Opinion: Does Realism Matter?

Complaint Department

Gabe sounds off on a few complaints he's getting tired of seeing.

Our general community like to frequently argue among each other on the internet. These may consist of simple arguments, complex discussions, or just insignificant fights about which console is better. This is commonly accepted as being linked to the anonymity that one gains from the use of the internet. While the discussion today is not about this phenomenon in particular, it is about a very common side product that is produced upon each and every new video games announcement/release.

The game playing community has no shortage of those that like to complain. If their arguments make sense or not is irrelevant, the complaints are there. Due to this occurrence, what is seen happening is with every new game something about it has to be picked apart. A large amount of these complaints are, in basic terms, stupid (or ignorant if you'd rather call them that). The goal of what is hoped to be accomplished here is to help dissolve some of these petty complaints/reasoning's from future use. This should make more sense once the specifics are touched on later. Keep in mind not everything will be discussed but suggestions for future discussions will be accepted.

To get the biggest one out of the way let's go to the land of Call of Duty. With every release, the same complaint is starting to become more frequent: "It's just more of the same!". This leaves the question, why not? Everyone likes change, in fact many sequels wouldn't be nearly as fun without significant changes, an example is Assassin's Creed 2. A large amount of people enjoyed the first Assassin's Creed but it undoubtedly had its flaws while the sequel was put onto a pedestal and praised. The game, albeit fun, needed those improvements to help push sales and give people hope. For the time being, Call of Duty has no real purpose of relying on that during development.

Golden Eye

The Call of Duty series sells ridiculously well, especially these last two years in particular. There is no denying the fact that the game works. If the game didn't work, it wouldn't sell. What they're doing, like it or not, is attracting their audience back with each installment and providing new, but not completely different, experiences each time. When their sales start to noticeably drop, then they will take a look and see what needs to definitely be swapped out for something new.

Now that the big-boy topic is out of the way something that will be touched on more in depth later can take the stage, realism. Realism is an awkward topic because let's face it, no one asked for realism. At least not at first glance. Realistic games are not the discussion here, it's merely a side topic and an easier way to categorize this part, so keep this in mind if it seems to wander. No in fact the best way to have this begin is by quoting a post seen in response to a Bulletstorm Trailer,"The building wouldn't fall that way when the giant monster pushed it! No building in real life wouldn't just fall over in on single piece!".

Bulletstorm, as everyone should be aware, is a game that throws realism out the window. In fact, if you played through the game you know that all the buildings in that section are actually part of an attraction, it's fake. This poster didn't know this, due to the game not being released. Yet, they felt the need to jump on it the first chance they had. Why? They needed something to complain about. They were complaining because the game was not realistic. Isn't this striking anyone as odd? Realism in games is constantly being beaten to death with a stick, wanting it to leave. When a game that tosses it out the window finally arrives they hate that it's missing. Another post was indeed directly attacking Bulletstorm's lack of realism, for those doubting this. No one is happy in any circumstance.

That may have come off as slightly confusing let's try and fix that before moving on. Realism is not a bad thing in games but neither is lack there of. People love Battlefield and Halo. People love Grand Theft Auto 4 and Just Cause 2 [For those unfamiliar, GTA4 is quite realistic for the GTA franchise while JC2 is ludicrously unrealistic as far as gameplay is concerned]. The only thing realism in games is doing is stopping the character from carrying 8 different weapons at a time and vice versa.

Discussing realism is actually a nice buffer to this next argument that fits snuggly into a recent release. When there's a game that tends to be based in the real world, usually stemming off of wars, conflicts, or general past events, people take notice. They take notice so much, they do their homework. That's where we introduce the newest example, Homefront. A large complaint about Homefront is that it's story is "Ridiculous" and "Not possible".

How is none of the game possible? It's never stated what happens in the game actually happened/will happen. The game is a work of fiction, and should be treated as such. If they say every worst case scenario happened, then it happened within the confines of their tale. This can be quite bothersome due to no one confronting the plots of games like Gears of War, Bioshock, Halo, or a lot of other games actually. What this implies is that a large amount of people believe that the Human race will eventually be altering children into super soldiers which will be used to fight against a collection of alien species and- well the rest is self explanatory. In no way is it being implied that the plot of Homefront, or any game for that matter, could have occurred with the correct set of circumstances. What is being implied is that any work of fiction should be treated as such. Being set in the real world or not is irrelevant unless claiming to be based off of real world events, not stemming from them.

It's being attempted to cut back on the length of these so this shall be wrapped up here. It's OK to provide beneficial criticism but when complaints are tossed around without truly taking them into consideration, it makes the accuser look like a fool. It's not bad for a game to keep doing the same thing if it's working and it's OK for a game to not be realistic. It's even OK if the game tells you that the United States changed their flag to a unicorn in the 80's after they got taken over by Canada in the Beaver Wars, because that's the games fictional story.

If you have any silly complaints or arguments you'd like Gabe to discuss, leave a comment below.
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