In his WWII diary, Jean-Paul Sartre noted that in the world of the war “the meaning of things has changed” and everything becomes only its usefulness for war: “[L]ong before a bomb destroys a man-made object, the human meaning of the object is already destroyed. In wartime we wander through an implement-world.”
What does this remind you of? It reminds me of architecture in videogames. The more “realist” especially. Think about exploring say a GTA game and coming across false doors that are just decoration on a wall of a building that has nothing inside it but a void. It also makes me think of the City of London at the weekend. Everything shut, even the coffee shops and sandwich bars, the buildings may as well be impenetrable sheets of glass. Having only one purpose makes these places empty. In a war everything becomes it’s usage for war. In a videogame if it’s not in the script then it doesn’t exist. In the City of London the buildings exist only for office workers.
Do I expect every door to be a door in videogames? No. Facade-doors often exist in games that reach for realism. Locked, inaccessible doors are to be found in reality more than unlocked ones. It would be a chore to have to investigate what was behind every door in a city level. Nevertheless when walking into solid, door-like walls I tend to feel disappointed. When walking through a realist FPS videogame city with only my disembodied gun-arm for company and being limited, like in real life, to the street, I feel bored. Oh look, some graffiti like some real graffiti and nothing happening like on a real street. Like facebook, realist videogames are a rather mundane sort of hyperreality.