10 Times Hawaii Was Featured in Popular Video Games

Have you ever noticed how often Hawaii appears in video games? Developers capture the islands’ essence in various genres, from the surfing adventures in Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage to the vibrant Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon.

These virtual experiences highlight Hawaii’s allure in diverse gaming landscapes. But there’s more to uncover, including how games like Persona 5 and Test Drive Unlimited 2 incorporate these tropical settings.

Curious about other ways Hawaii has been immortalized in gaming? Let’s explore these captivating examples.

Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage

surf culture meets fashion

Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage immerses players in Hawaii’s vibrant surfing culture on the NES with its colorful graphics and engaging gameplay. Inspired by the popularization of surfing by a Hawaiian Olympian, it captures the essence of Hawaiian surfing culture. Published by LJN and developed by Atlus, this game features memorable mascots like Joe Cool and Tiki Man, adding unique charm to the experience.

Upon diving into Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage, players are transported to the sunny shores of Pearl City, HI. Although the game’s surfing mechanics differ from actual surfing, the fun remains intact. The developers excelled in creating a vibrant, colorful representation of Hawaii’s surfing scene, making it enjoyable for surfing enthusiasts and video game fans alike.

The game’s distinct graphics and engaging gameplay make it a standout title on the NES. Whether navigating challenging waves or soaking in the Hawaiian vibes, Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage offers a delightful escape into a world where surfing reigns supreme.

Pokémon Sun and Moon

In *Pokémon Sun and Moon*, you’ll explore the Alola region, inspired by Hawaii’s picturesque landscapes. The game features unique Pokémon designs that reflect the tropical environment, enriching your island trials adventure.

You’ll journey across beaches, volcanoes, and immerse yourself in elements of Hawaiian culture throughout your adventure.

Alola Region Inspiration

Drawing extensively from Hawaii’s unique culture, geography, and wildlife, the Alola Region in Pokémon Sun and Moon offers players an immersive and authentic experience. Game Freak’s development team meticulously crafted the Alola Region to reflect the essence of Hawaiian culture, evident in several aspects of the game:

  1. Geographic Inspiration: In-game locations are modeled after real Hawaiian landmarks such as Mauna Kea and Hanauma Bay, providing players with an exploration experience reminiscent of visiting Hawaii.
  2. Wildlife Adaptations: Alolan forms of Pokémon, like the tall palm tree design of Alolan Exeggutor, exhibit adaptations to Hawaii’s distinctive environment, making the creatures feel native to this tropical paradise.
  3. Mythological Elements: The game incorporates Hawaiian mythology, with legendary Pokémon such as Tapu Koko drawing inspiration from Hawaiian guardian spirits.
  4. Cultural Atmosphere: Alola’s laid-back atmosphere and community focus mirror Hawaii’s cultural values and the spirit of aloha, creating a relaxed and welcoming environment for players.

Island Trials Adventure

Embark on the Island Trials Adventure in Pokémon Sun and Moon, where you’ll undertake trials led by island kahunas and face formidable Totem Pokémon challenges. These trials are a unique feature reflecting the rich traditions and customs of the Alola region, inspired by Hawaii’s geography and culture.

As you traverse the Alola region, you’ll visit Melemele Island, Akala Island, Ula’ula Island, and Poni Island. Each island hosts its own set of trials, presenting a variety of tasks and puzzles you must complete.

These tasks range from solving riddles to battling powerful Totem Pokémon, which are larger and stronger variants of regular Pokémon. These Totem Pokémon often call upon allies, making battles both challenging and strategic.

The island kahunas, acting as trial leaders, guide you through these adventures, testing your skills and determination. Completing the trials is crucial for advancing the story and earning Z-Crystals, which enable powerful Z-Moves for your Pokémon.

This aspect of the game enriches your gameplay experience and deeply immerses you in the Hawaiian-inspired world of the Alola region.

Tropical Pokémon Designs

The tropical Pokémon designs in Pokémon Sun and Moon, inspired by Hawaii’s diverse wildlife and culture, add an exciting dimension to your adventure in the Alola region. The game skillfully weaves elements of Hawaii’s natural beauty and cultural essence into its vibrant world.

Here are some standout features:

  1. Alolan Forms: Classic Pokémon like Raichu receive a tropical twist. Alolan Raichu, for example, surfs on its tail, reflecting Hawaii’s famous surfing culture.
  2. Unique Pokémon: Creatures like Bruxish, a colorful fish, draw inspiration from Hawaii’s rich marine life, adding to the game’s distinct roster.
  3. Scenic Locations: The Alola Region, modeled after Hawaii’s islands, includes areas that resemble real Hawaiian landmarks, creating an immersive experience.
  4. Cultural Influence: From the laid-back atmosphere to the warm, welcoming vibe, the Alola Region mirrors Hawaii’s inviting spirit, making your adventure feel like a true island escapade.

