Social Realism

“I suggest that game studies should follow these same arguments and not turn to a theory of realism in gaming as mere realistic representation, but define realist games as those games that reflect critically on the minutiae of everyday life, replete as it is with struggle, personal drama, and injustice,” (Galloway 75). When someone notes that they have a favorite book or movie, sometimes this is so because they find it relatable to their life. For instance, a movie about divorced parents like “It’s Complicated,” or a book about cancer, such as “Fault in Our Stars.” These books or movies can have some sort of comic relief or just act as an escape overall that help people cope with the problems they may have in their own lives. Granted, this may seem to be on the opposite spectrum of chapter three, but I personally believe that something is as real as you’d like it to be. For videogames, it allows people to escape into a world that feels real to them. With incredible graphics as games have today, this is important. It goes back to Bogost who discusses the Church of England within the game, Resistance: Fall of Man. At one point, he mentions, “The military occupation of civilian spaces is the reality of any wars of civilian terrain, but videogames have a unique way to simulate the experience of this estrangement thanks to their propensity for world building. The first player cowers behind a bus or encounters a destroyed bathroom, the reality of war surfaces in a powerful way. The Manchester Church level is the most powerful of these moments, and also the subtlest in this otherwise barefaced fantasy shooter,” (Bogost 26-27).
Since this church happens to be an actual monument, this creates a stronger sense of realism. Although it is stressed that a realistic game has the social, personal or political problems, to the player, the game becomes most real when the location feels real. This game is also a first shooter game, which makes it as though you are experiencing the game first hand. As Galloway suggests, these social problems are essential overall in creating the games realism because it gives the player something to connect with or contemplate. It could also work as a way to educate the player, for instance, the 911 Survivor places the player into a different setting that allows them to have an understanding of a date that is so significant to America. A date that is crucial to recognize for the people who were unfortunately involved in it. The “strong narrative message” is what seeps into the players mind, putting realistic graphics with a realistic world problem, educating them on something they are not familiar about. Unlike movies or books, this allows people the opportunity to experience these events, giving them a stronger grasp on events that have occurred, such as war. These realistic games are important, and as much as graphics help play into this, I do agree that the context, narrative message is extremely crucial in really reaching out to people.

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One thought on “Social Realism”

  1. Although I believe that some video game producers aim at making a video game as realistic as possible, I doubt that the majority of them ever achieve this. In relation to the 9/11 video game, “911 Survivor”, I feel that it is almost impossible to be able to experience what someone else felt during that time. My mother unfortunately was in the twin towers when they were struck and till this day, she suffers from trauma mentally. She never got over it. I feel that many times when people play video games, they forget about the story line which I feel is very important to the video game itself, especially in a game like “911 Survivor”. I feel that the player lives for the gratification of the moment. Its often hard to convey feelings or emotions as it is and I believe its much harder, and almost unattainable in a video game.

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