The quest for realism in video game graphics

Throughout the technological evolution of modern video games, there has existed a prominent lineage of photorealistic pursuit, of aiming closer and closer toward a graphic image that resembles "the real thing." While one might argue that this lineage is just a natural progression in the utilization of increasing graphic capacity, such a progression doesn’t necessarily have to go in a realist direction as there are other ways to achieve visual detail. My hypothesis is that it has to do with mimesis; the concept that an image is (metaphysically speaking) a representation/imitation of a "real" counterpart object, which has permeated Western aesthetic thought and culture since Ancient Greece. I would love to see an article that examines the lineage of realism in video game graphics through the context of mimesis, looking at the aesthetic theories of Plato and subsequent philosophers and how they have influenced Western visual culture. Or perhaps there are some other potential factors behind the lineage that I’m unaware of – nonetheless it would be a really interesting topic to explore!

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