When it comes to the video games industry there are two distinctive genres of game - realism and fantasy (science fiction). While one offers gamers the opportunity to engage with plausible, sometimes everyday situations, the other tears them from their comfort zone completely. So, which is more popular, and why do gamers love these kinds of games so much? In the red corner... realism Realism allows players to do things they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do, or may not wish to do under ordinary circumstances. Players drawn to combat titles, for example, may not always want to head into battle. These kinds of games are popular because they engage players without stretching the imagination too far; plotlines, characters, and situations are plausible, and so players never have to suspend disbelief in order to understand, and enjoy, what they’re experiencing. This genre of gaming offers a form of escapism, but one that is tangible, and within reach for those who truly dare. Thanks to advances in technology games are more realistic than ever before, encouraging interaction and engagement with realistic graphics and artificial intelligence. Realism games beloved by players The most popular realism games belong to the genres of combat and sport, with titles including Call of Duty, FIFA, Need for Speed, and Grand Theft Auto leading the charge; just because gamers wouldn’t normally choose to act out the situations portrayed in these games doesn’t mean that they couldn’t, if they so chose to. The niche of realism isn’t limited only to consoles, with all of the best online casinos offering players a chance to participate in realistic versions of their favourite pastimes. Slot machines, card games, and board games are recreated in glorious colour, as if players are really seated before a dealer. The only difference here is that opponents may be many thousands of miles away. In the blue corner... fantasy Fantasy games offer escapism without limits; everything goes in this genre. Gamers turn to the fantasy niche when they want to venture into otherworldly realms, face mythical beasts, and journey beyond possibility. Fantasy games tend to feature rich narratives that are woven around characters and situations like a tapestry; gamers are expected to complete quests, rescue damsels, and retrieve artefacts in order to progress the story. Fantasy games rely on the supernatural, mythology, and magic, and are able to take liberties when it comes to portraying events, characters, and situations. Gamers enjoy fantasy because it offers an outlet from the everyday, and because titles in this genre tend to engage their imagination as they play. Fantasy games beloved by players One of the most renowned gaming franchises of this niche is Final Fantasy, a series boasting fifteen games, numerous spin-offs, and several television and film tie-ins. First seeing the light of day in 1987, the Final Fantasy franchise has spawned a legion a copycats, and inspired a whole genre of gaming. Other popular fantasy video games include The Elder Scrolls, The World of Warcraft series, The Legend of Zelda, and EverQuest. Fantasy is also popular across online casinos, enabling developers to push the boundaries of slots, roulette, poker, and other card games; with fantasy, there are no limits. Alongside traditional gaming fair players will find references to fairy stories and popular myths, as well as games born out of the imagination. Jack and the Beanstalk, or Aliens, anyone? Predictions for the future of the video games industry Advancements in technology, including photorealistic visuals, enhanced artificial intelligence, and virtual reality tend to suggest that the way is being paved for massive leaps in the genre of realism; many video games already offer players a heightened sense of realism, which allows them to interact with characters and situations not dissimilar from those they come across every day. However, that’s not to say that the genres of fantasy and science fiction are very far behind. The video games world is one dominated by space travel, dragons, and magical quests, and technological advancements make such occurrences tangible; seen in immense detail these worlds, characters, and quests burst from television screens and games consoles, and it becomes increasingly difficult to determine fact from fiction. Mounting sophistication in the development of artificial intelligence augmented reality, voice and gesture controls, and immersive play is further blurring the lines between realism and fantasy. Soon gamers won’t be able to distinguish fantasy from realism – well, in the moment they are playing, that is. Although technological development is making it difficult to determine fantasy from reality, there will always be one genre that gamers prefer over another; perhaps they’re keen to experience a set of circumstances that are palpable, albeit unlikely, or throw themselves into a world that, until recently, only existed in a developer’s imagination. Whatever a gamer’s reasons for choosing a particular niche, there’s plenty of room for the two to coexist. After all, we all need a little escapism from time to time, whether that’s real or imagined.