Simulacrum

It may sound like I totally just made up this word from no where but this is word that discribes simularity and likeness.
The term can be used for when something real is simply ‘copied’ to the point that it appears real or as close to real as possible. An example of this could be when someone creates a painting when using a real reference and painting it or re-creating in such a way that it’s realistic itself.

When you look at the gaming and creative industry today, they constantly try to create these worlds that consider simulacrum and this links back to the post on immersion earlier. To create something so similar that the world itself seems real. Even small points of simulacrum can make the world appear much more real and evolving. The theory itself gets further and more deep than simply a copy of a world or using real world references to simply to create another world that players and people can believe in.
‘Modern French social theorist Jean Baudrillard, argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal.’
This part is just too hard for me to explain in any more of a simpler term so here’s the point that I found on good ol’ Wikipedia….
‘Simulation, Baudrillard claims, is the current stage of the simulacrum: All is composed of references with no referents, a hyperreality.’
‘…suggests that the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world, where we seek simulated stimuli and nothing more.’

So when he speaks about hyperreality he believes that we have gotten so far as to no longer see what is real and what is only but simulacrum. In a world where a multitude of other worlds, enviroments and lives are created continuously; we lose track of what is real as well as the inability to filter real or original events and experiences. This idea can be linked with gaming within the world today and more modern situations where people have become so ‘immersed’ and ‘addicted’ (which is a whole other point!) to the games that they have slipped into this world of hyperreality in which experiences in the game become reality. When you believe what the game tells you and that their are so many layers of what is real and copies that you lose yourself within this.

An interesting example of hyperreality linked with Casino’s I’ve placed below also could be interpreted in gaming. The point is that the create industry creates such a world that brings you back for more, it takes you further and further away from reality which does link back to Ryan’s points within her book speaking about Immersion and the point about creating a new world better or more free than our own.

‘Interacting in a hyperreal place like a casino gives the subject the impression that one is walking through a fantasy world where everyone is playing along. The decor isn’t authentic, everything is a copy, and the whole thing feels like a dream. What isn’t a dream, of course, is that the casino takes your money in exchange for chips, which you are more apt to give them when your consciousness doesn’t really understand what’s going on. In other words, although you may intellectually understand what happens at a casino, your consciousness thinks that gambling money in the casino is part of the “not real” world. It is in the interest of the decorators to emphasize that everything is fake, to make the entire experience seem fake. The casino succeeds in turning money itself into an object with no inherent value or inherent reality.’

Although not such a ‘bad’ term the creative industry isn’t interested in emphasizing the fakeness of it all although it does intend to do the first part of the statement. This would giving the player the impression of a fantasy world that is actually a copy of something they wish already; the world feels like a dream and this dream you can re-visit any time you want and within this dream you are the creator, detroyer, lover, god.

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One thought on “Simulacrum

  1. Hey, I wrote my dissertation on Videogames as Postmodern Media. I did my degree in Film Studies but by my final year I fancied writing about something else. I use Baudrillard as well as Lyotard to apply postmodern theory to gaming in general and then an indepth textual analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2 as a postmodern text.

    If you’re at all interested, I could send you it, although to someone who knows about videogames it seems a little clunky (I had to break down some terms for academics that didn’t know much about games)

    Let me know on twitter: @destroyapathy

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