Looking back at the games that I have played over the past 5 years or so, there were not many of them that brought me close to the grip of reality, although I cannot say that it was what I was initially looking for.
For the vast majority of us, gaming represents a way to live another life in some fantastical environment where we can do the things we could only dream of in reality. We can slay dragons as a Dohvakiin,
go to war with our friends online, or take a spin in the apocalypse to test how long we'd actually survive. Do we really want reality when we are playing these games?
Initially, I would have said no. That was, until I starting paying more attention to the environments that games were creating for me, several games in particular, and realized that reality had been smacking me in the face the entire time. Verisimilitude, from the Latin verisimilitudo
("likeness to truth"), is a philosophical concept that represents how close to reality a representation approaches. And some of these games have been getting scarily close.
When I talk about approaching reality though, I am not referring to graphics. We all know how amazing the graphics on the next-gen consoles and high-end PCs are, so that does not need to be discussed. Games are beginning to approach reality with how they deal with problems and themes presented to the player through the narrative and environment.
This is the first of a several part series where I will take a look at the evolution of verisimilitude in video games and analyse how it makes us interact with the narrative. Let's take a look, shall we?
Spec Ops: The Line Spec Ops: The Line.
If you have played this title already, it's pretty much 'nuff said at this point. If not, Spec Ops
offers one of the most realistic 3rd person shooters that I have ever had the pleasure (edit: horror
) of playing. You play as Captain Martin Walker, sent to Dubai as part of a 3 man team to recon the desolated city. Needless to say, things change and recon turns into an all-out-war against Indian rebels and other American soldiers. Without turning this into a full review, Yager's revamp of the series makes you pay. For. Every. Bullet.
Either way, Spec Ops: The Line
wants you to know that what you are feeling right now, in this instant, is much closer to reality than any feelings you will get from the vast majority of other shooters. You feel empathy, sorrow, hope, and regret. And when everything reaches a plateau at the end of your long and hard fought journey, you feel...well...that's for you to decide. But you are damned certain you feel
Spec Ops: The Line
has forever changed how I look at shooters, and how I interact with choices presented to me in games. There are often deeper connections to real-life situations, and lessons to be learned through how we interact with a narrative that forces us to confront ourselves. I will leave you with one question, a question that has haunted me in every humanitarian-mission fueled war game since it was posed by Spec Ops
. Do you feel like a hero yet?
Welcome to Dubai, Gentlemen.
LOOK WHO CAME: