Today on Kill Screen: Why games shouldn’t try to be more realistic

Our art columnist Kyle Chayka laments the search for realism:

There will come a point when photorealism in videogames reaches its zenith-when the grass your avatar treads on looks and bends like real grass, when polygon glitches no longer exist. See a trailer of Battlefield 3 gameplay or Crysis 2 for examples of how the immediate future of videogames reaches toward a perfect photorealism. But what happens after that point is achieved? The photorealistic approach seems to me to be a dead-end street, an aspiration that, once perfectly achieved, leads to a death of possibility.

But what if we shook up this definition of realism and believability a little bit? After all, a videogame is never going to be real. Even a photograph-a chip or piece of film exposed to light-is more inherently connected to physical reality. Videogames, in contrast, are only depictions and representations of reality, artificial approximations. What if, rather than continuing to move toward slicker and slicker approximations of reality, games instead provoked players into new ways of seeing reality, and new ideas of “realism”?