Realistic Gameplay

When the Wii was first announced back in 2005, I claimed that it was going to be the triumph of interactive design over brute-force processing for realistic graphics. Sales of the console during the last 2 years prove this point. But something unexpected happened: Even though the Wii wasn’t made for realistic graphics, the revolutionary controller enables such rich potential on interactive design that has permitted for the first time what I would like to call Realistic Gameplay.

The very first example of this approach is the game Winning Eleven for Wii. Unlike any other soccer game that I had played before, this game feels real. Very real on its interactive design. When I see a real soccer match on TV, my mind goes on saying “You two fuckers go an take the ball out of him”, “Everybody must go to attack now!” or “Hey asshole run so you can receive the pass” (yes, I can be quite an animal when watching sports, that’s part of the fun, right?). Those kind of interactions where I want to control not only the guy having the ball but also all the other ones out there so they can collectively perform a tactical play, wasn’t possible to reproduce on a game until Winning Eleven for Wii.

The sensation of controlling the collective interactions of my team rather than the single guy who has the ball, leads the gameplay to an overall tactical and strategical experience that makes me truly feel as the coach behind my team. Even when I design the tactical formation of my team, I really feel the impact of my choices on the field. And the in-match situations are so real and precise that off-sides, faults and other realistic soccer interactions now happen more often (unlike other soccer games).

It’s not the mission of this blog to make reviews about games.. but to explore the intricacies of interactive design. The realistic gameplay I found on the Wii was a profound experience, it felt as the discovery of perspective during the renaissance: it felt real. And that’s the way to go with games as an art form.


17 Responses

  1. See Callois; Mimicry.

  2. […] dice Santiago Siri, “el triunfo de la interactividad sobre la fuerza bruta del desarrollo de gráficos […]

  3. I absolutely disagree with you: what you call realistic gameplay is nothing more than classic gameplay with auxiliary functions such as that of a pointer on the screen. The positions from which you play the game find no parallel in real life: you are neither the coach for you control the player with the ball; and neither the player because you play with all the players who have the ball and now even with the players who don’t. The more elements you control on the screen at once, the less ‘real’ it will become as you assume an (ideal and) metaphysical role where a team of 11 players is at your full disposal. Real Time Strategy merges with Sports Simulation.

    In order to achieve realistic control you would have to control only one player’s actions, as that is what football is about when you actually play it (see Libero Grande from Namco and check out the N64 version of ISS) and not the broad domain over the team and the team management. PES and the majority of sports games, originate not from the intention to simulate the sport in itself, but from the ongoing desire to control what is on the screen like a television broadcast of a football match. Even that sub-context adds to the argument that football videogames are still very far from what we consensually hold as “reality”.

    This, however, does not mean that the controls aren’t responsive and that the gameplay isn’t adequate – I recall as a couple of years ago the “off the ball” system was already implemented in FIFA and it didn’t work nearly half as well as it does in this Wii version of PES. The beauty of Football, and sports, often derives from the lack of synchronicity between players. There is a common objective, but also different minds at work in the field, which makes it even more amazing when distinct views and perspectives of the field and the game intertwine in a coordinated play.

    So again I ask, where does the notion of the player’s mind, travelling amid (almost) obtuse polygonal models, reflect the reality of Football?

  4. I remember when I first played Winning Eleven, for Play Station 1… it was 1999.
    I couldn´t believe how real was that game. Then I said something that my friends still remember almost every time we play (the newest W E): “I´m imagining now, how will be the football games in 2010”
    I swear that my imaginary game was really alike with the one in the video. I fell myself like Jules Verne!
    I hope to play it in a very short time.
    Bye! Great blog!

  5. Sorry, I disagree with this. I don’t see “realism” when I control several people at once. That’s magical and fantastical. It’s fun, but by no means realistic.

  6. I love Wii too, it not so surprising that wii is the best seller game console of the year.

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  9. Muy bueno el punto de vista, me convenciste de comprar el PES tan sólo para evaluar que sensaciones transmite!

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