ML: It's an interesting question, and one that I ask myself occasionally. There are times when I feel that realism inhibits the amount of creativity you can do in your game. When designing the gameplay for Tactical Intervention, I had to do things that were illogical…for the sake of making the game exciting and fun. For example, the amount of damage the player takes is slightly exaggerated, because I feel that prolonging the firefights is more exciting than having people dropping like flies at first contact with an enemy.
I feel drawn to realistic games because I find they're more tangible to the player. I don't have to explain a set of fantasy rules for players to understand how to play the game. Most players are able to relate to the environment, mechanics of player movement, and weapon handling in a fairly autonomous manner. Going off on a tangent, I prefer watching movies that are somewhat based on reality more so than ones that aren't, because I can relate to the environment and theme of the movie, and that allows me to fully appreciate the actions of the characters more.