual place names (or their readings) are changed — the Uegahara Pirates of Kwansei Gakuin University become the Kamigahara Pirates, for instance — and the name of the actual town is never directly mentioned ("Kitaguchi Station" is Nishinomiya Kitaguchi Station, and "North High" is Nishinomiya-Kita High School). This is made especially blatant in the anime, where Kyoto Animation saw fit to recreate the actual locations in and around the city, including undisguised shots of passing Hankyu Railway trains, and the skylines of nearby Osaka and Kobe. Since Nishinomiya is located in the heart of the Kansai region it would run the risk of being stereotyped, but Kyo Ani's attention to detail actually gives it an "everytown" quality.
- What really takes the cake is a scene in the anime version of "Endless Eight", which shows a photorealistic establishing shot of the Kobe waterfront. Sure, they don't come out and say it, but they're getting really, really obvious.
- The unnamed towns in Kanon and AIR are exact copies of real towns (although Kami, home of AIR, has been absorbed into a larger city since the game's release). The train station in Kanon is based on Moniguchi station in Osaka.
- The city of Hikarizakanote in CLANNAD is also largely based on the Tokyo suburbs of Mizuho and Hamura, with a bit of Osaka thrown in. Try looking on Google Street View sometime.
- The town in Princess Tutu (called Golde Krone in text shown in the anime, but translated as Kinkan in the Japanese audio and Gold Crown in the English dub) is based heavily on the German town of Nördlingen. In fact, almost all of the locations in the anime can be found in the town itself.
- Hinamizawa, from Higurashi: When They Cry, is largely based off Shirakawa-go, Gifu... That is, exactly like. So much, that their local shrine wall was terrorized with Higurashi stuff, so they had to make a new wall for Higurashi things.
- Kamichu! is obviously set in the town of Onomichi, Hiroshima. The town's profile, with its shoreline and steep hills, is so recognizable that it's actually a bit baffling why the makers just didn't flat-out call it by name.
- Where does K-On! take place? The town's name never gets mentioned, but judging by the locales it's set in Kyoto; Shugakuin station is clearly recognizable, for instance. The high school is modeled after a renovated elementary school in Toyosato, Shiga, which is not too far from Kyoto either. Still, the makers try to convolute the issue by having the girls go on a Class Trip to Kyoto, where they are even seen passing Mount Fuji. Kyoto Animation, you're not fooling anybody!
- Sketchbook takes place in Shime, a small town near the Japanese city of Fukuoka, as evidenced by the old coal mine winding tower that appears in the background every now and then.
- The original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman has Amegapolis, a stand-in for New York City. Then one of the sequel series has (seriously) New Jork.
- The settings of the Pokémon movies are based off of real locations: Altomare is Venice, Forina is Wulingyuan, Larousse City is Vancouver, Cameran Palace is Neuschwanstein Castle, Samaya is Rome, Alamos Town is Barcelona, and Michina is Athens.
- Although it seems to combine elements of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, and some fans believe it's in Hawaii, Word of God says that "Port Mery" in Kaleido Star is actually L.A.
- The Flowercrest department store in planetarian is based on the (defunct) Matsubishi department store in Hamamatsu, a town in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture. The game also extensively uses other locales and sights from that town.
- While Ikoku Meiro no Croisée has a rather faithful depiction of late-19th century Paris, Galerie Du Roy appears to be based on Galerie Du Roi in Brussels.
- Mobile Suit Gundam had the Zeon occupation headquartered out of "New Yark"(sic), which looked nothing like New York City. The manga adaptation averts this, by explicitly putting the Zeons in Los Angeles, HQ'd out of Los Angeles City hall.
- Distinctly averted by the OVA Gunsmith Cats which does its darnedest to match up with real Chicago landmarks. Locals claim to be able to actually trace the climactic car chase in Episode 2.
- Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine has all of the names of real countries and places replaced with barely disguised substitutes (e.g. Astria for Austria, Yamerica for America, and so on). It's odd, considering that previous incarnations of the Lupin III franchise have had no issues with freely using real locations.
