Why real life is more strange then video games

(this is a reprint of a 2013 blogspot article I wrote)

Short Version: Because we blame “the code” for special instances that happen in games but don’t blame it in real life. (looking right at you, Super Bowl 51). The full article is below:


This post is going to reopen some barely healed wounds on my Boston fan’s sports psyche, but what we saw ¬†Monday night is something that can never be duplicated in video games.

We actively seek out the improbable in real life, and actively abhor the improbable in video games.

Two goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup.


That hurts so much to type right now, but what would have happened let’s say in NHL 13.. you’re playing the computer in Game Six of a Stanley Cup finals, up one, and you give up two goals in seventeen seconds to lose the cup, after you’ve played out all the previous games. Do you shake your head and realize the magnitude of what just happened?

The Hell You Do.

One or more of the following happens:

A) The controller’s un-aerodynamic properties are confirmed as it’s thrown aside (in rare cases, into a wall, or bounce off the cushions of the couch at high speed).¬†
B) You hit the reset button on the console.
C) You mutter (either to yourself, to your friends or online) about “comeback code” or the game having it in for you.
D) The game never gets played again.

I have a friend, who will remain nameless, who loves the Football Manager series almost as much as I do, but he has a rule. Should he get screwed over too badly by injuries or freak incidents (either glitches in the game engine, or just things like getting a bunch of red cards in a game), it’s time for the “Three Finger Salute” (ie, closing the game without saving, force closing, and then possibly reload).

That’s why no matter how much developers try, video games will never cause the same depth of feeling as the real thing. There’s no way to cause the joy of the Blackhawks fan who saw the improbable comeback, no way to simulate the pain caused to Bruin fans who had the metaphorical roof fall on their heads (or the joy about something like what they did to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the playoffs.

Aft er all, we see how many bounces, and crazy things happen in a single season, and in the life of a console game, millions of seasons are played. Given enough time and game play, even the most wildly improbable thing is nearly certain to happen, after all.

But maybe it’s a good thing that it’s at best a pale echo of the real thing. After all, there’s enough sports junkies out there without finding a way to give them an artificial fix of the same quality after all.