Timothy J. Welsh – Mixed Realism: Videogames and the Violence of Fiction


University Of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-0816696086, English, 232 pages, 2017, USA

The social impact of violent videogames has historically been a quite popular issue, generating lively debates in the pyramidal world of mass media first, and now in the wild world of social media. The main polarising argument is usually based on the direct exchanges between the material and the immaterial dimension, with all the possible consequences.
Welsh contributes to this debate with a different approach. He redefines the relationship between the two main environments, talking about the ‘real virtuality’, or the awareness of the two dimensions while attributing to them the same ‘realism’. His nodal concept is, indeed, the ‘mixed realism’, finally abandoning the binary classification that has fuelled the debate, defining instead a system of elements interconnecting the different dimensions in a seamlessly mixed ecosystem. The author uses case studies, like the games “Prince of Persia”, “Eternal Darkness“ and “.hack//Infection” to classify what he calls the ‘digital milieu’. He describes the mediated processes of virtual war in Call of Duty, confronting it with real world drone attacks, and finding in both the alienation derived from the enemy’s depersonalisation and the automatisation of war itself (simulated or not). The ’ubiquitous mediation’ we deal with constantly, comes from the mixed realism he describes. He finally makes interesting parallels between videogames and literary works.