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Fictional cities and occasionally countries are often obvious stand-ins for Real Life ones. 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 applies.

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. Also contrast with Everytown, America, in which the location is deliberately made generic.



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    Anime and 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 Phoenix Wright series, where the Steel Samurai franchise 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.
  • While Croisée In a Foreign Labyrinth has a rather faithful depiction of late-19th century Paris, Galerie Du Roy appears to be based on Galerie Du Roi in Brussels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 KyoAni'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 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.
  • 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.
  • K calls Shibuya "Shizume," but the Real-Place Background scenes identify it clearly enough.
  • The description of Shuchi'in Academy in the beginning of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is understood by Japanese as a not-so-veiled reference to the real-life Gakushūin, the school established for and exclusively used by the Japanese noble class between 1877 to 1947, and continues to be the "default" school for the descendants of the same people.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 no issues with freely using real locations.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam has the Zeon occupation headquartered out of "New Yark"(sic), which looks 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.
  • The Flowercrest department store in planetarian is based on the (now demolished) Matsubishi department store in Hamamatsu, a town in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture. The game extensively uses other locales and sights from that town as well, which also found their way into the anime.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. In one episode the main characters take a trip to the big city, which is clearly based on the city of Fukuoka.
  • The Slow Start anime is set in the Sawaizawa, Nagano. The architecture clearly show the events in the anime are set around the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano, with a different kanji for the last syllable.
  • 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 1970s Britain.
  • The Demon Girl Next Door is set in the Tokyo suburb of Tama, specifically in the Seiseki-Sakuragaoka neighborhood, though the area is portrayed with a more suburban flavor compared to the real thing. The author also swapped a kanji in the city's name for Meaningful Name effect, due to the setting. Many backdrops in the Animated Adaptation are easily recognizable from reality, and the locations in the story are inspired by real-world counterparts, just with the names and appearances changed. As an example, in the place where the cast's high school is said to be located, an elementary school is present in the real world.
  • The town where Yotsuba&! takes place is never named, but borrows a lot of inspiration from Kiyohiko Azuma's own hometown of Takasago, Hyogo.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 DCU:
    • There is dispute over which is the DCU's New York CityMetropolis 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. It could be significant that Gotham was created by New Yorkers familiar with the city's dark side, while Metropolis was created by Clevelanders for whom living in New York was an aspiration. 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). Pre-Flashpoint, 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 Rebirth era it's home to the Titans, as it was in The '80s.
      • 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 – as Delaware was.
      • 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.
      • 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 (1966) 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.
    • 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.
      • Like New York City, New Orleans exists in the DCU, but also has an analog: St. Roch, the base of operations for pre-Flashpoint Hawkgirl (there is both a St. Roch street and a St. Roch neighborhood in the real New Orleans).
      • An interesting twist in the Green Arrow (Rebirth) storyline "Rise of Star City": decades after Mike Grell moved Ollie from Star City to Seattle, and a few years after it was established that the New 52 GA had always been based in Seattle, Star City gets reintroduced ... as the new name for Seattle, following its takeover by an Ancient Conspiracy.
      • National City in Supergirl (Rebirth) is presented as the L.A. to Metropolis's New York.
      • The JSA operated out of Gotham City first, and then in the late 1940s moved to "Civic City", which at first appears to be a stand in for Washington DC, given the Atom's comments about it. But then All-Star Comics'' #54 mentions that the police cars have an Empire State license plate, so Civic City must be in New York State. Oddly enough, it has a bottomless lake and a geyser similar to Old Faithful nearby.
  • 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 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 City, and it's not quite Victorian London. (At one point a chase scene is said to have run from Sixth Avenue to the Serpentine.)
  • In Jaime Hernandez's Love and Rockets stories, the main location of "Hoppers" is a barely-at-all disguised version of Los Bros' hometown of Oxnard, California.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Wet Moon, the eponymous town is based on Savannah, Georgia, with many of the backgrounds containing clearly recognizable local landmarks and buildings.
  • Zein takes place in Origin City, which is based on Cairo.
  • The Scottish city of Glengow, home to Glengow Rangers in the Roy of the Rovers strip "Hot Shot Hamish and Mighty Mouse", is pretty blatantly Glasgow.

  • 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.