- The Heart Catch Pretty Cure Movie is set majorly in Paris, France. This was evidenced from its producers where they went to Paris for the location setting and inspiration.
- People will think the village of Sylvania in Sylvanian Families is actually fictional. Thought Word of God states the village is more of inspired from the 1970's Britain.
Comics — Books
- There is dispute over which is The DCU's New York City — Metropolis or Gotham City. Both are named after NY nicknames. Frank Miller said that Metropolis is NYC in the daytime, and Gotham is NYC at night; Denny O'Neil said that Metropolis is New York above 14th Street, and that Gotham City is New York below 14th Street. The DCU also has an actual New York City, although it is reportedly a much smaller, less (ahem) metropolitan burg than its real-world counterpart (and, for that matter, than Metropolis and Gotham, leading to its nickname "the Cinderella City" in Seven Soldiers of Victory). Right now, the Justice Society of America forms much of NYC's superhero community, and the city was the target area for the Anti-Monitor's bid to destroy the Multiverse (again) during the Sinestro Corps War arc.
- In the sourcebook for the Mayfair Games' DC Heroes RPG, Metropolis is set in Delaware and Gotham City in New Jersey. For a while, that sourcebook was treated as official canon, and today, a comic page will occasionally include a peak at a map showing Gotham City clearly located in what would be New Jersey — but with no actual state names visible.
- The same sourcebook gives the Metropolis area code as 123. It also says that Gotham was originally a Swedish colony, obviously a reference to New York once being Dutch.
- Actually, at one point, completely separate from the Dutch colonization of New York, what we now know as Delaware was called Nya Sverige, and was a Swedish colony. If Gotham is in Delaware, this makes perfect sense.
- The 1985 Game Master's Manual has a map of Gotham City which is clearly based on the real-life geography of Providence, Rhode Island.
- In the novelization of Batman Begins, the author felt it was necessary for Bruce Wayne to take a trip to New York, (in order to get research on Ra's) just to give him a chance to point out that Gotham is not New York, and to compare and contrast the two.
- The DCU is filled with these. Among others, Coast City, Bludhaven, Central City, Star City, Fawcett City, Keystone City, Vanity, Midway City, Gateway City, and Dos Rios. Originally, the Marvel Universe was thought of as extremely original for using New York itself.
- While The Dark Knight is clearly filmed in Chicago, it is implied that Gotham City is an island, much like New York. This is somewhat surreal, especially when the bridges over the Chicago River are implied to connect the island to the mainland. Pittsburgh, the primary shooting location for The Dark Knight Rises similarly has large rivers running through the city, but is not itself an island. On the other hand, The Dark Knight Rises also filmed in Manhattan, itself an actual island.
- The 60s Batman TV series took Gotham-as-New York to a ridiculous extent; at one point Catwoman escapes across the state line to "New Guernsey" (Guernsey and Jersey are both Channel Islands).
- Batman Forever managed to outdo even that by having a Statue of Liberty expy in Gotham for unexplained reasons.
- Metropolis is occasionally referred to as "the Big Apricot" in the comic books — an obvious reference to "The Big Apple". In at least one comic, Gotham is "the Rotten Apple".
- This is also enhanced by the producers of each movie: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight both were filmed in Chicago, while Events in the older Superman series looked to be shot in New York.
- The Superman movies, on the other hand, go whole-hog and present Metropolis as being New York City — subway, Times Square, World Trade Center,
Calgary Tower and all.
- Basin City from the Sin City comics and films, while supposedly located in western Washington, east of Seattle, is more an amalgam of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- Zein takes place in Origin City, which is based on Cairo.
- The title character of Jalila protects the City of All Faiths, which is quite blatantly Jerusalem. She got her powers from an accident at the 'Dimodona nuclear plant', which is just lazy.
- The Tintin book Tintin The Seven Crystal Balls very accurately depicts the French port of Saint-Nazaire. The English translation renames it Westermouth for no good reason.
