The Use of Simutology

Today’s FPSs have now been coded to do things that previous game programmers could only dream of accomplish. Shortcuts such as bullet teleportation and single viewpoint data flows have been replaced with real time ballistics and full map data streaming. Nearly the entire gaming community applauds these leaps in software and hardware that make these advances possible for video game players. Because of these advances, experts in simutology are being flooded with new questions as to how far the new hardware and software really can go. This form of realism is especially important in the case of FPS war games, since what users really want is to experience first hand a real war time experience. Or do they? Because real warfare is traumatic, disturbing and sad. What these players want is something they can use to brag about how great a soldier they would be in real life. But as game designers first realised, there has to be one unrealistic aspect, no matter how “realistic” the game is, you must have always have unlimited lives, otherwise, the purpose would be lost. Who would buy a video game that only allows you one chance to master all the controls before dying. In this aspect, video games must always be unrealistic, lest they lose their purpose in reality. So is a realistic game really ever the goal? I would say no, that the real goal is to incorporate a realistic difficulty level, as opposed to a realistic gaming environment. The psychological effects on the player have to be similar, but definitely not equal to real time play. There are very few games out there that straddle the appropriate line between realism and surrealism, according to this definition. But isn’t the real goal to make sure that video games are playable and appealing? This means that the current understanding of simutology- the “as real as possible mentality” is bunk, and that the video game industry should focus on intuitive playability, rather than realism.

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