  • "San Fransokyo" in Big Hero 6 is named as a portmanteau of San Francisco and Tokyo, and combines cultural features of each. However the city's streets were developed from a digital map of San Francisco with a few Tokyo-like elements and fictional transit lines overlaid. For example, Lucky Cat Cafe is modeled closely to a specific building at Masonic Street in the Haight-Asbury district whose tenants include a cafe; however the street's trees were replaced with cherry blossoms in the digital model.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Chris Nolan hardly bothers to disguise Chicago as Gotham City. His Caped Crusader broods on the Sears Tower, races through the underground tunnels of Lower Wacker Drive, rides the Batpod through the Metra Electric station at Randolph Street (you can even see street signage for the Pedway), and fights it out with the Joker on a famous stretch of LaSalle Street. The bank robbery that opens The Dark Knight was filmed at the old central post office on Van Buren Street, and Wayne Enterprises is headquartered in the Chicago Board of Trade Building. However, the flying-overhead view used in 'Batman Begins'' is the canon layout of Gotham.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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).
  • Parodied in the film Haiku Tunnel, which is set in lovely San Francisco.
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is based on the autobiographical book by Robert E. Burns entitled I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang!, published in 1930. The title was changed so as not to offend anyone from said state. Still, the film outraged the Georgia authorities so much that they refused to pardon the book's author until 1945.
  • The James Bond series has a few....
    • In Live and Let Die, The island nation of San Monique stands in for Haiti and/or the Dominican Republic.
    • In Licence to Kill, The Republic of Isthmus and Isthmus City stand in for Panama and Panama City, respectively.
  • Shermer, Illinois - the fictional setting of many of John Hughes's teen comedies - is supposed to be a suburban community just outside of Chicago much like Northbrook, where Hughes grew up and later frequently filmed. Shermer was described by the Chicago Tribune as "a thinly-veiled reference to Northbrook once being known as Shermerville."
    • Hughes attended Glenbrook North High School - on Shermer Road - and used his alma mater often as the fictional Shermer High (along with other nearby schools).
    • Northbrook Historical Society assisted a Hughes tribute festival by a group called the Shermer Club.
    • The house immortalized in filming Home Alone (which Hughes also wrote) is located in nearby Winnetka, and uses its real Lincoln Blvd. address, while other scenes were shot in Northbrook and adjacent suburbs.
    • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.)
  • Edge City in The Mask is clearly modeled on a Prohibition-era Chicago.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In TRON: Legacy, the sign above the police station that Sam emerges from shows that the setting is called "Center City". Its coat of arms is based on that of Los Angeles; also see Stargate City.

  • 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. "Diamondback", a poor and dangerous area of Isola with a mainly African-American population, is Harlem. 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 rotated ninety degrees clockwise, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Brichester, centre of Ramsay Campbell's Campbell Country, according to Word of God, gradually became "Liverpool in all but name".
  • Kim Newman:
    • Newman grew up in Somerset, in the towns of Aller and Bridgewater. Some of his works (including Jago, The Quorum, and Seven Stars) are set in very similar (but somewhat more sinister) Somerset towns called "Alder" and "Sedgewater". In Jago, Alder is the home of an annual music festival not entirely unlike the real-life Glastonbury Festival held in Pilton, Somerset.
    • Lampshaded in the superhero pastiche "Coastal City", about a Commissioner Gordon on the point of realising his universe doesn't make sense; way back when the first hyperheroes appeared, Coastal City was New York, and then, one day, it wasn't.
  • 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. This continues throughout the ensuing series of the Village Tales novels, including the "side-trips" to Shropshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, and Perthshire.
    • The work is discreet with place-names. Roads and topography and rail stations … not so much.
  • Dandelion Wine: The fictional town of Green Town was based on Waukegan, Illinois where author Ray Bradbury grew up.
  • The London borough of Four Farthings, in Dodger is fictional, but a very typical 1850s East End borough.
  • George Alec Effinger's trilogy When Gravity Fails / A Fire in the Sun / The Exile Kiss is set in an unnamed city that seems to be in North Africa; but those who knew him say it's New Orleans.
  • 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".
  • Farewell, My Lovely: Bay City, California, where the mayor and the police are in the pocket of organized crime, is Santa Monica with the names changed to protect the guilty.
  • Thomas Hardy's "Wessex" is the south of England, with every single town and city given a fictional name.
  • 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.
  • A good chunk of the InCryptid short stories take place in Buckley Township, Michigan, a fictional township in the Upper Peninsula. The actual Buckley is a village in the mitten (somewhere around the second joint of the ring finger, to extend the analogy) and not much larger than the fictional Buckley Township. The modern Price family home is located in an undisclosed location near Portland, Oregon.
