This paper discusses how contemporary digital games engage critically with the difference between implied and actual referentiality through their visuals. Digital games have a tenuous relationship to reality; in most cases, they are rather simulacra than simulations, offering a simulation-like situation that does not relate to any preceding reality but creates a virtual world precedented only in other fictional or virtual works. The visuals of mainstream, AAA games counteract this ontological disconnect through an overabundance of detail and flourish in a perennial struggle for photorealism. This paper discusses examples which, while generally adhering to this convention, introduce elements of subversion into their visual logic. It will show that there are various metaleptic ludic devices – such as virtual reality environments within virtual worlds and reality-changing paintings – with which contemporary digital games reflect subtly upon their own relationship to reality.
|Translated title of the contribution||Self-Reflexive Simulacra: Visuality as Meta-Commentary|
|Journal||Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|