For some reason I woke up thinking of video games and how companies are constantly creating better graphics in an attempt to portray as much realism as possible. I think it could be achieved with minimal changes to the actual graphics of the game.
I’ve decided to use Super Mario as an example, allow me to set the scene.
Goombas are moving towards our hero at a slow pace and with an angry face, they’re probably unhappy that you’re about to squish them for points, I know I would be. Behind them in the two-dimensional distance are flying turtles, not something we would normally see, but to Mario that’s an everyday occurrence and another opportunity for more points and thus more lives, of course he’s going to jump on them and rip their wings off, who wouldn’t? Even further in the distance you can see Mario’s aim, a flag post just about showing the flag waving in the breeze above the wall prior to the castle he desperately needs to get to. Despite some of the tragic events that happen over the time of his adventure it is mostly sunny, which I assume means the world is quite a nice place when he isn’t frantically chasing after a princess. A hero’s work is never done.
Now that I’ve adequately painted a picture (figuratively, not literally), I shall explain how this game could be more realistic without any upgrading of the graphics as seen here.
A lifelike mode could be enabled after finishing a few levels or some other key event, and then it becomes as real as possible. Firstly, a ball and chain should appear around Mario’s leg with the word “DEBT” printed in all caps, but with a fun font of course, which will restrict his jumping to a point where getting over the numerous tubes is an impossible task.
To move on through the game you’re going to need to get a job at a restaurant or supermarket nearby, then you can afford lumber to make a ramp over the pipes! Now you’re working smart. Sadly after a few levels of this tactic Mario’s ankle and foot will become increasingly painful as he drags the heavy weight around, luckily he’s got coins from before this event, so paying the hospital bill won’t be a problem.
Fixed and ready to go he manages a few more levels before the pain becomes intense again. This time he’s a little short on cash and can’t afford medical insurance, so for the moment he’s going to have persevere and get as much done as he can before the pain becomes too great.
The pain is now too much and movement has become extremely limited, time to go see an “off the books” doctor (possibly Dr. Nick from The Simpson’s). Mario is given some strong opioids which relieves the pain, as well as a warning that continued damage to the foot and ankle could result in debilitating injury. Obviously if he wants to save the princess and be the hero, he has no choice but to hobble on.
Skip forward a level or two and he’s no longer moving, the pain annoys him a little but the real problem is now his addiction to strong opioid painkillers. Every chance he gets he’s offering to sell his “services” to Goombas and worse, just to get another fix. As the hero sits in an alley covered in his own blood and vomit he thinks back to when he first began his adventure and how happy he was, with this in mind he pulls out a fire flower and sets himself alight. The usual fireworks fly into the air but on this occasion it’s not to celebrate Mario’s completion of a level, but celebrate his life and all he had previously accomplished.