- Like New York City, New Orleans exists in the DCU, but also has an analog: St. Roch, the current base of operations for Hawkgirl (there is both a St. Roch street and a St. Roch neighborhood in the real New Orleans).
- In Wet Moon, the eponymous town is based on Savannah, Georgia, with many of the backgrounds containing clearly recognizable local landmarks and buildings.
- The Bootneck Boy in the strip of the same name in the seventies UK comic Battle Picture Weekly is from "the tough northern town of Tynecastle" - obviously Newcastle-on-Tyne.
- The Big City (no other name given) in Dynamite Comics' Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure. Word of God is that it's not quite turn-of-the-century New York, and it's not quite Victorian London.
- The Grand Theft Auto example under Video Games is parodied in this LP, since GTA Radio uses the names of real communities. "Yeah, that lawsuit . . . Got told they can't use real names and places or they be encouraging gang violence... stupid, as if people don't know they mean Ganton when they sing about Compton."note
Films — Animation
- "Paradise Falls" in Up strongly resemble Angel Falls, right down to both being in Venezuela.
Films — Live-Action
- The Matrix was filmed in Australia, and the cars all drive on the left, but every street name is from the Wachowskis' home town of Chicago. To add to the Mind Screw, the sequels threw in California highway numbers and signage. This was deliberate, trying to make the city look like a generic representation of every city. The view out of the office tower in the first film did use real world landmarks, but modified in such a way that it would be impossible to see them all in the same vista without computer assistance.
- Parodied in the film Haiku Tunnel, which is set in lovely San Francisco.
- The Last Hurrah is set in an unnamed Northeastern American city; given the similarities between the main character and real-life politician James Michael Curley, it's pretty clear that the city is a stand-in for Boston, Massachusetts.
- Weird one in Little Giants... which is set in Urbania, Ohio. Either they don't know how to spell Urbana (a real city in Western Ohio), or they just wanted to change the name so the announcer sounds that much more impressive when he calls the game between the Cowboys and Giants "The Mania in Urbania".
- Edge City in The Mask is clearly modeled on a Prohibition-era Chicago.
- Forrest Gump is from Greenbow, a fictional town in Alabama which could be any rural small town in Alabama (there are real ones named Greenville and Greensboro).
- The "another place" of Streets of Fire was a thinly-disguised Chicago. Several districts like "the Richmond" and "the Battery" were mentioned but the city that included them remained anonymous.
- It's never actually mentioned by name, but Fight Club is implied to take place in Wilmington, Delaware. (This is more explicit in the film than in the novel, as New Castle County and the nearby Delaware City are namedropped)
- The Lost Boys is set in Santa Carla, a fictional city similar to any number of coastal California communities. (It could be a fictional Santa Cruz, since both cities have a beach boardwalk as a tourist attraction.)
- Shermer, Illinois - the fictional setting of many of John Hughes's teen comedies - is supposed to be a suburban community just outside of Chicago. Since Home Alone (which Hughes also wrote) is set in the similar, real-life suburb of Lincoln Park (just north of metropolitan Chicago), it's possible that Shermer is simply a suburb like Lincoln Park or Northbrook under a different name.
- Amusingly, the plot of Kevin Smith's Dogma is kicked off when Jay and Silent Bob don't realize this trope is in play and go looking for Shermer.
- However, if you live in the northern suburb of Northbrook, you'll know that John Hughes went to their Glenbrook North High School. Also, Northbrook used to be called Shermerville. They also have a street called Shermer Road that crosses the railroad tracks by the Metra station. Shermer Road appears to be the source name.
- A Face in the Crowd begins in a small town in Arkansas, named Pickett in the film. The filming location's name, Piggott, is only slightly different.
- The Last Hurrah is set in an unnamed Northeastern American city; given the similarities between the main character and real-life politician James Michael Curley, it's pretty clear that the city is a stand-in for Boston, Massachusetts.
- Maniac Magee is set mainly in the small town of Two Mills, Pennsylvania, a fictionalized version of Norristown, the author's hometown. The nearby towns mentioned, such as Bridgeport, exist in Real Life.