These tropical designs not only enhance the visual appeal but also deepen the connection between the game and Hawaii’s essence. Pokémon Sun and Moon effectively use these elements to create an engaging and authentic experience, showcasing how video games can reflect real-world inspirations.

Persona 5 in Waikiki

video game characters vacation

Persona 5 transports you to a vibrant rendition of Waikiki, capturing the lively essence of Hawaii’s famous beach. This video game masterfully brings the bustling streets and stunning beachfront views of Waikiki to life, allowing you to explore a digital version of this iconic location. Known for its energetic atmosphere and numerous tourist attractions, Waikiki in Persona 5 is a feast for the senses.

As you navigate through the game, you’ll find Waikiki depicted as a popular destination filled with an array of shops, luxurious hotels, and exciting entertainment venues. The attention to detail is remarkable, making each corner of Waikiki brim with the tropical flair and lively energy that the real-life location is famous for.

In Persona 5, Waikiki is more than just a backdrop; it enriches the game’s diverse and immersive world. The vibrant environment and scenic beachfront create a dynamic setting that adds depth to the player’s experience.

Whether you’re strolling through the crowded streets or enjoying the stunning ocean views, Persona 5’s portrayal of Waikiki captures the spirit of Hawaii, making it a memorable part of your in-game adventure.

Shakedown: Hawaii

Set in a satirical version of Hawaii, ‘Shakedown: Hawaii’ offers a retro-inspired open-world experience where you engage in a variety of criminal activities. Developed by Vblank Entertainment, this game places you in a tropical paradise that’s far from idyllic.

You’ll find yourself taking over businesses, executing heists, and exploring a vibrant world filled with humor and nostalgic nods to classic games.

In ‘Shakedown: Hawaii’, you’ll experience:

  1. Business Takeovers: Purchase and strong-arm businesses to expand your criminal empire.
  2. Heists: Plan and execute daring heists to earn quick cash and build your reputation.
  3. Combat: Engage in fast-paced, retro-style combat against rival gangs and police forces.
  4. Exploration: Roam freely across a Hawaiian-inspired map filled with quirky characters and hidden secrets.

The game’s satirical take on corporate culture and modern-day capitalism will keep you entertained, especially if you enjoyed the open-world freedom of ‘Test Drive Unlimited’.

With its humor and retro graphics, ‘Shakedown: Hawaii’ offers hours of fun and mischief in a sun-soaked paradise.

Immerse yourself and see why this title received rave reviews for its engaging gameplay and clever commentary.

Civilization V: Kamehameha

hawaiian leader in game

Transitioning from the satirical exploits of ‘Shakedown: Hawaii,’ let’s delve into the strategic intricacies of ‘Civilization V,’ where Kamehameha leads Polynesia, embodying Hawaii’s rich heritage.

In this turn-based strategy game, you assume the role of Kamehameha, the esteemed leader who unified the Hawaiian Islands. His unique ability, ‘Wayfinding,’ enables your units to traverse ocean tiles more swiftly, providing a substantial strategic edge in maritime exploration and expansion.

As you explore the world, you can construct the Moai, a unique improvement for Polynesia inspired by the famous statues of Easter Island. These structures enhance the cultural landscape of your civilization and offer valuable bonuses to nearby tiles, making them a crucial element of your strategy.

The inclusion of Kamehameha and the Moai in ‘Civilization V’ underscores the historical and cultural significance of Hawaii within the Pacific region.

Kamehameha’s inclusion adds diversity to the game’s roster of world leaders and civilizations, presenting a distinctive gameplay experience that honors Hawaii’s rich heritage. This representation in one of the most acclaimed strategy video games highlights the enduring influence of Hawaiian culture and history.

Tony Hawk’s Underground

In ‘Tony Hawk’s Underground,’ you’ll skate through the vibrant streets of Honolulu, mastering tricks against the backdrop of iconic Hawaiian locations like Waikiki Beach. This game uniquely captures both urban and natural Hawaiian environments, offering a visually appealing skateboarding experience.

As you navigate these locales, you’ll immerse yourself in Hawaii’s vibrant culture, showcased through music, street art, and local references.

Here’s what you can expect as you skate through Honolulu:

  1. Waikiki Beach: Perform your favorite tricks on the sandy shores and lively boardwalk.
  2. Urban Streets: Experience the dynamic city life, filled with colorful street art and bustling with activity.
  3. Natural Landscapes: Enjoy the stunning natural scenery, providing a perfect backdrop for your skateboarding feats.

