A path unwanted: Impossibly realistic games

One of the distinctive criteria of games compared to ‚reality‘ is their loose connection to the latter, a worksafe simplification of rules and goals. This doesn’t mean that these games are simple to play, but that rules and metarules are stated or can at least be relied upon as unchanging background as long as we play the game.

The same two mechanisms, simplification and a stated stable background, are the cornerstones of politics, especially in times of war. Knowing the enemy, recognizing the enemy, destroying the enemy, all executed in an unerring, straightforward mode.


A path less trodden: Realistic impossible games

There’s a category of games which deals with ‚the impossible‘ as main theme. This is an approach which takes an entirely different direction than the quest for more realism in gaming. Most mainstream games usually strive for physical, contextual or emotional realism: Realistically behaving objects and environments, relatable everyday settings, involving and intriguing characters.

Each of this categories has a counterpart, be it an M.C.Escher-like warped universe or a Black-White-Shift of invertible negative space of the same ilk, a Lewis Carroll-like twisted conception of reality’s relationships or the Oliver Sacks‚-like madnesses of people both strange and affectionate.

The german expression ‚verrückt‘ would fit well, meaning both ‚crazy‘ and ‚pushed out of place‘. It’s a radical change of view, both forced on the player and also a necessary precondition to understand and play the game.