Summer's here, and that can only mean one thing: sand, surf, and beaches galore. Well, for most people it means that. For us, it means the sun is blasting at temperatures that would make Ragnaros the Firelord faint, and our pale nerd skin offers about as much UV protection as a magnifying glass. So take our advice: lock the doors, crank the AC, and comfort yourself with the best virtual beaches videogames have to offer.


8. The Silent Cartographer (Halo: Combat Evolved)



For an artificial ringworld built to house the galaxy's biggest bomb, Halo had some pretty nice scenery. In the game's fourth level, your dropship kindly sets you down on a lovely little island and gives you, joy of joys, a shiny new warthog to tool around in. On a normal map you'd set about feeding aliens the business end of your four-wheeled bullet factory, but on Silent Cartographer you have more important business: immediate, unending joyrides into the ocean, with whatever suicidal space marine has enough viking blood to brave your passenger seat.

Plus, the island has plenty of ancient tunnels and underground facilities to explore, some of them even wide enough to pilot a dropship through. Not to mention the entire goal of the mission is to locate what amounts to Halo's visitor's center, containing your handy-dandy computerized guide to every tourist hotspot on the entire orbital weapon-world.