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Back in the day we got our thrills by physically pretending to do things we couldn’t actually do. We drove go-karts to simulate NASCAR racing and bashed our LEGOs into each other while saying “PEW PEW PEW!” because we didn’t have any TIE fighters on hand. Then videogames came along and were all like, “You wanna blow up some TIE fighters?” and we were like, “Yeah we do,” and they were like, “Well check this shit out,” and that was great.
After a while, however, even that got a bit tiresome, and as we got older and our disdain for doing things grew, game publishers caught on. That’s why we can now pretend to pretend to do things, distancing ourselves from actual activity as thoroughly as modern technology will allow. As evidence, here are 10 games that don’t let you pretend to be a soldier, a star athlete or anything remotely cool, but do let you pretend to pretend to be them, which is just what we always wanted.
What it simulates: Paintball
What its simulation is a simulation of: Actual combat
War isn’t particularly fun when it’s real, which is why most of us choose to play war games over actually enlisting and getting shot at. Paintball is great for that, and you definitely won’t get the same adrenaline rush from playing CoD 4. But that’s actual paintball. A game based on paintball is just the same as any other shooter except that it simulates something you could go do right now.
Above: The green blob monsters are bleeding rainbow juice! What do you mean there are no monsters in this game?
What it simulates: Babysitting
What its simulation is a simulation of: Actual parenthood
Parenthood is one of the most demanding and rewarding aspects of human existence. It isn’t absurd that games would be designed simulate our primal desire to reproduce and care for offspring. It is absurd to pretend to pretend to be a parent.
Above: It’s just like we’re really taking care of someone else’s kids while they do something fun, except we don’t get paid
What it simulates: Kart Racing
What its simulation is a simulation of: Car racing
How did we miss kart racing’s transition from a scaled down, casual version of racing and “something to do on the weekend” to a professional sport? Not that there’s anything wrong with “karting” gaining legitimacy… except that climbing into a tiny car and skimming across the ground seems slightly less cool than revving the engine of a sports car. But if you like getting dust and pebbles kicked in your face, this could be your sport.
Above: This game boasts “Game play that captures the speed, adrenaline and thrills of Kart racing.” It does not, however, capture the cramped legs and embarrassment