Video games are all about transporting us to other locations. When we want a chance to escape from this modern, stress-filled wonderland of social expectations mashed together with career goals and physical needs, we turn to video games. They offer us the ability to view entire universes that are distinctly different from our own. Even when video games are based on real places or events, there is something magical about them. That's why it's equally special when video games take inspiration from and borrow real-world concepts and items to blend into their games. I mean, there are cell phones in Final Fantasy XV for crying out loud, right?
I've seen plenty of other instances of games using things from the real-world a little more literally than others might ever dream of. While the fantastical realms of video games are wonderful, there's always room for a little reality to be injected in there. One such prime example I've run into recently is the dual entries of Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty. These are games based in a fantasy world of kings, queens, and magic. You use decks of cards to make decisions that will change your realm, and your own fate, forever. This might all sound like something straight out of a fantasy novel thus far, but there's one thing that makes Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty very unique. Those cards that you use to make decisions? Well the way they are chosen might seem familiar to some.
The biggest selling point for Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty is the one simple mechanic in the games. To choose a card, and thus make a choice, you have to “swipe” either left or right. This will be inherently familiar to many adults living in this age, as many dating apps use this same system. If you like someone, you swipe a certain way to “match” with them, or you swipe the other way to politely decline. There's no fooling anyone here; it's a system largely based on looks. If you're attracted to someone, you swipe positively; if you're not, you swipe negatively. Sure there are outliers on these platforms who are looking to make a real connection, and they just might, but for the most part it's a shallow system.
It's incredibly interesting that something like Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty is using such a shallow system to make very important decisions. Imagine if you were faced with a guy or a gal on Tinder and you had to swipe right or left to save their life or kill them. That's essentially what these two titles are trying to do. If you swipe left you tick off the church, but your army becomes stronger. Swipe right and you give more money to the nobles, but starve the commoners. The concept that such powerful decisions can be relegated to a simple swipe is truly devastating. I could also get a little metaphorical here and say that it's referencing the same decisions we make on apps like Tinder or Bumble. Is this person a serial killer/thief, or are they really just a nice person looking to find love? It's a gamble!
I personally adore when video games take modern trappings and turn them into something else. The simple inclusion of a brief swipe has me looking at how I interact with other games. Reigns: Her Majesty was grossly addicting to me because I get super caught up in major decisions. I'm that player in role-playing games who reads and re-reads the seven different conversation options before finally choosing one. It's like a game of chess, “Well I want the game to go this way, so I better choose this option, but I want to romance that character so I should probably choose this one. Oh, confound it all, that one!” By only having two options I was able to make choices faster, but the drama and intensity was even higher when they were all-encompassing options.
What games have you played that took a modern concept and made it into something different? Did you enjoy it or was it distracting to you? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments section below!