Simulation Fever

From Persuasive Games by Ian Bogost:

Previously, I have argued that videogames represent in the gap between procedural representation and individual subjectivity. The disparity between the simulation and the player’s understanding of the source system it models creates a crisis in the player; I named this crisis simulation fever, a madness through which an interrogation of the rules that drive both systems begins. The vertigo of this fever — one gets simsick as he might get seasick — motivates criticism.

Procedural rhetoric also produces simulation fever. It motivates a player to address the logic of a situation in general, and the point at which it breaks and gives way to a new situation in particular.

2 thoughts on “Simulation Fever

  1. Simsick might also be seen widely in many social environments (including work and especially in total institutions) where the real rules masquerade under the formal rules. Learning the real rules is usually part of the initiation process. Of course it is possible that simsick isn’t intended at all, just that the simulation is underdetermined. Or to borrow an anthropological phrase (crosslink to Savage Minds entry on Game of Thrones: http://savageminds.org/2014/07/02/game-of-thrones-and-anthropology/), “it’s complicated.”

    1. Good point! I hadn’t considered “simsick” entirely outside of videogames. “Is it just me or is your simulation underdetermined?” — what a great way to explain your disorientation at the new institute.

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