#10: SimCity 2000 (PC)
The first Simcity game started as a fun simulation, which allowed the player to explore and experience what it felt like to run a city. Players could place building zones and roads for the residents to build upon on and watch their city grow. The player would also experience encountering problems and solving these problems to sustain their cities rating and population. Such problems include riots, crime and fires which can burn the entire city to the ground however the graphics of SimCity was a top down view, tile set, which was used to represent the SimCity world.
The first SimCity was enough of a success for EA to produce a sequel and this led them to improve the games graphics to appeal for a wider range of players, aswell as for games veterans.
Simcity 2000 scrapped the topdown tile graphics for an isometric view to present the game. EA created simple buildings and trees to skyscrapers and modern bridges to represent the city. Overall, the cities looked great as much as you would see when you would look out a window of an airplace or from a very tall building.
Simcity 2000 inspired many games after it's release with the game idea as many other business simulations started to use the same style of graphics to represent the game (eg. Capitalism). The Simcity sequel being released in 1993, used the tag 2000 in the title as a way to represent the interest of it's time, as a few people were excited to look forward to the year 2000. This was how people were thinking back then before the year 2000.
The game isn't entirely based in the 90s, as the game can be forwarded to take place beyond the year 2000, up to the year 2050, however the game uses the setting as a base to what it may look like in the future and have visionary content for that, mixed in with the contemporary ideas and buildings of it's time.
Not everyone could be Mayor in real life and some people like problem solving in a city as a challenge, so what better way to feel the experience of being a major of a city, then to put it all into a video game. I think the graphics helped to understand and bring in it's bigger audience as EA later produced sequels for later Simcity games.
The Yakuza series isn't as dark as anyone would think. The game does everything it can to show the Yakuza in the modern city of Japan. The Yakuza series has done everything to bring a section of modern Japanese life onto the PlayStation consoles by showing off an in-depth lifestyle and story of the Yakuza.
Each of the game takes place around the same year as the game Japanese release. ie, Yakuza (2005), Yakuza 2 (2006) Yakuza 3 (2006-2009) and future instalments. This game is interesting because even thou they're the Japanese Mafia and the underworld whom are often seen as dark figures of society, the Yakuza games portrays them the opposite has the game series attempt to explore and emulate in such depth the lifestyle of the Yakuza. The Yakuza in this game are often exposed to mainstream J-POP culture, such as food, gaming and television, along with other media which adds heavily to the games world, character and setting.
You take control of Kiryu Kazuma. A young Yakuza member who ends up in prison and released 10 years later in 2004 only to find that the town has changed alot and where everyone is looking for millions of yen which everyone talks about being missing. The story is can be very predictable sometimes.
Sega crammed pretty much anything you can think off... from fire extinguishers, baseball bats and giant traffic cones to a gritty city plastered with Japanese kenji adverts and to a crowded street who are walking too and from work or simply out there to enjoy the colorful night-life.
Although the game does not say much of the games location, much of the game takes place in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward, most noticeably a recreation of Shinjuku's red-light district Kabukichi, which is famous for its hostess bars, host clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and its organized crime presence however in the other games the game takes place in other locations such as Osaka in Yakuza 2 and Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa in Yakuza 3 which happened to be mixed in with Kabukichi;.
The sequels of the game does everything to add and build upon the culture within a Japanese culture both commercially and in the underground world. More objects, fashion, items, stories, lifestyles and alot more. Sega went the full length to include Club Sega and to include the Sega UFO Catcher machine in Yakuza 3.
Many people have mistaken this as the Grand Theft Auto in Japan... it's not really the case as you don't drive cars and vehicles and all sorts (not until Yakuza 5, you actully get to drive a car). The game also includes real life adverts across town of Japanese products and services, which adds to the realism of the neigherhood within the world.
The PlayStation 3 really brings out the feel of the places in Yakuza 3 with the photo-realism rendering the game has going for it and really gives a feel what it's like walking around a few places in Japan as it's filled with loads of mini-games in great detail which have nothing to do with the story and give players alot to do and explore. This game has a strong following of fans despite being a small community of fans who enjoy the game.
