There are cases when iconic buildings are somewhat created by accident. One of them is the winding tower of the former Shime coal mine near the city of Fukuoka in Japan. Having been abandoned a long time ago, it has been built during the second world war, and features a rather peculiar design, as an article on the WebUrbanist notes:
The 47.65 meter (156.3 ft) tall tower is of an odd design, having offices and control rooms located above the actual, long gone winding mechanism – huge reels of cable which raised loads of coal from the mine and lowered empty containers and workers back into the depths of the mine up to 430 meters (1,411 ft) below.
Towering over the city of Shime, it does rather seem like a paleo-futuristic fortress. No wonder, as WebUrbanist explains, it got discovered as the ultimate anti-zombie fortress:
For decades the Shime winding tower quietly mouldered away in obscurity until suddenly – Teh Intarnets! It seems some imaginative wag with a liking for zombie flicks stumbled upon (possibly via StumbleUpon) an image of the tower, and immediately deduced it would make the Best. Anti-Zombie Fortress. EVAR.
And so it began: one thread at Reddit begat another, and yet another, and soon Photoshop contests ensued along with much hilarity. The Anti-Zombie Fortess Meme soon took on a life of its own, and it takes no braiiiins to figure the Shime winding tower is destined to be cast as a prime location for some upcoming zombie flick.
Of course, as a game designer, this design offers other possibilities and ideas. Not only could it be a starting point for interesting level ideas, its huge towering mass is also strangely reminiscent of Half-Life 2’s Citadel looming in the distance.
No doubt a beautiful reference when looking for ideas – even though it might be difficult to copy the tower one by one, as the many iterations found on WebUrbanist shows. It might just be too obvious.