Why So Realistic?

First off, let's get out of the way for the 12 year old in me; RimWorld is was most definitely a poor name choice due to its suggestive nature. 

Now, moving on to  my headache. 


At first I was wondering why not leave and and all romance relegated to storylines. Then I remembered pieces like the Sims where the opportunity to follow a story line is pretty much non existent. That's why (to their credit) the programmers/producers of The Sims made the algorithms for falling in lust/like/love the same for everyone regardless of gender/appearance. Courtship in Sims is instead based on personality types; their likes/dislikes and how much time a player is willing to put into courting their chosen being. Of course there is also the random NPC courtship that we run into periodically. Regardless of which The Sims has already given a more than adequate example of how to handle this type of thing.

That being said RimWorld's insistence on the sexist approach is even more obnoxious. Beyond the obvious reason of it being part of the problem in a social sense, it's just plain old boring. It feels like another problem caused by "well that's the way it is". It's the same attitude people take to being bombarded with targeted ads. "It's just the way it is so why not just roll with it?"

Why bother with ad blockers and internet security? Invasion is a part of life. Why deal with romantic relationships differently? Why not just accept it?


Why? not just replicate in a game the way things are dealt with in life?

Because we already have life and it kind of sucks so there's no need to adhere so closely to reality. We should want to play with thing slike physics and reactions and how things are "supposed to look". The desire should be to put things where they don't belong simply because we can. The epitome of "because we can" has got to be MUGEN.


Said to be released in 1999 (a weird and wonderful time for the world) MUGEN is a 2D fighting game engine. It is highly customizable, allowing users to change everything from the characters they use, the UI, damage percentages and other tweaks allowing for the most fun, crazy or difficult fighting game one could imagine. 
It was an open source tool that allowed people to insert characters from any 2D fighting game they could get he sprites for, later expanding to allow 3D characters. MUGEN was my and other's first experience with game design. They core and coding was hidden (probably for the best) but there were enough variables open for people to make something that felt and behaved they wanted. It also allowed for the addition of custom sprites/characters. 
I loved MUGEN then because it allowed for the feeling of freedom in creation. 

I love it now because it exists as the antithesis of what I feel to be a problem in game making now; The obsession with "realism". The need to replicate life as closely as possible, whether it be graphically or mechanically. It's a thing so ingrained in us that while talking about our current project there is discussion of making sure the physics are realistic in a 2D platformer. 

Call it nitpicky but I think the problems plaguing the code of RimWorld; there is an unspoken and inherent desire to digitally replicate aspects of life regardless if that representation is problematic or of a narrow perspective. 

The more real we try to make the abstractions that video games are supposed to be, the more we're going to fail time and time again to make things that make people feel, think and question thing that need to be felt thought and questioned.