In ‘Tony Hawk’s Underground,’ players control their skater, seamlessly integrating real-life Hawaiian cultural and geographical elements into the gameplay. This level offers a unique and exciting way to experience Hawaii, making it a memorable part of the game for any player.

Test Drive Unlimited 2

racing game with luxury

Test Drive Unlimited 2 immerses you in an open-world driving adventure across Oʻahu, Hawaii, where you can experience the island’s beauty and challenges firsthand. This video game sequel offers a detailed exploration of Oʻahu, featuring luxury cars, competitive races, and scenic routes.

The Hawaiian landscape in Test Drive Unlimited 2 comes alive with iconic locations such as Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Racing through these picturesque spots is thrilling, enhanced by realistic graphics and a dynamic weather system. The game’s attention to detail captures Hawaii’s diverse environment, making each drive memorable.

Customization is a key feature, allowing you to modify your vehicles to match your style. Whether racing against others online or discovering hidden gems across the island, the game offers endless excitement.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 highlights Hawaii’s natural beauty while providing an engaging gameplay experience that keeps you coming back. Fasten your seatbelt and explore Oʻahu like never before in this standout entry among video games set in Hawaii.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

While Test Drive Unlimited 2 lets you race through the serene landscapes of Oʻahu, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault immerses you in the harrowing events of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. This historical video game offers a gripping and intense experience, accurately portraying the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, you’ll feel the chaos and urgency of the attack. The game’s narrative and missions vividly depict the bravery and challenges faced on that fateful day.

Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Combat Missions: Engage in a series of combat missions set in the historic Pearl Harbor location, where every decision impacts the course of the battle.
  2. Realistic Portrayal: Experience a realistic portrayal of the events, with detailed graphics and sound design that bring the attack to life.
  3. Intense Battles: Face intense battles that capture the chaos and danger of the attack, making you feel like you’re part of history.
  4. Historical Context: Learn about the historical context and significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor through immersive storytelling.

Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault doesn’t just let you play; it lets you experience one of World War II’s most pivotal moments.

Microsoft Flight

flight simulation software program

Soaring through the skies, Microsoft Flight offers a stunning tour of Hawaii’s breathtaking landscapes and iconic landmarks. This free-to-play reboot of the renowned Microsoft Flight Simulator series lets you experience the island’s beauty in a remarkably realistic flight simulation.

In Microsoft Flight, you can explore iconic Hawaiian locations such as Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor from a bird’s-eye view. The game’s detailed and immersive experience brings Hawaii’s topography to life, showcasing the islands’ unique geography and natural splendor. Flying around Hawaii, you can witness the diverse landscapes that make the islands so captivating.

Microsoft Flight captures the essence of virtual aviation, allowing you to feel the thrill of soaring over Hawaii’s breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re gliding over lush rainforests, volcanic craters, or the sparkling coastline, the game offers an unparalleled view of Hawaii’s wonders.

The meticulous attention to detail in the game’s design ensures that every flight around Hawaii is unforgettable. If you’ve ever dreamt of piloting a plane over paradise, Microsoft Flight provides a virtual tour of Hawaii’s most stunning sights.

The Crew Motorfest

Shifting focus from the skies to the roads, The Crew Motorfest delivers the excitement of open-world driving adventures on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii. This video game allows you to explore and race across diverse landscapes and environments that capture the essence of Hawaii. The island’s unique roads, landmarks, and scenery are meticulously recreated to provide an immersive experience.

Here’s what you can expect when playing The Crew Motorfest:

  1. Iconic Locations: Drive through some of Hawaii’s most famous spots, including the bustling streets of Honolulu and the serene beaches of the North Shore.
  2. Diverse Environments: Navigate through lush rainforests, volcanic terrains, and scenic coastal roads, showcasing Hawaii’s natural beauty.
  3. Realistic Scenery: Enjoy intricately detailed landscapes that reflect the real-life charm of Oʻahu, adding a tropical and exotic element to your racing adventures.
  4. Dynamic Challenges: Participate in various racing events and challenges that leverage the island’s unique geography, ensuring gameplay remains exciting and unpredictable.


Hawaii’s stunning beauty and rich culture have frequently been captured in popular video games. From riding the waves in Town & Country Surf Designs to exploring the Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon, these virtual adventures offer a taste of the islands’ unique charm.

Whether you’re skateboarding in Honolulu or piloting a plane over the Pacific in Microsoft Flight, Hawaii’s allure is undeniable. So why not pick up a controller and embark on your own Hawaiian adventure?