The game Hitman has you taking control of a mysterious figure with the codename, 47 who works for a contracting agency named The Agency. Hitman who is ordered to assassinate characters around the world on behalf on various clients who pay to do so.
The Hitman games always grew upon the crowd of other games for it's stylish mix of modern and classical era themes across the world. The game set in the modern day around the same time as the games are released. The game world is littered with classical artefacts such as musical instruments, furniture and classical interiors in the modern world such as metal detector machines, weapons and other modern objects..
IO Interactive, the creators of the Hitman series have done everything they could to make the world as immerse as they possibly could. Each of the locations are mapped from the real world and they try everything they can to include as much detail and decoration to bring out the world, to make it as realistic yet as stylish as possible.
The first Hitman game has a few settings which offers the player to approach the games goals anyway they wanted. From exploring interiors or alleys in Hong Kong ran by the Triads to casually walking around in Hotel in Budapest, Hungary to sneaking around the worlds largest port in the world, Rotterdam, Holland to assassinate characters.
The success of the first game lead to a sequel, where the levels are set in other locations in Hitman 2. Players can explore the terrain and levels of these locations as they play the game. The developers added a few interesting elements in the sequels, such as making objects kill the target, making the scene look like an accident to police sketches in Hitman: Blood Money being drawn up if non-playing characters see Agent 47 in action and witness him as the murderer, making the game much more difficult for the player in later missions.
The game weapons selection does everything it can to include as many popular weapons around the world and gadgets, which Agent 47 can use, from pistols to assault rifles and melee weapon, which added to the assortment of things to do in the open world of Hitman.
The success of the game series as led to a movie being released in 2006, just to show how easy it was for some folks to make the movie. It's also been said that a reboot of the movie is currently in development and set to release for this year, at the time I'm typing this.
America's Army is a free to play online multiplayer game putting the player into the shoes of an American solider and take it onto the online battlefields to fight against terrorists organizations. The game allows the player to play as both side and features maps of possible battlefield scenarios that are present in the real world.
The game was designed by Lt. Col. Casey Wardynsk. He thought it was a good idea to use video games to promote the army and to give players an insight to what being a solider is really like. This is due to the problem having that some recruits who train in the army who never complete the 9 weeks of basic training, so this game was created and offered for players to provide a good insight to what to expect before they start training. The game proved to be effective and successful into providing the experience and information before anyone who wanted to join the Army for the real training and going into service.
The America's Army online game uses the Unreal Engine 2. While it's just a video game and meant to be entertaining and fun. America's Army takes the step to admit that it's a recruitment tool too welcome soldiers to join the Army with such knowledge. This includes having close to realistic locations and weapons in the game. The game features real weapons in the game, both American and foreign weapons, such as the M16A2 Assault weapons, AK47 and M249. The game also features IED aswell, which are often created and used by terrorists.
The success of America's Army has allowed the game to get frequent updates and has even spawned sequels made using the Unreal Engine 3. There's not much to say about America's Army photo-realistic graphics and how close it is to real life other then it uses alot of military assets to war torn locations during battle to give the game that realistic feel. The game does this to provide the reality of world and to experience what the battlefield is like and by giving the player a combat experience of what it's like being an American solder.
The America's Army success online as given it room to create a single player spin-off on the Xbox titled 'America's Army: Rise of a Soldier' (Pictured) and an arcade version of the game was released in 2007.
The EA Sports games started in 1991, after picking up after the Madden NFL Football in 1988 and also started making games on other sports such as NHL, FIFA and NBA. This soon grew across a whole range of sports from Cricket, NASCAR and the UFC. Many of the games uses official licenses on teams and plays them at official and popular locations across the world.
Console hardware improvements over the years for over the past two decades as allowed EA Sports to bring out the realism of the sports, to make the sports feel as realistic as possible. This include random gestures and players reactions, making a custom player, which can be different from all the other players on the field to little details that players can perform, which add a bit more depth within the sports being made by EA.
