As I sit down to write this, I can already feel the rage flowing through many’s veins just by the title alone. However, the statement remains true. Video games are becoming too realistic. What I mean by this, is that games are turning into realistic renditions of life when, in fact, they should be a more artificial experience. Games can still have a sense of realism, of course. Yet, with last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and this year’s Death Strandingthe lines of reality and fantasy are becoming blurred in ways that aren’t enjoyable.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date Announced

Realism in Games

Video games are a medium like no other. Players are able to dive into worlds filled with fantasy, sci-fi, and even historical elements. Movies and art can display this only to a certain point. It’s games that are able to engulf the user and surround them into a true feeling of immersion. Ever since the medium began, there has always been a push for stronger graphics, tighter gameplay mechanics, and deeper worlds. From the 8-bit consoles to that of the 16-bit ones, improvements are constantly found. This is a fantastic aspect of the industry because it is growing and shifting on a consistent basis. Games look better than ever and crisper than they ever did. Just looking at the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake and comparing it to its original can highlight how far games have come. But along with graphical improvements come improvements to gameplay.

Gaming has grown from simple side-scrollers and platformers to ones with vast exploration and adventuring aspects. Worlds are fully detailed while also providing enjoyable experiences. As these games have progressed into much more involved titles, the debate arises on whether something is too real or too fake. No matter what one may think, games can be as real or as fake as the developer chooses. The developer is able to include whatever aspect to the game they think suits it best. If a game is meant to be realistic then let it be so. However, there should be a point where the game includes a bit too much in order to be realistic where it comes off as tedious.

Life Simulators

Some games benefit from being realistic and including specific aspects of life. Life Simulators allow players to live out scenarios that would be hard to do or impossible in real-life. Releases that have players living as different things are a part of an extremely popular genre. Titles such as Farming Simulator, Goat Simulator, Thief Simulator, and even as far-fetched as Fidget Spinner Simulator are all well enjoyed. But those that are buying these know exactly what they’re in for. Other titles such as Animal Crossing, The Sims, and Stardew Valley have proven themselves to be fun and have plenty to do. Games are able to tow a line between fantasy and reality in a way that is interesting and unique to players. Planting crops and running your farm feels great digitally for those that don’t necessarily want to deal with actually working on a farm. Creating your own town, trading goods, and buying items are different than actually doing this in real life. They take out the filler found in everyday life. There can be some tedious features but for the most part they feel like video games.

Video Games

Realism Gone Overboard

Some games, on the other hand, begin to take things a step further in terms of realism. Last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 was guilty of this. Rockstar Games touted this release as being incredibly realistic and allowing players to truly become a cowboy in the Wild West. On paper, it sounded incredibly captivating and made gamers foam at the mouths. Yet, when the game arrived it included a vast array of tedious features that one would find in everyday life. Raiding houses for supplies took forever as every cabinet could be opened, Arthur Morgan’s hat constantly flew off his head, complex button schemes have to be executed for a minor task, and maintaining your horse and weapons can become exhausting. Another aspect of gameplay was only being able to wield two weapons rather than having a full arsenal. On top of this, you’ll have to remember to take them off of your horse before a mission starts. There are so many other “realistic” aspects of the title that made it uninteresting as a game even and felt more like a chore. Do you really want to make sure your character is well bathed and groomed so NPCs will want to interact with you?

Now, another game seems to be following in these footsteps. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has plenty of gameplay choices that seem as if it’s becoming too real. Players have to choose how to balance their inventory on their character as this affects their movement speed. Yes, you’ll have to make sure your weight is properly distributed. If you run too fast, you’ll need to press the O button to catch your breath. The main character has to drink their Monster energy drinks to stay hydrated which results in them needing to use the restroom. This is where realism in gaming crosses the line. Games can have elements of realism, sure, but when they start including the more tedious aspect of life, how is it enjoyable?

Video Games are Becoming Too Realistic

Video games are an especially unique medium in that they can engulf the players into a whole different world. Every release has its own elements of gameplay and include their own renditions of what the developer believe is fun. Throughout the years games have adapted to the newest and latest tech, but as a result they have started to become much more realistic in nature. This is a double-edged sword since the graphics are near picture-perfect quality yet they can include aspects that are tedious much like real life. Why would anyone want to make sure that they remembered to pick up their hat once it blew off?

Releases should take away the mundane aspects of life and make things a bit more simplified so those playing can escape from what makes the real world so tedious. It’s okay to have a sense of realism but when it feels like a chore it is much less enjoyable. Real-life gives humans the option to perform these mundane tasks at our convenience and when it is appropriate. Being forced to do so in a game just feels misplaced and comes off more like work. Video games are unique in that they can allow users the freedom to do as they wish in an artificial world. When they start to include things like making sure you brought the right equipment or whether you’ve used the bathroom recently, then they’ve become far too realistic.

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Executive Editor

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