How to make video games more realistic

Since this is an arena constantly filled with opportunities, it's time for another rant against violent video games. In my first one, I lamented the negative effects they have on our younger generations. The continuous play causes such obvious consequences as increasing the 'idiot' content in idiot-teenagers ('idiot-gamers' perhaps is more appropriate), almost eliminates the miniscule time (if any) they spend reading books and generally drives our education system into the sewer. Now, without admitting defeat, I think it is time to cast my social conscience to the wind, step down from the lofty, moral pedestal and cash in on this patently irreversible trend by making these games as realistic as possible.

I constantly hear about how 'realistic' the violent video games already are, and how the screen-displays of blood, gore and flying body-parts all look authentic. I have to ask though, how can some spoiled-brat, idiot-teenager, living in a comfortable American-city suburb, sitting in his or her own bedroom, watching a 4-foot, flat-screen TV have the faintest clue as to what realistic violence is like? Well, until this precise moment, I would have hazarded the response "they can't", but now, with my soon-to-be-introduced gadget, they will ... in spades.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have formed a new company, Authentigame Inc., and let me introduce to you the 'Real-i-stik' (pronounced re-al-ee-stick, with something of a faint Russian accent to lend credibility), tomorrow's video game innovation today, and for only $199.95!

Let us start with two of the main elements that are missing in so-called 'realistic' video games - pain and fear. Well, despair not, for the 'Real-i-stik' (patented, of course) addresses both of these issues with breakthrough technologies.

The 'Real-i-stik' is a video-game controller with some important differences. For starters, the 'Real-i-stik' works on any of the video game systems, so in one fell swoop, I have done for the video gaming industry what my Universal Power Plug did for the computer and cell-phone industries (no thanks necessary). Secondly, the packaging for the 'Real-i-stik' is HUGE - never mind the quality, feel the width. The 'Real-i-stik' comes in a large, cardboard container (suitably covered with the usual stylized photos of people being blown up or losing limbs), and the instructions are printed in a realistic blood-red color. Inside the package is a power supply, a large, camouflage-painted (or 'camo' as we gamers like to call it) plastic box about 1' square and 2' tall, and then the 'Real-i-stik' itself with all the necessary cables etc. I would normally reproduce a picture of the actual device, but it is still under wraps and I don't want to alienate my financial backers by leaking the detailed specifications, so please forgive me. All you then have to do is connect the power supply to the back of the box, connect the 'Real-i-stik' to the front, plug it in to the wall socket and Bob's your uncle!

Now it's time to play, so load up your favorite, 'realistically violent' video game and start your gaming, but play carefully, because now REAL reality will rear its sometimes ugly head.

Let's start with FEAR, because this is a fairly usual emotion when you are being shot at, or having flamethrowers blast at you, or giant zombies rushing towards you with red-hot swords and trying to decapitate you (hmmm, perhaps that one is not so real!). The 'Real-i-stik' has a set of built-in hardware chips and associated software deliberately designed to terrify any idiot-teenager/gamer. When you get shot/burned/blown up/decapitated the first time, the 'Real-i-stik' will instantly delete one of your iPhone applications - pretty scary eh? The second time, it will get even worse as one of your Facebook friends will instantly be 'unfriended' and sent a very scathing post on their wall from you - now see how scary it's getting. The third time, the 'Real-i-stik' will instantly tweet to all your twit friends and tell them that you are actually reading a book. You will then completely lose credibility with anyone in school/work, and become irreversibly labeled as a nerd - and there is nothing more scary than that (except perhaps when Hollister doesn't have your size in stock when you are at the mall. Like, er whatever!)

And then there is PAIN, and the 'Real-i-stik' shows its true genius when you get shot/burned/blown up/decapitated for the fourth time in a gaming session. The large, camouflaged box to which the 'Real-i-stik' is connected is actually a giant capacitor lurking in the bedroom, and the moment that the TV screen turns red, as fake blood covers the screen, a 4,000 volt discharge rushes through the 'Real-i-stik' into the once-nimble little teenage fingers and hurls the operator against the opposite bedroom wall. (There is a 'laugh track' option available for an additional $9.95) The intense and realistic electric discharge makes breathing difficult for about 30 minutes, the smoking burns on finger tips will take a week or two to heal and the odd broken arm or rib will be REALLY painful for a month or so. There, at last you have a REALISTIC violent video game - enjoy.

Remember the motto of our company "there is NOTHING more realistic than a 'Real-i-stik'"!

Glyn Meek, with 40 years of experience in the technology industry, has earned his curmudgeonly outlook.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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