Ah yes, the video game Next Gen Wars. You hear about them everyday, games that “are the future”. Games pushing 1080p, games with better A.I. than chess programs, and games with physics better than NASA flight simulators. I actually heard one of my friends say, in all seriousness, that a game “looked more realistic than real life” Even if that is physically possible, is that really what we need to focus on making, games that mimic real life?
Now I’m sure many of you have heard speeches like this before. Nintendo fans have been saying “gameplay > graphics” for years now, so instead of repeating that argument I’ll tackle another aspect of the situation, realism. I don’t mean realistic graphics or physics, I mean is the game realistic. Because I’m pretty sure all good games make no sense.
Let’s start with our beloved friend, Runescape. How do quests work again? Let’s see a cook realizes he is out of flour and eggs, what does he do? Should he go to the store, or maybe ask a friend to go run to the store for him? Nope, he looks up and sees a complete stranger with a blood stained battle axe standing in his kitchen. Naturally, this would be the first person to ask when looking for a few eggs and some flour. Okay, so the next day the cook goes to Falador to see a friend by the name of “Man”. Upon arriving in Falador, the cook looks up and sees his friend, Man, standing in the park minding his own business. Suddenly a women in full armor runs up to him and cleaves him in half with a massive sword. The cook watches in shock as the women then picks up the Man’s wallet and corpse (bones) and then walks right past a nearby Guard and into a store where the storeowner greets him with a smile.
Runescape isn’t alone in this theme of utter ridiculousness. Look at games like Pokemon, how is it that the wild Pokemon haven’t formed together and declared war on the humans? Why don’t you die in GTA after being shot once? Why does the boss’s one weakness always happen to be a nearby treasure in Zelda games? How hard is it for a sniper to just take out Snake in MetalGearSolid? What exactly is the premise for Super Smash Brothers Melee, I love the game to death but did they even try to put a story in it? And then there’s Mario games; who came up with the idea that mushrooms make you grow but once you get injured you shrink, and for some reason a leaf gives you a cape and the ability to fly? Right.
Yet these are great games. It seems they all have one think in common: their main goal isn’t graphics or realism, their main goal is just to be fun. Gaming shouldn’t always be about having better graphics or even better gameplay. Why do we all still play Runescape? It doesn’t have motion sensing and it certainly doesn’t have high definition graphics, but does that matter at all? What brings you more joy in Runescape: Working hard with friends and having a good time, or checking out the updated graphics in Varrok? As gamers we should pay attention to these things. This way the next time someone tells us about a new super-realistic game, we can ask them what’s so good about being realistic. After all, shouldn’t gaming be an escape from reality?
Okay seriously now guys… what exactly is the point of Tetris?
Did You Know...
... that you could get gems before crafting came out in RSC? For a couple of days, rocks would occassionally give miners a gem for their efforts.
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