- The Egypt Game takes place in Berkeley, California with the names filed off. Within the story, the city is never named and the local university is only ever referred to as "the university".
- In the Harry Potter series, the Weasley family lives near the Muggle town of Ottery St Catchpole, which is generally assumed to be a fictional stand-in for Ottery St Mary.
- Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series of police procedurals are set in Isola, a district of an unnamed, fictional city in an unnamed state closely resembling New York. Isola includes many features of Manhattan, and the other districts mentioned are clear stand-ins for New York City's other four boroughs.
- More specifically, according to The Other Wiki, "Calm's Point" is Brooklyn, "Majesta" is Queens, "Riverhead" is the Bronx, and "Bethtown" Staten Island. Then there's the Harb (Hudson) and Dix (East) Rivers, and the similarly unnamed "next state" (New Jersey). George M. Dove's unofficial 1985 companion to the series, The Boys from Grover Avenue, analyzes the geography of McBain's "Imaginary City" and describes it as NYC shifted to the side, so that north becomes east, east south, etc.
- Oddly enough, New York itself is occasionally mentioned in the books. Apparently McBain's universe has two huge and virtually-interchangeable metropolises co-existing very close to one another on the East Coast of the United States.
- The film adaptations of Cop Hater (1958) and The Pusher (1960) are explicitly set in NYC. The 1972 film version of Fuzz, meanwhile, is set in Boston for some reason.
- Although they co-exist with real New England cites, including, oddly enough, the ones they are based on, HP Lovecraft made clear that he based his three fictional towns of Arkham, Innsmouth and Dunwich on real places: Arkham is a mix of Providence, RI and Salem, Mass and Boston. Innsmouth is Newburyport, and Dunwich is a mix of Ipswich, Mass, Greenwich, Mass and East and west Greenwich, RI.
- Stephen King's fictional Maine locales all have clear real-world analogues: Derry is Bangor, Castle Rock is a mix of Durham and Lisbon Falls, and Jerusalem’s Lot is probably a mix of Falmouth, Windham, and Cumberland.
- Thomas Hardy's "Wessex" is the south of England, with every single town and city given a fictional name.
- The location in which Cross And Poppy is set is obvious if you read the clues. (And if you can't, there's a fake Ordnance Survey map on the back cover with only the names changed and the orientation flipped.) It's pretty clearly Teffont Magna,Teffont Evias, and the country 'round.
- The work is discreet with place-names. Roads and topography and rail stations … not so much.
- The town sent through time in the 1632 series was nominally Grantville, West Virginia — but except for specifics of individuals and the power plant, the town is identical to Mannington, West Virginia.
- Robert Westall's work is full of this trope; The Machine Gunners is set in Garmouth as a version of the author's home town of Tynemouth and Urn Burial is set in the fictional village of Unthank near the real town of Penrith in Cumbria. So much so in The Machine Gunners that there's a Westall Walk around the area.
- David Lodge's Campus Trilogy (Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses, Small World: An Academic Romance and Nice Work) are set in the University of Rummidge, an industrial city in The Midlands which is clearly Birmingham ("Rummidge" sounds like "Brummie", the nickname of Birminghamers). There's also Euphoric State University, Plotinus, which is the University of California, Berkeley (the Greek philosopher Plotinus anticipated some aspects of George Berkeley's theory of immaterialism).
- Richard Powell's Pioneer Go Home! took place in the Florida-expy state of Columbiana.
- San Ventura in Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher. An author's note at the start establishes that it is definitely not San Buenaventura.
- Brichester, centre of Ramsay Campbell's Campbell Country, according to Word of God, gradually became "Liverpool in all but name".
- The Railway Series books take place on the fictional Island of Sodor, and a number of the railways are clearly based on real locations - the Skarloey Railway is the Talyllyn Railway, the Arlesdale Railway is the Ravenglass and Eskdale, the Mid Sodor is a combination of the Corris, Festiniog and Snailbeach railways and the Little Western is the Dart Valley.
