Video game weaponry

The screenshot depicts a GDF Artillery Interceptor Turret from Quake Wars (left) and the original device that inspired it: Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (right). Both have been taken from an insightful article in Popular Mechanics by Erik Sofge which deals with the design of weaponry in video games and what it means for real weapon design. As the caption in the article says "how long can games mimic reality while still adhering to the balance of their arsenals?". The point the author made is that video game designers are less concerned by sci-fi or real-warfare inspiration than in the game balance.

More interesting IMO, there are intriguing arguments there about the relationship between fictional material and military warfare gear that shed some light between imagination and design:

"If empowering the player by grounding his artillery in the real world is gaming's way of staying current, it's the more distant war-zone style of the alien enemy—ever reliant on their gadgets to do the fighting—that represents gaming's way of building toward the future.

That might explain why futuristic video games—and science-fiction movies and TV shows, for that matter—are such a strange blend of old-fashioned values and forward-looking technology. (...) game developers, ultimately, are almost narrow-minded and self-limiting in their visions of future warfare—not forecasting wars so much as dreaming up cool toy soldiers and tossing them into a virtual paintball arena (where both teams have a fair shot at victory). In our collective fantasy of the wars to come, however, the central fiction of warfare prevails: The fight is ever fair, and clean, and inherently good. Even aliens—the ones that leave plasma mortars behind, not flesh-eating blood stains—have mothers. "

Why do I blog this? as I've already made the case, I am definitely not a fan of weaponry, I just find this article interesting as it uncovers the relationship between a collective imaginary realm (the one of sci-fi warfare) and the design of digital and virtual devices. To some extent, it's a relevant case study about innovation.