Title says it all: Should games try and achieve photo-realism?
What do I mean by photo-realism? Simply put (though perhaps not the best definition), I mean trying to achieve the closest possible representation of reality by means of a graphic (non-reality....Be it painting, drawing, animation, etc ) medium.
So this is topic is made with a visual interest in mind....but can we ignore the fact that games are interactive? I feel that would be disingenuous.
Games are cartoonish in the sense that they can be a representation of reality without actually being reality. Meaning that games can never be more than a simulation of the real world. Our mind recognizes what an apple is in a game and thinks 'food' and 'I can eat that!' or the even the more gamey 'this can restore my health!" In reality you can use the apple as, say, a door stopper if you're creative, but the systems in place in a simulation make it so you can only interact with the apple in the way the simulation says you can.
This may seem that I'm against photo-realism in games. In actuality, I'm quite neutral on the whole 'issue'. Well, neutral leaning towards the positive side of things.
While some may argue that photo-realism is bad because, as mentioned above, technology can't replicate reality without it being reality and therefore shouldn't try, I look at photo-realism as a whole and what people have done to trick the eyes, via wax sculptures, paintings, etc and I can see that there's a place for it because there's a moment where we can be fooled and the uncanny valley can be shot back up to a place where our minds can be in awe knowing that what we see is fake, but so close to the real thing that we forget.
There's a lot of negatives as well. Including money, time, effort, and so on. And that so far, games that look real often have blemishes that can ruin one's illusion and that cartoonish games often look more pleasing to the eye and can give us a good representation of reality as is without the need for such time, money, effort, and so on. Some may say that it's impossible to replicate the visual aspect of reality through a game and there's something to be said about that too.
And there's the side that's going to say games have achieved photo-realism already. While this is a good argument in a sense, it's one I can't agree with. As games are more a technological medium, there's always going to be more ways as technology grows to help us better achieve photo-realism and as such, what we perceive as photo-realistic now probably won't be considered such in the years to come. That's not to say games haven't tried their hardest to copy reality, but the sense of animation, visuals, and attention to detail hasn't quite gotten past the uncanny valley stage, in my opinion.
So what do you think? Should games keep trying to achieve photo-realism?