Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I'm currently writing a lot of papers on film theory and crap... which made me wonder. Are there any games out there that are highly influenced by the realist movement? I'm talking about games that are so real that it is mundane and boring. The game would basically do monotonous routines things that we would have to do everyday in our lives. Would these games still be fun? 'The Sims' isn't totally like this, but I find 'The Sims' super fun.


  1. I visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne in April, and they had an exhibition of the best games from the 2012 Independent Games Festival. I played this game called "Dear Esther" that fits what you're describing pretty well. It's a first person wandering game through highly realistic environments (e.g. fields) and there are no choices, tasks, etc. There is a narrative—however fragmented—but I didn't pick up on this in the few minutes I was playing the game in the museum. Unsurprisingly, I found it boring.

  2. Do you mean realism in aesthetic or realism in content? Games that are trying to be more like movies, like LA Noir or Heavy Rain use TONS of facial scanning equipment and motion tracking to make their games as realistic looking as possible. But in terms of play those games are still sticking to classical Hollywood narrative.

    Some games even give you a more realistic option. Like in the Fallout series, I only played 3 so maybe it was just 3, you could play in a "hardcore" mode where you had to make sure to eat, drink, and sleep a certain amount or your character would be less effective. I had to lower the difficulty just to get through the story in that game, so I have no idea how you can finish on that mode.

  3. I think that the interactivity aspect of video games makes it hard to translate a realist style onto them. I mean realism in the film theory sense, where the story would have a non-causal, elliptical revelation and the plot would not necessarily have a resolution. But video game stories aren't told the same way as films, so stylistic choices like that get lost in the fact that each player can, theoretically, play the game differently.

  4. I'm assuming that you mean metaphorical or philosophical crap, rather than the literal kind.
    I agree with Chad's comment--lots of games attempt PHOTOREALISM in their visual style, even if the narrative or genre isn't realist.
    It's a bit like your average blockbuster movie these days--photorealism, esp. if achieved through computer-generated graphics, is a highly valued style.

  5. "I'm talking about games that are so real that it is mundane and boring. The game would basically do monotonous routines things that we would have to do everyday in our lives. Would these games still be fun?"

    Your question reminds me of a Patton Oswalt bit about how reality TV is going to make us want to make our lives so exciting that we'll want reality TV to be boring as a way to relax.

    But seriously, I was going to say, "Isn't this Second Life?" but apparently that's a little more exciting than real life. Maybe the fact that we'd be mentally going, "WE'RE PLAYING A GAME!!! ABOUT WASHING DISHES! IT'S A GAME!!!" gets in the way of realizing that we're... playing a game ...about washing dishes, when we probably have plenty to wash in real life. ( So maybe giving people a bit of interactivity is what makes it a game, and therefore, "fun"?

  6. I was talking with one of my housemates about a game called Journey.
    Apparently you just walk around in the desert.
    The multi-player is you still walking around the desert, but with other people.
    Also, apparently you can't talk to them.
    Here's the IGN review of the game on YouTube:

    1. Edit: Upon further inspection, this game isn't as realistic as I thought it'd be. More fantastical.

  7. #5 I definitely think photo-realism is something to strive for, but not something to sacrifice game-play over. In my experience, the best games are the ones you can play over and over again. Photo-realism doesn't garner this experience, great interactivity does. While I do feel these types of games are interesting, they don't bring as much lasting entertainment as games the focus on creating a consistently fun experience for those playing.