The biggest talk from the community is many sports figures have also been featured on the front cover of many EA Sports games, which gets this gaming community talking sometimes and maybe the sporting industry aswell, which makes it easy for EA to present their games in the modern era and the years they release their games in. EA Sports are still focusing on getting the player to know that it's just a game, for Madden 2014, they renamed it Madden 25 to celebrate the 25 years, EA Sports has been making the Madden games for the market.
Sometimes EA Sports mixes up the games content by including historical teams and players in their games, such as past teams in the Madden games to compete with current teams or Bruce Lee being featured in the first UFC game, however most of the contact is from the years the game is made in.
The Gran Turismo series is a racing game, where you have a chance to race over hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles across many races tracks from around the world. The Gran Turisimo series compiles alot of vehicles across different years and allows the player to take the vehicles onto the race tracks. The releases of all the games have allowed Polyphony Digital to also include the latest vehicles in the game and even concept vehicles, which have never been released such as the Nissan 350 Z which was released in 2002, which appeared in Gran Turismo 3, which was released in 2001 and the latest being Gran Turismo 6, which was released during the end of 2013, which included various 2014 models in the game, such as the Corvette Stingray 2014 model with interiors.
The Gran Turisimo series for the PlayStation consoles shows off what the PlayStation can do with it's ultra-realistic setting, which no other racing game could do. The series always sets the bar of what realism can do for consoles compared to many other games which are usually released when very Gran Turismo game is released. The strong realism brings the player closer to what driving is like within a racing game.
The game aims to be as realistic as possible, where the vehicles have accurate physics which respond to how the vehicles drive in the game. This includes tire wear, fuel usage, where players can refuel and if they are low on fuel aswell as performance upgrade. From Gran Turismo 4, the game started to include the G-Force meter. Gran Turismo 5 and 6 included electronic vehicles in the game series, interiors for many of the vehicles and other small details, making many of the vehicle models alot more indepth to the real world counterparts.
There are other racing games that include and take part in the modern setting when they are released, however Gran Turisimo is the biggest thing to a game that is set in the modern world and tries to do anything it can to make car enthusiast to new players interested to the series.
The Modern Warfare series took alot of people and gamers by surprise. Taking a break from the World War 2 setting from the previous games, While the first Modern Warfare game, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released in 2007, the first game takes place in 2011, however there not much difference in how the setting changed compared to what the game was released.
The game uses modern weapons and concepts as the setting for the game. There are alot of weapons in the game, from the standard rifles and pistols. Later within the games series, in Modern Warfare 2, the game features alot more weapons across multiplayer and single player, which players can pick up and have fun using in the game.
The biggest feature are the games locations in which the games takes place in. The game has a story, which links the locations together for the game. The game takes place in various locations around the world, such as mountain areas of Russia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine and many more locations, which many sights and sounds, set for the modern day era or as a flashback to fit with the games story. The game sequels doesn't stop the player travelling to many more regions around the world in the modern day setting, such as Brazil, Siberia and Afghanistan, all rendered nicely in photorealism.
The first games reception was extremely strong, many have noticed the game to revolutionize the way games are made and presented and this has led to two more sequels in the Modern Warfare series. Modern Warfare 2 was released in 2009 across many platforms and Modern Warfare 3 was released in 2011. The following instalments of Call of Duty switch it up a bit and keep the idea of war across many different time periods which are Black Ops, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare, to keep the game fresh and appealing for Call of Duty fans, old or new.
#3: Heavy Rain (PS3)
Heavy Rain is another great example of how well a game can present itself and look on current generation consoles. The game is an interactive drama, action adventure, which follows four characters in the game to solve the mystery of the Origami killer. The game has a strong modern feel to it with many mechanics on objects found in every day life, such as opening a door or drawer, shaving and getting dress. It's may be a small world compared to many of the titles on this list but it has many things to do. The game picks up and the next think you'll find is the characters walking or running around, throwing punches, avoiding traps and performing other interesting moving actions, that make the gameplay would while, which hasn't been seen in any other game to date.
