When Games Become a Part of Reality
As technology advances, video game developers are able to portray realism in their games much more accurately: graphics make video games look like movies, AIs interact with characters at an uncanny level, and the stories can hit closer to home than ever before. Still, some people will always look at video games as unrealistic and fantastic in nature; never to really cross the boundary between real and unreal.
As many of you know, the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants played against each other in the World Series. As an avid Tiger’s fan I was disappointed, to say the least, when my Tiger’s were swept by the Giants. I still had hope, however, when I attended Game 3 at Comerica Park with my mom. Granted my hope was misplaced and we still lost, I came away from the game with a new respect for MLB 2k12. When the Tiger’s players came up to the plate for their first at-bats instead of playing a montage of successful hits on the big screen, they chose to show each player’s in-game selves going up to bat. It was an interesting way to mesh game and reality and it caught the attention of everyone sitting around me. It was also a nice marketing move by EA; as one of their most popular commercials for the game emphasizes the realism within the game:
As a fan whose team just lost the World Series, I’d like to pick up a copy of the game just so I can go back and recreate the feeling of being a winner. If you’re a sports fan you can’t honestly say that this commercial doesn’t hit home just a little bit! The truth of the matter is that games evoke the same feelings as real life situations and sometimes (most times!) just as powerfully.
Another instance of gaming crossing the boundaries of reality was when a group of people decided to play NHL 13 (link may not work until DeadSpin’s servers is back up!) in place of a real hockey game that was supposed to take place. For the past two months NHL fans have been missing out on hockey because of the lockout but when you have a game like NHL 13 where all the teams are present and all the current rosters are available, you can recreate the games that you’re supposed to be watching. It’s actually proven to be quite the push to buy the game as well, as EA reported seeing a 9% increase in the sales of the game the first week it was out; which they’re attributing to the lockout.
I think as games get more and more realistic and as real life scenarios change, video games may be accepted as an honest way to experience real life situations. Video games are meant to be immersive and simulate real life, they pull on your heartstrings and immerse you in their stories in such a way that it seems natural that they become a more regular part of our daily lives.