What’s real and what is not

Picked up from Broken Toys, a list. Lum’s comments are pretty much my initial reactions (MMORPGs: SERIOUS BUSINESS. Also, “all skills, abilities, classes, and races must be completely balanced”? Next stop, World Peace: “all people should be cool and stuff and not fight”. Sorted!) Ole Bald Angus has a nice piece on it, though, succinctly summarised as “there are no sucky game mechanics, just sucky implementations of game mechanics”.

There are certainly bits of that list that could be fun, depending on implementation, or stupendously awful; number 5: you cut down trees (wear high heels, suspenders and… erm, yeah), quarry stone, process minerals etc., make yourself a lovely house. Number 30: then it gets hit by an earthquake and destroyed. Oh yeah, and you were in it at the time so you got crushed to death by those roof beams you spent so long getting in place. Number 17: death is permanent, so that’s it, game over, such is the capricious nature of fate, what do you mean you’re cancelling your subscription?

A strong theme of the list is realism; real-world physics, characters eating and sleeping, etc etc. And if that’s your thing that’s great, there’s obviously demand for Flight Simulator, Train Simulator, Ship Simulator, Advanced Hatstand Simulator (hang up to six hats simultaneously! Includes favourites like the bowler, homburg and panama, as well as the exotic fez and calotte! Look out for Hat Expansion Pack 1 soon with the fedora, beret and sombrero!), but it’s not for me. I didn’t play Call of Duty and think “well, that wasn’t bad as a World War II first person shooter, but it would have been better if you trudged your way across France for two weeks, only occasionally encountering enemy soldiers but coming under regular nerve-shredding mortar or artillery attack that you couldn’t do anything about.” If there’s a cool gameplay reason for something happening, great; during winter events, lakes in Paragon City have frozen allowing for skating fun in City of Heroes. If rivers freeze “realistically” in some game because that’s what rivers do in winter, and if you walk on them there’s a chance you’ll plummet through the ice (depending on thickness) to your permanent death, and instead of fun skating you fall on your arse if you try and move faster than a slow shuffle (because that’s realistic)… what’s the point?