And why it’s a bad thing.
It seems nowadays that for a lot of developers the aim is to make a game that’s as realistic as possible, with lifelike graphics, real world physics and believable, conceivable worlds.
I couldn’t disagree more with this mindset.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I use video games as a way of escaping from reality for a while. Why would I want to escape into a world just like the one I’m leaving, that’s plagued with the same limitations? Let me show you what I mean.
On the topic of Jumping..
Notice how Mario is about twenty feet above the ground? Can you imagine just how boring his games would be if he could only leap as high as me? The physics in Super Mario games have no grounding in reality, yet the games are far better for it. Mushroom kingdom operates by it’s own rules and I’d hate to see that change.
Expanding on the leap, it’s a personal gripe of mine when my character has only a piddly jump that can barely get him over ledges, let alone across chasms. Give me a Halo – style boundless leap over Call of Duty’s pathetic hop any day of the week. Never show me a fighting game where I can’t casually somersault over my foes head, or a platformer that has actual gravity.
On the topic of Weaponry..
One of my favorite first person shooters ever is Unreal Tournament 3. Along with crazy fast twitch gameplay, vehicles that induce slobbering and a godlike announcer voice, it has one the coolest arsenals of any game I’ve played. The link gun spits out high energy plasma balls or laces out the same energy, while the bio – rifle spits globules of corrosive acid that stick to any surface, including humans.
Other games give you shotguns and pistols, sniper rifles and machine guns. Battlefield and Call of Duty give you real snipers, named shotguns. It’s thrilling stuff. Forget realism, and bullet logistics, give me Ratchet and Clank with crazy, logic defying guns or UT3 with it’s frenetic arsenal.
On the topic of Setting..
Look at Tamriel, then at the Shivering Isles. The second I entered Sheogorath’s realm I could never return. Why would I want to go back to generic fantasy world A, when I had a place of such wonder to get lost in. I’m looking at you too Skyrim – Canada is wonderful and all, but Morrowind exudes such a powerful sense of atmosphere which is why I’m playing that and not you.
Games hold the same advantage as cartoons over movies; nothing has to have any grounds in realism. Why then is it that there is such a push for replicating what’s already there? Whatever happened to using our imagination? Give a child a cardboard box and he won’t go “jeez, now that’s a box alright.” He’s going to take it and fly to the moon while surfing on the stars. I think games should be like that too, and that worrying about things like particle affects and accurate physics is a step in the wrong direction.
But hey, maybe I’m just getting old.