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31/31 Day 18 - Realism

There seems to be a common theme in the industry today. This opening sentence coupled with my blog title and your knowledge probably has already given that away. If not, let me spell out what I'm meaning: video games are pushing the boundaries of realism. We all know this. Looking at how the graphics engines are shaping these days, seeing the tech demos that are presented for next-gen graphics, everything looks phenomenal. We can take a look at LA Noir for a great example of realism in gaming. However, some people think that this should be applied to all aspects of gaming. That video games, overall, should be more realistic.

This is truly an odd thought. Maybe less so for gamers who started out this gen, but I grew up with Mario and Final Fantasy. The point of the games were that they were not realistic: you had a plumber who could jump 12 feet into the air smashing on top of turtle heads. It was so outlandish that it couldn't possibly be happening in this world, as much as the Super Mario Bros. movie tried. Realism was not something that people seemed to care about.

Then comes the argument that there has to be some realism included in every game, and this I agree with. If I mean, obviously the Covenant are attacking Earth, but if all of the people could fly, shoot lasers out of their eyes and disobey every physical law then that would break the barrier. I agree that there should be laws and realism to a point: I like getting immersed in worlds and therefore need a bit of grounding. Saying that games should be taking realism into account in every aspect, however, is not intelligent.

I've heard a lot of people complain about suddenly being supersoldiers in whatever game they happen to be playing, whether it be Skyrim, Far Cry 3 (which is the big one now), or any Zelda game. Thinking about it, however, it makes sense that this needs to happen. Games have a limited amount of playtime, with most not nearing the amount that you can play Skyrim. I've put 80 hours into that game. If I were going by real time, it would be only a few days. I would still be trying to fight Skeevers without dying, and you know what? I wouldn't play. Having a buildup that slow is a recipe for nobody liking your game. People want to feel empowered. There need to be some rules that are broken.

It's interesting to see where people's willing suspension of disbelief ends. Some people get swept up in Star Wars, but right when a musical hits they turn it off because it's so unrealistic that everyone would break into song. Some dislike dramas because nobody would have all of those relationship problems, but get very invested in such a factual movie like The Ring. I'm not saying what people should and shouldn't find realistic, but if there are ever hypocrites abounding it's when this topic is discussed.

What's my threshold? That's a great question. I think it's ridiculous how much you can pull off in extreme sports games. While I love Tony Hawk games, The fact of the matter is nobody can pull off a 900 benihana revert to darksliding across a cruise ship. Sorry. It ain't happening.

I'll finish with one of the most humorous examples I've come across: people were arguing (SHOCKER) about Halo and Call of Duty back when Reach was still pretty new. Someone dismissed Halo saying "it's just so incredibly unrealistic that you never have to use Iron Sights while trying to shoot something." A very wise individual countered with, "you're a large robot flying around on jetpacks fighting velociraptors." And that's all that needs to be said.

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