  • 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. 11/22/63 also adds Jodie, a fictional Texas town somewhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to the geography of King's universe.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sinclair Lewis' Main Street was set in Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, a fictionalized, and very unflattering, version of his childhood home of Sauk Centre, Minnesota. The residents of Sauk Centre noticed it and were decidedly displeased, and as a result, Lewis created the fictional Midwestern state of Winnemac (its area roughly corresponding to southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwestern Ohio, with its main city Zenith located around where Toledo, Ohio is in real life) for a number of his books, including Arrowsmith and Elmer Gantry.
  • 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).
  • In Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, Altamont, Catawba, is a renamed Asheville, North Carolina.
  • 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.
  • H. P. Lovecraft based his fictional Lovecraft Country towns on real places: Arkham is a mix of Providence, RI, Salem, MA and Boston; Innsmouth is Newburyport; and Dunwich is a mix of Ipswich and Greenwich, MA and Greenwich, RI. The real towns also exist in the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • 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.
  • McAuslan: The regiment the series is centered around is purported to be fictional, but the text contains more than enough references to figure it out, if you have access to the internet or a decent library. For example, the regiment fought in Singapore and its colonel was captured, it participated in the Stirrup Charge at St. Quentin, it has a long-standing rivalry with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and the main character's name is a reference to the regiment's motto. if you're curious, it's the 2nd Gordon Highlanders.
  • 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.
  • Jack O'Connell's magic realist crime novels are set in the city of Quinsigamond, which is a thinly disguised Worcester, Massachusetts. ("Quinsigamond" was the Native American name for the area, was the name of the original British settlement on the site in the seventeenth century, and is still the name of the big lake on the city's eastern border.)
  • John O'Hara set his works in Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, which is a fictionalized Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
  • Richard Powell's Pioneer Go Home! takes place in the Florida-expy state of Columbiana.
  • The Railway Series books take place on the fictional Island of Sodor, which is somewhere in the Irish Sea, 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 "Isle of Sodor" is a British ecclesiastical in-joke - the Church of England's Diocese of Sodor and Man now covers just the Isle of Man and a few small islets nearby, but once covered a much larger area, "Sodor" being an Anglicised version of the Norse collective name for the islands of western Scotland.
  • 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.
  • San Ventura in Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher. An author's note at the start establishes that it is definitely not San Buenaventura.
  • The eponymous town in Spoon River Anthology is based on the real-life Illinois towns of Petersburg and Lewistown, where author Edgar Lee Masters grew up, and named for a real river in the area. Residents of the real towns objected to their portrayal, as many of the characters are based on real people, and the collection as a whole is a brutal Deconstruction of idealized small-town life which addresses domestic abuse, murder, suicide, abortion, rape, and government corruption.
  • Super Gran is Magic by Forrest Wilson has Super Gran visiting various thinly-disguised Butlins holiday camps in thinly-disguised British seaside resorts with names like Slackpool.
  • 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.
  • The Great Gatsby: The Old Money "East Egg" community is Sands Point on Long Island in real life, and the Nouveau Riche "West Egg" community is Kings Point.
  • In the Monica Kennedy series of Scottish Highland crime novels by G. R. Halliday, the Inverness district of Merkinch/the Ferry becomes Rapinch/the Marsh, presumably to avoid causing offence by its portrayal as The City Narrows. Its location in the city, and even the names of the streets, are unchanged.
  • In The Witcher series, the Free City of Novigrad is a transparent allusion to the Free City of Danzig, i.e. Gdańsk. The video game adaptation even extends this to architectural elements.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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. Since 1990, a [[Mayberry Days festival]] has been held there by the county's Arts Council. References to neighboring Mount Pilot probably refer to the town of Pilot Mountain, as well as the actual mountain it's named after.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The city and state where Hill Street Blues took place were never explicitly identified, but it is associated with Chicago because the opening credits and establishing shots were filmed at its Police Department's Maxwell St. Station (now used by University of Illinois at Chicago), and the deparment's vehicular paint scheme was also used by Hill Street's "Metro Police," even when filming in California.
  • In the Flesh is set in the fictional northern town of Roarton, Lancashire but a lot of it was filmed in Cheshire.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stranger Things' fictional setting of Hawkins, Indiana bears an uncanny resemblance to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a real life small town with a government laboratory nearby. Many of the places name-dropped in the series have real counterparts either near Oak Ridge or in the Durham, North Carolina area where the Duffer brothers grew up.
