'); document.write(''); } // done hiding -->

Realism versus enjoyability.. your opinion?

If realism was so fun we just enjoy life and not have to play computer games, nuf said.

Games are there to be fun. Frankly, any game that features any character that can do anything a human can't do, that isn't realistic. If it features a save/load feature, that isn't realistic either. If games were made completely realistically, most wouldn't be as much fun. Tetris would still be Tetris, because it's a realistic simulation of a puzzle, but Quake/Doom/Thief just wouldn't work. Realism should be there to enhance enjoyability, not to compete with it. A flight sim wouldn't be any fun if I couldn't count on gravity. Thief wouldn't be nearly as much fun if Garrett was invincible.

Its more of a melding of the two. It is never one thing that makes "something" its always a combination of many different factors. You can't have an enjoyable experience unless it has some basis in realism, or else your brain will be confused and have no clue what's going on. The same goes for realism, you can create the most realistic environment, but if it has no enjoyability, then the players will get bored quickly and stop playing.

The entire point of games is enjoyability. I tend to think people complain about unrealistic things if and only if they're also un-fun things, but they tend to leave the un-fun bit out of the argument, so argument is advanced as if realism is the only important part. I mean, how realistic are zombies to begin with?

Life is realistic. I like it. I play games anyway.

Realism can go to Heck! But not logic and consistency. I term gameplay differently than most, since I'm a turn based board gamer and rpg/crpg player.

Too often these two areas are treated as one or the other instead of balancing the two. But I do ultimately feel that enjoyment should come before realism.

Iím really torn on this issue, and have debated it many times with some of my former AVault colleagues. On one hand, I really love ultra-realism. The "one-shot, one-kill" design of Rainbow Six is just so incredibly effective for that game. I also hate really dumbed-down space simulations, and thatís why I love Independence War so much - itís an actual sim of a non-existent spacecraft. Itís got a huge learning curve, but the payoff is fantastic.
But there are limitations. Sometimes the realism thing can go too far. Sure, real street thugs swear a lot, but I found the profanity in Kingpin really distracting. It was like, okay, enough already. I mean, does a computer game really need to have a fully modeled bathroom, complete with feces floating in the toilet? That was a little much.
Hidden and Dangerous is another ultra-realistic game that, in my opinion, was flawed by that very realism. For example, your commandos can pivot at the waist. Yes, thatís realistic - but I also found it incredibly annoying in first-person mode.

Realism and enjoyability arenít orthogonal. People who seek more realism want to increase their enjoyment of the game. A gameís purpose is to entertain; realistic situations are a tool for achieving that. Some extremely fun games are very abstract. "Life" is really fun, too, and its totally realistic.

That dangerous perfect balance. Realism to create that suspension of disbelief. Enjoyability because I don't want real life, I want a game. I want fun. I want the game streamlined and centered around me and my enjoyment but I don't want that fact to be obvious. I want the illusion of reality and all the benefits of a solid and well-structured game.

<-- Back / Main / Next -->

Travel to: T2-ma.com (home) / TTLG.com / T-dp.com