The hippocampus and its associated cortical regions in the medial temporal lobe play essential roles when animals form a cognitive map and use it to achieve their goals. As the nature of map-making involves sampling different local views of the environment and putting them together in a spatially cohesive way, visual scenes are essential ingredients in the formative process of cognitive maps. Visual scenes also serve as important cues during information retrieval from the cognitive map. Research in humans has shown that there are regions in the brain that selectively process scenes and that the hippocampus is involved in scene-based memory tasks. The neurophysiological correlates of scene-based information processing in the hippocampus have been reported as “spatial view cells” in nonhuman primates. Like primates, it is widely accepted that rodents also use visual scenes in their background for spatial navigation and other kinds of problems. However, in rodents, it is not until recently that researchers examined the neural correlates of the hippocampus from the perspective of visual scene-based information processing. With the advent of virtual reality (VR) systems, it has been demonstrated that place cells in the hippocampus exhibit remarkably similar firing correlates in the VR environment compared with that of the real-world environment. Despite some limitations, the new trend of studying hippocampal functions in a visually controlled environment has the potential to allow investigation of the input-output relationships of network functions and experimental testing of traditional computational predictions more rigorously by providing well-defined visual stimuli. As scenes are essential for navigation and episodic memory in humans, further investigation of the rodents’ hippocampal systems in scene-based tasks will provide a critical functional link across different mammalian species.