Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Reality in Video Games: How realistic are they?

As I mentioned in my previous post immersion is a big thing for video games, it can often play a large role in how well a game is received in the community or how well it sells overall. Yes there are cases where caution is thrown to the wind and it works , I’m looking at you goat simulator , but for the most there seems to some resemblance to how the world works in video games.

However just are realistic or completely unrealistic, are games which are considered relatively tame? Ignoring clear cases such as Mario’s jumping prowess or the various fantasy and sci-fi games that exist in the world, there are some games which seem to be based on historical periods and with the intent of realism, one such game being the series ‘Assassin’s Creed’ . Now for those unfamiliar with the series, it takes place in various time periods throughout history with the player controlling a titular assassin in his or her day to day assassin-y stuff, it’s a bit of poor explanation but it’ll do.

Now the important part of this, or rather the questionable part is when a player performs a ‘leap of faith‘ (seen below) jumping from a large height and landing into a pile of hay or similar materials and walking away unscathed. Well in 2014 that’s exactly what a team of scientists from the University of Leicester aimed to find out.

Team of four; Gregor McQuade, Michael Walker, Lee Garland and Thomas Bradley published their paper ‘A3_5 Falling into Straw‘ in the Journal of Physics Special Topics in November 2014. In their paper they aimed to look at the relation of the height of the jump and survivability, as the pile of hay or straw which the character would jump into was the same regardless of the jump height.

What they found was that the absolute maximum height in which a person could survive by landing in what they calculated as approximately 1.5 metres of hay 50 metres, however you wouldn’t exactly be walking away from it. Instead what they found was that, that amount of hay would ‘safely’ cushion for a drop of 12 to 13 metres.

So what exactly does this mean for reality in the sense of video games? Well in terms of physics and a practical sense of the impossible versus the possible, I think it’s rather clear from the get go about video games , similar to other works of fiction, have their short comings. That’s not to demerit their purpose or worth but rather to say that analyzing them based of scientific merit might ruin the fun for some.

In short next time you’re playing a video game and find yourself thinking that can’t be real, whether fortunately or unfortunately you’re probably right.




One comment on “Reality in Video Games: How realistic are they?

  1. josephkolotelo
    May 8, 2016

    I do like the fact you used Assassins creed to explain how some aspects in video games may not be realistic. The reason for this is the game itself is quite historically accurate and some people may get the illusion that because of this fact that some of the stuff preformed by the assassins may be replicated in present time. The study you provided was also really interesting, i didn’t realise that people looked into this and to determine the survival hight of a human takes a lot of math and skill to find out. I mean i wouldn’t expect anyone to be jumping for a hight like that anytime soon but all in all, the blog was great it was worth the read, plus good topic!


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This entry was posted on May 8, 2016 by in Burwood - Wednesday 12pm.

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