- The London borough of Four Farthings, in Dodger is fictional, but a very typical 1850s East End borough.
- Skygarden Council Estate, in the Rivers of London novel Broken Homes is the Heygate Estate only more so, with a vast central tower, additional walkways, and an even more extreme reputation. Because in addition to being a typical Brutalist architect, its designer was a wizard who wanted to tap into the energy generated by the inhabitants lives to power a magical capacitor.
- Love In The Time Of Cholera is set in a Colombian city on the Caribbean coast which is referred to only as "The City of the Viceroys" - but is pretty obviously Cartagena.
- A small-town example appears in the stories of the humorist Patrick McManus; he writes about his various childhood and teenaged adventures in Blight, Idaho, which is a stand-in for his real-life hometown Sandpoint.
- Much as the titular family of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks is very clearly his own family under a different name, the unnamed city in which they live is just as clearly Mann's native Lübeck.
- In the semi-autobiographic books which Lark Rise To Candleford were based on, Lark Rise is Juniper Hill, Candleford is Buckingham and Candleford Green is Fringford.
- Flashpoint doesn't have the city named, but is clearly Toronto, Canada. Season 2 on they stopped bothering — fire crews are frequently seen wandering around in "Toronto" call-out jackets.
- In what appears to be a trend, Rookie Blue is also filmed in Toronto, with scenes of the skyline, icluding the CN tower, signs for well-known streets, badges with crowns on them, mentions of landmarks, neighborhoods and the climate in the dialogue.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is set in "Sunnydale, CA" but the location most resembles Santa Barbara (sunny weather, beach, mountains, ubiquitous red tile roofs, mid-sized city close to but away from the Los Angeles area) which, incidentally, lies right next to a small town called Summerland. However, some fans believe that Joss Whedon based it on Santa Cruz where he went to college. However, Santa Cruz is close to the San Francisco Bay Area and has a distinctive culture that doesn't resemble that of Southern California.
- Cybergirl is set in the fictional River City, but doesn't bother covering up the fact that it was filmed in Brisbane (popularly nicknamed the River City, due to being named after the Brisbane River). There were a few obvious inaccuracies: the River City Museum is in fact the Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm (itself a mini-cultural centre), although the geography of the place is itself accurate. The Top Dog building, however, was invented for the series.
- The city and state where Hill Street Blues took place were never explicitly identified, though it clearly resembled Chicago.
- The UK's Casualty launched in 1986, set in the city of 'Holby' (filmed in, and very clearly similar to, Bristol), the smokescreen not being of much concern at the time. Over the years, however, two sequel shows (Holby City and Holby Blue) and the popularity of the original have meant increasing use of real-world locations, all of which have to get re-dressed where references to Bristol appear. There's been some regrets voiced about the change in the first place as a result.
- The Bill originally took place in the real life borough of Tower Hamlets, something which was confirmed in dialogue (and which seen them filming in those genuine locations). Industrial disputes at a nearby printing plant in 1986 resulted in even actors in police costumes being fairly unpopular, and the entire production was moved to North London instead. Shortly afterwards, to cover the fact that they were very clearly not in Tower Hamlets anymore, the characters started referring to being in a fictional borough named 'Canley', where it has remained ever since. The series was later filmed around South Wimbledon/Merton in South London
- Corner Gas takes place in Dog River, Saskatchewan, which does not exist. Rouleau, Saskatchewan, where the show is filmed, does, while the whole thing may well just be a stand in for writer and star Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale.
- The Red Green Show: Possum Lake does not actually exist, serving mainly to represent the stereotypes of small-town Canada. Steve Smith once noted how far too many of the show's viewers thought Possum Lake was actually a real place. He described how people would try and book their vacations there, and one couple even asked if they could be married in Possum Lodge.
- Rutherford, Ohio from 3rd Rock from the Sun is probably more-or-less a fictionalized version of Kent, Ohio. Bonnie Turner, one of the show's creators, was an alum of Kent State University, likely making it the basis for the show's Pendelton State University.
- Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show is said to be based on Andy Griffith's real life hometown of Mount Airy, NC. References to neighboring Mount Pilot probably refer to the town of Pilot Mountain, as well as the actual mountain it's named after.
- Midsomer Murders is set in the fictional English county of Midsomer, and its myriad of murder-filled villages. There is a real town of Midsomer Norton somewhere in Mid Somerset
- Point Place, Wisconsin on That '70s Show is likely based on the actual town of Pleasant Prairie just outside of Kenosha. The show's creators grew up in Kenosha County.
- The Tribe was set in "The City" - not only did they refuse to give it a proper name, but they even went out of their way to avoid pinning down which country (or continent!) they were in. All the actors spoke with New Zealand accents, but a British 50p coin was seen in an early episode, and several times British banknotes were also shown. No other cities were ever mentioned, and the only landmark was Eagle Mountain, but there aren't any mountains by that name in either New Zealand or mainland Britain (though there is one in Northern Ireland, and several in the United States).
- Grange Hill was originally and for many years set in the fictional London borough of Northam. After the filming moved from BBC studios in London to Lime Pictures' studios in Liverpool, they ceased to refer to any specific location.
- In The Flesh is set in the fictional northern town of Roarton, Lancashire but a lot of it was filmed in Cheshire.
- Z Cars was set in Newtown, an overspill community for the city of Seaport, based on Kirkby and Liverpool.
- In Supernatural, the yellow eyed demon transports his special children to the ghost town Cold Oak, South Dakota, for the Season 2 finale.
- A common practice on JAG was to use fictionalized names for warships, such as the carriers USS Seahawk and Patrick Henry and the submarine USS Tigershark.
- Eastenders is set in the fictional East End district of Walford, somewhere in the real London borough of Tower Hamlets. On in-universe London Underground maps, the fictional station of "Walford East" replaces Bromley-by-Bow.
- While Calvin and Hobbes never names the state or town in which Calvin lives, the back cover of The Essential Calvin and Hobbes shows a giant Calvin stomping through what looks like Chagrin Falls, Ohio; the building Calvin is picking up is a dead ringer for the Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop.
- On their return from Mars, Hobbes observes that, on most maps, their home is near the "giant letter 'E' in 'States.'"
- It was assumed for years that the city in which Dick Tracy operates was in fact, Chicago, notorious for gangsters and corrupt activities (Big Boy was an obvious analogue to Al Capone), and was where the strip's creator, Chester Gould worked. Over time however, the city remained nameless and eventually, geographical inconsistencies with the real Chicago crept in (at one point, the Atlantic coastline was said to be less than fifty miles away from Tracy's city).
- The Stan Freberg Show sketch "Incident at Los Voraces," about a Nevada city which met its untimely demise thanks to a rivalry between two casinos.
- In Halt Evil Doer, the cities superheroes operate in include New Amsterdam (New York), Los Dios (Los Angeles), Freehold (Boston), and Falconcrest (Chicago). As in DC Comics, the real cities exist as well, and in the case of NY and LA have a rivalry with their "sister cities".
- Played with in the Irving Berlin musical Louisiana Purchase, which according to its Opening Chorus is set in the "mythical state we call Louisiana," so all likenesses to real people are just coincidences.
- Call Me Madam, another Irving Berlin musical, had a program note reading: "The play is laid in two mythical countries. One is called Lichtenburg, the other the United States of America."
- Peter Grimes is set in a Suffolk fishing town only known as "The Borough," which is commonly seen as a stand-in for Benjamin Britten's hometown of Aldeburgh.
- The setting of Albert Herring is described as "Loxford, a small market-town in East Suffolk." The Real Life existence of an East Suffolk town named Yoxford may or may not be coincidental.
- In In FAMOUS, Empire City is blatantly based on New York. The sequel takes place in New Marais, a stand-in for New Orleans. Averted in the third game, which explicitly takes place in Seattle.
