Where Is The Real-Life Nuketown Paintball Field?
What is Nuketown?
For those of you who have never played Call of Duty, the name Nuketown probably doesn’t mean much, but for all first-person shooter fans, the name Nuketown is synonymous with awesomeness.
Nuketown is an iconic, highly-stylized, multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Originally released on November 9, 2010, the first Black Ops featured the original - and probably most loved - version of Nuketown, a fake town setup complete with fully dressed mannequins just to test nuclear weapons.
With classic weatherboard homes, an immaculate school bus and let’s not forget the massive nuke that explodes at the end of every match, Nuketown is one of the most unique Call of Duty maps ever made. From the most casual to the most hardcore fans, nearly every Call of Duty player could find their way around this map with their eyes closed, partly because it's so small but mostly because of how well this map is designed and how much they love to play it over and over. Its popularity is clear by how many times it has been reincarnated in the subsequent versions of Black Ops.
So imagine how excited the fans of the game were when they found out it had been recreated at a paintball field and they could play it in real life?
Where is Nuketown?
There are now a number of Nuketown replica paintball fields scattered across the U.S. and even the rest of the world, but the original - and many would say the best - is the one at Paintball Explosion in East Dundee, the premier paintball park near Chicago. Find them at the former Santa's Village Amusement Park off Route 90, north of Elgin and just outside Chicago.
Nuketown at Paintball Explosion is sponsored by the equally iconic Tipmann Sports. Tipmann has been part of the paintball legacy almost since the beginning, making paintball products for over 30 years. Their range of MilSim and Woodsball marker guns are renowned the world over for their speed and accuracy plus their realistic features, including mock silencers, magazine loaders and stocks, all of which can be seen on their Tippmann Cronus.
When Paintball Explosion and Tipmann poured all of their experience together to create Nuketown in real life, they went into excruciating detail and it has really paid off because Call of Duty and paintball fans alike absolutely lost their minds over it - and it's easy to see why. All the features of the first Nuketown are there, giving players a chance to take all the defensive positions and sniper shots they know and love from Black Ops.
What is at Nuketown?
As soon as you walk on the field, you’ll get the quintessential Nuketown vibe. If you had any doubt about where you are, the giant replica Nuketown sign with its fateful population counter makes it perfectly clear.
Players have all the choices of the original game. Crouch behind the school bus to take command of the field and provide covering fire for your team as they gain ground, or try to flank the other team by running for the jeep and sneaking up through the woodpile. There are so many choices! Even the buildings themselves have those windows that perfectly overlook the street and give you best vantage point to pick the other team off one by one.
Can you win before the nuke explodes? It’s not a real nuke, of course, but with everything else looking so real, it’s easy to imagine the game ending with a giant explosion.
I’ve never played Call of Duty. Will I like Nuketown?
Playing in such close quarters isn’t the norm for Call of Duty or paintball games, but something about the Nuketown layout, whether on a digital map or a real-life paintball field, really makes it work and many players go back to Paintball Explosion for this field time and time again just like gamers do in all the reincarnations of Black Ops.
Are there other game or movie-inspired paintball fields?
There are plenty of game and movie-inspired paintball fields around the world. Some are as detailed as Nuketown but not all, so do your research. Some of the best ones we’ve seen are featured in our “10 Most Insane Paintball Fields”, so why not start your search there?
Whether you’re a hardcore Call of Duty fan or you’ve never picked up a controller in your life, Nuketown is an experience not to be missed.