  • In Supernatural, the yellow eyed demon transports his special children to the ghost town Cold Oak, South Dakota, for the Season 2 finale.
  • 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).
  • Veronica Mars is set in the fictional Neptune, California, an unincorporated locality close to San Diego and Los Angeles. It otherwise borrows elements from both cities and SoCal in general, combining sunny weather with a ludicrously socially stratified society.
  • Inverted in The Wrong Mans. The series is set in the very real Berkshire area of Bracknell but was actually filmed in neighbouring county, Surrey. It should also be noted that Berkshire hasn't have a County Council (which features quite heavily in the first series) since 1998.
  • Z Cars was set in Newtown, an overspill community for the city of Seaport, based on Kirkby and Liverpool.
  • During the Doctor's exile on Earth (and occasionally afterward) the Doctor Who production team routinely set their invasions and catastrophes in nonexistent towns with slightly altered names like Tarminster ("Terror of the Autons", standing in for Warminster) and Devesham ("The Android Invasion", for Evesham).
  • Bottom: Weirdly inverted. The main characters are repeatedly stated to live in Hammersmith, which is a pretty affluent neighbourhood in London. However, the characters' home and surroundings are repeatedly shown to be squalid, run-down and filled with the degenerate dregs of humanity. Also, the road the characters are stated to live on is either Mafeking Terrace or Mafeking Avenue, both of which exist in other parts of the UK, but neither in Hammersmith.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • 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 cartoonist Bill Watterson's longtime hometown of 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 claims that on 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 where the strip's creator, Chester Gould, worked. But 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.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues is set in the semi-fictional city of Oldport, based off of Newport in Rhode Island. While the general geography remains the same, there are some artistic licenses taken with the specific locations and economy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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".

  • 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.
  • Call Me Madam, a 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."
  • Finian's Rainbow is set in the state of Missitucky.
  • Played with in another 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.
  • In the operetta The Merry Widow, many of the characters are from a small European country called Pontevedro, which has recognizable points of similarity with the real small European country of Montenegro. (The 1925 film inspired by the operetta is less circumspect, being set in "Monteblanco".)
  • Our Town is set in the fictional community of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, which seems very similar to Peterborough, New Hampshire: understandable, given that Wilder wrote the first two acts while living in an artists' colony there.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Alien vs. Predator (Capcom) begins with San Drad, California, "the largest city on the west coast," being overrun with Xenomorphs.
  • 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.
  • Paragon City (the setting of City of Heroes) is located on the coast of Rhode Island and has been described as "Providence if it was the size of New York City".
  • 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.
  • In Deus Ex, the NSF's first big stand is said to have happened in the Pacific Northwest, at the "Battle of Squalnomie". Squalnomie is not a real place, but Snoqualmie is the name of a city and several geographic regions east of Seattle.
  • A staple of the Far Cry series:
    • Far Cry 2 takes place in an unnamed African country (the fans call it UAC). The plot features blood diamonds being used to fund a civil war, so it resembles Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, or the Congo, and the use of Dutch by some local characters makes the Congo or Angola the most likely inspirations.
    • Far Cry 3 is in the Rook Islands. Judging from the range of available wildlife and some Malaysian words in the local dialect, they're most likely based on Indonesia.
    • Kyrat in Far Cry 4 is a Himalayan kingdom recovering from a recent civil war that has a lot of problems from militant separatists, making it resemble either Nepal or Bhutan.
    • Hope County, Montana in Far Cry 5 takes a lot of visual cues from the Great Falls of Cascade County, but its isolation from any metropolitan area also makes it resemble Petroleum County or Treasure County, or maybe Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.
  • Forza Horizon is set in Colorado. The towns have fictitious names, but allegedly every location in the game is based on Real Life. The subsequent games have been set in real-world locations with actual city names (southern France and northern Italy in 2, Australia's Gold Coast in 3, and northern England and Scotland in 4).
  • The original Grand Theft Auto has Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City, which roughly resemble New York City, San Francisco and Miami. When the series 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 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).
  • In the Japanese localization of Homefront, all references to North Korea are scrubbed and replaced with "a certain country to the north".
  • inFAMOUS is set in Empire City, which is blatantly based on New York City.
    • The sequel inFAMOUS 2 takes place in New Marais, which is a stand-in for New Orleans.
