Friday, July 1, 2011

Vehicular Sims

Flight simulators, tank simulators, even ant colony simulators have been made in the form of video games. For a while they were all the rage, but the number of such titles has dwindled until now we see very few. In fact this generation of gaming consoles has almost no simulation titles outside of driving. Either that or they've been relegated to a supporting role in the form of special sequences or levels designed to break up the action, such seems to be the case with Battlefield 3:

But take a look. Notice the attention to detail, the plausibility of the entire scenario. There's something to be said for games that capture the essence of verisimilitude. It gives them a value, a gravitas that so many games lack these days. In part this is because so many titles released this generation of consoles are influenced by other video games rather than reality. Hence, you end up with a copy of a copy of a copy (and so on). Until the original flavor is lost and the player is nothing more than a play toy at the mercy of the game creators whims. So bring back the simulation genre in a big way I say!

It need not be solely taken from that which we live and breath right here and now though. The space sim genre could easily be revitalized (something we got the tiniest of glimpses of in Halo: Reach). Especially on this generation of hardware the possibilities are quite expansive. Even something as simple as jet dogfighting in a fictional conflict set in the near future has never looked this good:

I remember the first game I purchased for PC was a title called Mechwarrior, and while a number of squeals have come out over the years I yearn for one this generation that could make me feel like I am truly piloting a 50 foot tall war machine - shaking the earth with every step, sending people fleeing in terror from my crushing stride, dealing forth destructive volleys capable of leveling cities while leaving only death in my wake. Will Armored Core 5 (or Mechwarrior 5 come to think of it) be that game? Possibly, but even if it isn't such a game could be made, and it would be glorious.

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