The developers of this game Quantic Dream are no strangers to making a game set in modern contemporary setting. Quantic Dream developed Indigo Prophecy for the PS2 and Xbox which sets in New York, which sets the game with a gruesome murder by someone who became possessed by a possible spirit and the games actions depends on the player mood as the game goes on the main character unlocks a super-natural and the game starts to lose the contemporary realistic feel to make it more of a fantasy then a real life setting.
Heavy Rain is another game but is more down to earth and stays in the modern real life setting, fully rendered in 3D to present it's game. No film or movie, just pure 3D graphics ran on console hardware. The game takes advantage of the photo-realistic rendering to make the visuals worth while and realistic as possible. Being released on the PlayStation 3, the Move edition of the game takes advantage of the motion controls released by Sony to allow players to feel a bit more closer as they wave their motion controller to the games interaction.
It's interesting to note. The game doesn't actually state which year the game is set in, as many players have noticed. After a quick search engine look up, a few people are saying the game takes place in 2011 after the games release in 2010 after being confirmed in various interviews, Maybe because they wanted to make the game collide with 2011 thinking the game was being delayed or where expecting alot of players to talk about how good the game is to the point where everyone is talking about it in 2011 and the game doesn't state it. Who knows why this was.
Many games now a days are using motion capture and facial capture technology. Quantic Dreams later went on to make Beyond: Two Souls with Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe to continue the interactive drama in video games by using the same technology and I believe it's beginning to show how actors are slowing using their image and talent to be placed in a video games.
I chosen Grand Theft Auto 3, compared to the fourth and fifth games, which both use photo-realistic graphics on current generation consoles because it was the time where alot happened where it effected the games development. I think GTA3 representation of New York at the time, was something many players could relate too and accepted before photo-realistic graphics was common in video games today.
The game is set around the same time the game was released in October 2001. The game is set in Library City. A fictional city inspired by New York city around this time. Every object in the game is craft to fit the feel of Library City which is based off New York. The city has the new york feel on the games objects and scenery, such as the yellow New York taxi, street lights and cityscape. The games weather system also gives that feeling aswell, such as the rain and the snow, to give the area a more New York feeling. The characters in the game really makes the city come to life with early use of multiculturalism from all parts of the game as the main character explores Liberty City Characters who are Italian, Chinese and Latino representing the cast of Grand Theft Auto 3. The game has many cut-scenes which are referenced by many movies aswell, which makes it more the entertaining to watch and this has never stopped in future instalments of Grand Theft Auto.
The games city feel and dynamic simulation along with content of crime and immoral actions the from the players within the game did caught the attention of public, media interest and even caught the attention of a few video game developers who opposed the content in GTA3 compared to other previous Grand Theft Auto titles, with regarding the players actions and violences which can happen within the game. It's even prompted lawsuits from some individuals against the publishers Take-Two and it's developers Rockstar and the game. The games content went to full lengths to infamously spawn and fame Jack Thompson, a lawyer who opposed the games content to pursue the idea that the release of GTA 3 was a bad influence in society and he has even dubbed Grand Theft Auto 3 a 'cop killing simulator'. The modern contemporary feel of the game may help contribute to such an impact of the public reaction to what the game presented.
One of the more other interesting things to note is that this game was set and released in 22th October 2001, which was over a month (41 days) after the 9/11 attacks to spawned conspiracy theories and too uncover urban legends about if the games development was affected because of the attack which had gathered public interest. It's been reported that Rockstar did made changes to the game because of the 9/11 attacks and it's been confirmed directly by Rockstar that they did remove 1% of the games content. These were a single mission which referenced terrorists a few pedestrian comments, removed and changed a few textures and also changed a few radio dialogue because of the attacks.
Grand Theft Auto 3 hasn't stop placing it's contemporary setting in it's sequels. Grand Theft Auto IV was set when the game was released in 2008 and Grand Theft Auto V was set in the same year when the game was released in 2013.