- The original Grand Theft Auto had Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City, which roughly resemble New York City, San Francisco and Miami. When the series was moved to full 3D, GTA III, Liberty City Stories and GTA IV were set in Liberty City (though the Liberty City from GTA IV is different from the one in the previous games), Vice City and Vice City Stories were set in the eponymous city, and San Andreas was expanded into a Vice State with three cities: Los Santos (Los Angeles), San Fierro (San Francisco), and Las Venturas (Las Vegas), with the countryside being largely a mix of California and Nevada. GTA V returns to Los Santos (again, the Los Santos in GTA V is different from the rendition in San Andreas).
- Played with in Champions Online. The primary city for mid-level adventurers is Millennium City - but rather than being a completely fictional city, it's the name of a rebuilt Detroit, Michigan, after having rebuilt following a massively devastating battle between the superheroes and the lead supervillain of the millieu, Doctor Destroyer.
- The city in which the City Escape and Radical Highway levels of Sonic Adventure 2 takes place is somewhat San Francisco-esque... except for the Chaos City Planning.
- Sonic Unleashed uses this trope for all of its Fantasy Counterpart Cultures— "Apotos" = Mykonos (Greece), "Empire City" = New York City, "Chun-Nan" = China, "Adabat" = Thailand, etc.
- Sonic Adventure had "Station Square", which seems to take inspiration from Tokyo and Hiroshima (a cylindrical structure in the opening cutscene resembles a similar building in Hiroshima).
- Skate and its sequel Skate 2 take place in San Vanelona, named after the cities that inspired the setting (San Francisco, Vancover, and Barcelona).
- Terranigma uses some real place names, and many mangled or invented ones. Nirlake is Chicago, complete with the Great Fire and following reconstruction as an industrial center. The French translation pushes back on this by renaming Freedom to New York.
- Just Cause 2's Panau, with its location names and BOLO SANTOSI accents, is some Southeast Asian hybrid-thing. There're even ersatz Petronas Towers.
- Red Dead Redemption takes place in parts of the fictional US states of New Austin and West Elizabeth, and the Mexican state of Nuevo Paraiso. New Austin is an expy of Texas and the Southwest, West Elizabeth looks like Colorado (it features snowy mountains in the west and a Great Plains area to the east), and Nuevo Paraiso appears to be based on Sonora and Chihuahua.
- Dead Rising 2 is set in the Nevada casino resort town of "Fortune City". Las Vegas, we are told, had already been destroyed by zombies three years prior, making it likely that Fortune City is Reno.
- Mario Party 7 had a cruise ship theme, and the boards were set in Grand Canal (Venice, Italy), Pagoda Peak (China), Pyramid Park (Egypt), Neon Heights (New York City), and Windmillville (The Netherlands).
- The department store in the Visual Novel planetarian is based on the Matsubishi store in Hamamatsu, a town in the Shizuoka prefecture in Japan. In reality it lacks the dome of the planetarium, though. The shots of the dystopian city shown in the game are based on the store's surroundings.
- Every town and region in the Pokémon series is based off of somewhere in real life (e.g. Kanto and the real-life Kanto region of Japan, Johto and Kansai, Unova and Manhattan/parts of New Jersey).
- Alien Vs Predator Capcom begins with San Drad, California, "the largest city on the west coast," being overrun with Xenomorphs.
- In the Japanese localization of Homefront, all references to North Korea are scrubbed and replaced with "a certain country to the north".
- The eponymous city in Lego City Undercover is a mishmash of various areas and landmarks from real-life cities, such as San Francisco, New York and Miami.
- Though the level in Metal Gear Solid 4 is only called "Eastern Europe", it is obviously Prague. In a Blink Or You Miss It moment, the motorcycle chase even crosses the Charles Bridge.
- Forza Horizon is set in Colorado. The towns have fictitious names, but allegedly every location in the game is based on Real Life.
- In the Saints Row series, the city of Stilwater in the first two games is a composite of Chicago and Detroit while Steelport in the latter two games is a composite of New York City and Pittsburgh.