    • Surprisingly averted in inFAMOUS: Second Son however, which explicitly takes place in the real city of Seattle.
  • Just Cause 2's Panau, with its location names and BOLO SANTOSI accents, is some Southeast Asian hybrid-thing of Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. There're even ersatz Petronas Towers.
  • Just Cause 3 is set in Medici, an island located in the Mediterranean that borrows elements from Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, and whose fictional language is Latin-based.
  • 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.
  • Mafia follows in GTA's footsteps. The first game is in Lost Heaven and the second in Empire Bay, fairly obvious stand-ins for New York City, with maybe one or two features from LA or Boston to throw you off. Mafia III takes place in New Bordeaux, which is unapologetically, blatantly New Orleans.
  • 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).
  • Though the level in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is only called "Eastern Europe", it is obviously Prague. In a Freeze-Frame Bonus moment, the motorcycle chase even crosses the Charles Bridge.
  • Persona 5 is unambiguously set in Tokyo and features most of its major areas and neighborhoods, with the exception of the protagonist's place of residence — Yongen-Jaya, as opposed to the real life Sangen-Jaya. In addition, many of the names of landmarks of Tokyo are slightly altered — even the statue of Hachikō becomes "Buchiko".
  • The department store in 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).
  • 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.
    • Furthermore, in Red Dead Redemption 2, Ambarino is the Rocky Mountains, New Hanover is South Dakota, and Lemoyne is Louisiana. Lemoyne even has its own New Orleans called "Saint Denis".
  • 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.
  • Skate and its sequel Skate 2 take place in San Vanelona, named after the cities that inspired the setting (San Francisco, Vancover, and Barcelona).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • 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.
  • Laurentia in Nexus Clash is a pretty obvious physical stand-in for Vancouver, though its history diverges significantly, especially toward the end.
  • Yakuza takes place in Kamurocho, a red-light district in Tokyo which is Kabukicho with the serial numbers filed off. Sotenbori in the game's version of Osaka is Dotonbori in much the same way.
  • Mirror's Edge's City with No Name is a composite of the coastline of Seattle, the time zone of the Northeastern US, the architecture of Signapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Vancouver BC, and London, with the Final Dungeon being an expy of the real-life Shard, and a river very similar to the Thames running through the city.
  • Fuel, a post-apocalyptic sandbox racing game, is implied to be set in the western US, as the landmarks include expies of Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and the Grand Canyon.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.

  • Autumn Bay has the titular city, which, though not a stand-in for a particular city, is specifically set in upstate New York, and is meant to represent large communities in the northeastern United States in general.
  • Much of the eponymous setting of Gunnerkrigg Court is modeled after the author's native city of Birmingham, England. In his video commentaries of chapters, he'll often point out specific locations (with photos) that he transplanted into the comic.
  • 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.)
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Langley Falls, Virginia, is based on Langley, Virginia, where the CIA is actually located, with a name twist inspired by the nearby community of Great Falls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The writers of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic love to do this. The capital city of Canterlot is named for Camelot from the Authurian legends (and the design is inspired my Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings), but other cities and nations have pony-themed names like Fillydelphia (Philadelphia), Manehattan (Manhattan), Las Pegasus (Las Vegas), Vanhoover (Vancouver), and Saddle Arabia (Saudi Arabia); the locations that have been featured in the series closely match their Real Life counterparts. One example: the Haypacking District features Brownstone architecture and is the fashion center of Manehattan, just like the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. The official map of Equestria shows that many of these cities correspond roughly with their equivalents' locations in North America, with Canterlot's location roughly equivalent to Chicago.
  • The Simpsons: Springfield 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.)
  • 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.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star's friend Marco hails from Echo Creek, a fictional community in the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA.
  • Steven Universe has Beach City, which is based off the towns in Sussex County, Delaware that creator Rebecca Sugar went to as a child. Its name (along with that of an occasionally mentioned Ocean Town) is a clear take on Ocean City, Maryland. It's also located in the state of Delmarva, which refers to the Delmarva peninsula which is split between Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
    • We also see the states of Keystone (which references Pennsylvania) and Jersey, as well as Empire City, which serves as a stand in for New York.
  • Teen Titans never names the city (according to the Teen Titans Go! comic 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).
  • We Bare Bears takes place in what is only ever referred to as "the Bay Area", though many San Francisco landmarks can be seen in background shots. The intro alone features shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid.


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