Tuesday, September 03, 2002

The simulation of fiction
Is a game such as Anarchy Online a fictitious environment: one depended on fiction and the acceptance of this fiction, or is it a simulated: one dependent on ”as if”, acting on known rules but in a controlled environment?

I’d say fictitious: there is no simulation, because it’s not pretending to be something we know from the real world. It pretends to be not virtual reality but fictive reality. The “as if” in anarchy Online is not dependent on the known rules of nature, society or law, it’s dependent on the pretense, the fantasy and the fiction. It’s the simulation of a day-dream. But a day-dream has no reality to simulate, so it’s the simulation of the realisation of the daydream – the only connection it has to simulating reality is through the rules both obey. Or is that theories? When building a simulation of Mars, it’s not resting on facts, but on theory. That Fantasy adventure-, role-playing or simulation games are closer to theory than empirical data should not surprise those of us who are aware of the connection between science, science fiction and fantasy.

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