"The next step, he thinks, will be for it to stop being a game at all. Funny, how they try to make it more and more real until you’re hardly playing any more."
Playing virtual golf with motion capture on the Wii
Creative Commons AttributionPlaying virtual golf with motion capture on the Wii - Credit: laffy4k on Flickr

In our own world we can see this goal being pushed further with every new innovation in entertainment technology. The aim for all products and systems is constantly to add more and more realism. In cinema films have gone from silent and black-and-white, to full sound and Technicolor. High definition is now common and 3D is the next big thing. In video games, graphics are constantly becoming more realistic, and motion capture can be used to give computer-generated characters more life-like movement and facial expressions. This is now so realistic that a detective game called LA Noire has been released, which challenges players to deduce whether suspects are lying based on their facial movements and expressions. 3D has also entered the world of video games, and consoles such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinnect are now embracing motion capture to give players a sense of really participating in the game. The latter seems to be the first small step in creating the virtual reality so commonly found in science fiction.


But why create a fake world when we have a perfectly serviceable real one? Ask that to the millions of players of the online game Second Life, which is more ‘realistic’ than other games, with no real objectives, game-play mechanics or rules. In this game, players can literally create a second life, getting a virtual job, creating a virtual house, and even building a virtual family. Of course, the real beauty of virtual worlds is that they can do everything the real world does, and more. Places can be more beautiful, magic can exist, people can fight dragons and find treasure, and everyone can be a hero. Particularly in a world as devastated and depressing as Rick’s, it is easy to see how this can be so appealing.