Have you ever been walking through an area in your favorite video and noticed a place in the background that you wished you could access? Intended to be mere scenery, many memorable locations in gaming are not part of the actual gameplay which disappoints many people. The folks at NeoGAF are talking about these kinds of places with a desire to get a first hand look at the flooded Hyrule Field from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Gruntilda's old lair from Banjo-Kazooie in Banjo-Tooie, the secret planning meeting in Fourside for EarthBound 2, blocked areas in Pokemon Red, the distant island in the dam level of GoldenEye 007 (which can be reached with GameShark codes; it's empty), 1999 before Lavos attacks in Chrono Trigger, and many more. Here's Eusis talking about Wind Waker:
This is what pisses me off the most about not getting a new console game with Wind Waker's design: as much as I've said I'd want to go to a new place and not Hyrule I'd LOVE to run around a Hyrule that looked like that, and that was kind of what I was expecting when Wind Waker was announced before it became clear it was primarily sea based. Instead there's not much to do there, and the backlash gets us grey-and-brown Twilight Hyrule. Plus it reminded me of the NES artwork. It wouldn't REALLY be like playing a game with that actual art, but it'd get the feel at least.
As much as I like these kinds of areas, I'm more impressed by distant locations that you actually can (and are meant to) visit. You can see Dracula's tower in the background early in the original Castlevania where the final boss battle occurs. Princess Peach's castle from Super Mario 64 is off to the side of the Royal Raceway in Mario Kart 64 and you can drive right up to its door. Death Mountain and Ganon's Tower loom in the background of the Pyramid of Power area in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Background scenery with a detailed life of its own really help bring games to life, turning fictional realms into places that seem real. Inaccessible towers or blocked paths can be frustrating to those of us who feel a need to explore ever possible path. We'll never get to these places, but it's fun to dream.