Grand Theft Auto 3 may not be prefect as it's displays such violence in such a realistic world settled in a modern era however highly deserves the 2nd spot of this list. I do think the representative likeness to the real world do help to achieve this.
#1: The Sims (PC)
While EA was taking advantage of all the Sim-anything they can make out off. Will Wright decided to design and make the Sims which was released in 2000 for the PC. The Sims is a life simulator from Maxis and published by EA. The game is set in your everyday American home, where you run the sims life and find them jobs, take care of their health by fulfilling their everyday needs, such as hunger, hygiene and among other personal needs.
The game is open ended, you get to create and customize your sims right casual looking clothing. You can also customize your sims house with casual furniture, wallpaper and all sorts of objects. The game presents itself challenges by maintaining your sims needs, which if the player neglect, the sims run into accidents, such as being knocked out if they don't sleep, missing work if they don't go to work when they should and complaining if they are too bored and don't experience any fun. Sometimes the environment also effects the Sims aswell, such as not clearing up rubbish, which builds around the house, making your sims bed or simply not flushing or cleaning the toliet from time to time.
Some of the other games challenges occur unexpectedly, such as putting out fires, preventing fights if other sims simply don't like your sims and getting robbed of furniture by a burglar that drops by once in a while. (The game has a burglar alarm, which you can fitted in the house, if you want to catch the burglar and I learnt that the hard way after getting robbed three times)
The first Sims was a massive success. So much of a success that The Sims for the Xbox, Gamecube and PS2 was made, but is actually a spin-off then a port which improves from the PC version in various ways. The console version has a objective based story mode unlike PC open world game but still maintains the open ended nature for the game, such as interacting with various people, getting different lines of work or career paths and building the house your sims live in. The game is also modelled entirely in 3D and you can actually rotate around the house, unlike the PC games which has got 2D rendered elements in the game, with a fixed camera position.
The game is more popular towards females, then a male audience, which amazed many people who play or watch people play video games, as many people at the time always thought that video games was a male dominated market. It's more of a phenomenon then by design, as the game is intended for everyone of both genders. It just happens that many females play the game more then guys when the first Sims game was released.
The Sims which started as a simple Life Simulator has expanded to offer many expansion packs, spins off, sequels and even has a massive modding community who enjoy making custom clothing, hair and objects for the game and upload them across various. I actually believe it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest modding communities I've seen for any game, as The Sims Resources is one of the biggest sites which takes in contributions of custom sims content by needs to be submited by an approval process.
The game expansion packs attempt to jump off retail shelves with something new in the Sims. The game expansions started off with simple themes like Nightlife and University and slowly big name companies started to appear like Ikea, H&M fashion for the Sims 2 and Diesel items for the Sims 3. Then the popular singer Katy Perry has even taken a swing to make an expansion with furniture based off her Candyland music video for the Sims 3 and also because she's a massive fan of the Sims game.
Not all the spins off are set in modern day likeness, such as Sims Medieval and Castaway however that's just something the game does after it's popular success of the previous games. Is it any surprise that it's an Electronic Arts Game that took the top spot!?
I think it's clear that a few video games are going towards the contemporary art direction, many game developers choose to keep the fantasy or historical settings, however games which use the modern feel, contributes to the contemporary sense and many people relate to them and it's sometimes nice to look back at these video games, to remind us that the time of it's release is clear.
Other games which use the contemporary setting include The Microsoft Flight Simulator Series, Euro Truck Simulator, Metal Gear The Getaway, Bully however they are must more sub-classed compared to the other games on the list however it just shows how developers do everything can they to make the games to be able to reach it's audience, so we can relate alot more quicker as we play them,
I believe video games using a contemporary theme for it's setting is one of the ways many developers use to communicate to it's audience and to open the possibly to attract and welcome an audience to give them an unique experience like no other. Whether is meant to be a straightforward experience or to shock the crowd with violence scenes like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or Hitman series or use it as an education tool and present it as a simulators like America's Army, Gran Turismo or The Sims. It's an niche art worth noting and I think it defines how games are marketed and effects many people and players who watch and play them.
List by 91210user (01/26/2015)
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