- Ultra Fast Pony is set in Equestria, which was a Constructed World in the original canon. But unlike the original canon, real-life countries like Ireland and New Zealand are implied to also exist. And in "The Pet Games", the final round takes place in the Gand Canyon, located in the Untitled Stats Of Amrica.
- Averted and parodied with Problem Sleuth. While the story never names the city where Team Sleuth's offices are located but it is represented using stock photos of Chicago. Then in the author commentary it is revealed that the city is actually named Chicagopolis.
- Out There has Portstown for Boston, Los Vicios for Las Vegas, Arch City for St. Louis, and Oceanic City for Atlantic City. The reason according to Word of God is so that any discrepancies between the depictions of the cities and their Real Life counterparts will not be distracting. (It could also seem odd to have a character like Wally Green be a player for the St. Louis Cardinals if there's no real life player by that name on the team. Putting him on a fictional team seems more consistently fictional.)
- Springfield from The Simpsons is largely based on creator Matt Groening's home town of Portland, Oregon, with elements of Olympia, WA, where he attended college. (The city square with its statue of Jebediah Springfield, to cite one example, is highly reminiscent of Olympia's Sylvester Park.)
- Its location is a running gag in the series, with writers finding obvious delight in throwing in more and more conflicting hints on it. Fans even started a whole game of trying to strong-arm all these references together, to find where the hell is that town for real? Semi-officially, though, Springfield is located in a fictional state of North Tacoma.
- Springfield is one of the more common city names in the US, with over 30 such cities (more if you also count townships and neighborhoods by the same name).
- To make matters more interesting, West Springfield is the size of Texas and Oklahoma put together — needless to say, there's no way it can exist for real, and was likely the very intention behind this. And in case you're wondering, the "North Tacoma" bit comes from Homer's driver's license in an early episode, and is yet another reference to Groening's Northwest upbringing (as in Tacoma, Washington).
- The creators threw even more fuel on the fire by actually announcing a state during the "Behind the Laughter" episode. But they made several versions, each saying a different state. In the movie, Flanders threw another monkey wrench into the works by listing the states that border Springfield. States that are nowhere near each other (like Maine and Nevada) and have vastly different geographies.
- Lampshaded (most blatant example) in the episode "Blame it on Lisa": Ronaldo says he wanted to write to Lisa, but he did not know what state Springfield was located in. Lisa replies with something like "It is a bit of a mystery, but if you put the clues together, you can figure it out." The original area code is 636, which is west St. Louis county in Missouri, but the split is 939, which is in Puerto Rico.
- The movie has it located on the border of Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky, a geographical impossibility.
- Teen Titans never names the city (according to supplementary material somewhere it's Jump City) but considering the its west coast location and the great big bridge, it's probably San Francisco (which it is, for the comics' counterpart). The Titans East take up shop in Steel City, which seems to be Detroit (either that, or perhaps Pittsburgh).
- Arguably Code Lyoko. The school and the factory are precisely modeled after a real school and factory in Paris suburbs. However, they're much farther away from each other in real life (and the factory's since been torn down).
- Hey Arnold! supposedly takes place in Washington State, but the city has elements of New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon where the creator grew up.
- Some elements of Highland in Beavis and Butt-Head are based in Albuquerque, NM, including the schools (there's a real Highland High there, after which both the school and the city were named), which was the city where Mike Judge grew up.
- South Park. It's stated to be somewhere in in the South Park Colorado Basin, in Park County, Colorado, all of which does exist. But there is no actual city or town called South Park located there. However it has been confirmed that the town is loosely based on the city of Fairplay in Colorado.
- Within the series, Fairplay actually exists as its own town, and has been verbally confirmed to be somewhere a few miles away from the town of South Park, itself.
- Dynomutt Dog Wonder takes place in "Big City".
- Steven Universe has Beach City, which is based off the towns in Delaware that creator Rebecca Sugar went to as a child; it's since been confirmed that Beach City is located in the fictional state of Delmarva; in real life, that's the peninsula that Delaware is located on, along with portions of Maryland and Virginia.