And that’s okay.
There’s this thing in Anime where people argue whether or not Western shows like The Last Airbender, RWBY, or the Boondocks can be classified as Anime. One group in this argument says no, they can’t because anime only comes from Japan. It has to come from Japan to be an anime. Which ignores the real reality. Anime as we see it today is largely influenced by Western Cartoons. Osamu Tezuka is regarded as the Father of anime and manga; He cited the works of Walt Disney as his main influence. But that works both ways. If you look at Western Cartoons of today like The Boondocks, Legend of Korra, or even Teen Titans they clearly have an anime influence. Several Western animators often work on Japanese shows and vice versa. When you look at the reality of everything it actually gets pretty difficult to draw a firm line. Are shows like The Big O 2, or Afro Samurai anime? They were made in Japan but are targeted at both a Japanese and American audience. Then what about Rooster Teeths RWBY? There’s no way you can say that show doesn’t have a Japanese audience in mind.
But this is a Flight Simming website so why am I talking about anime? Well because I see a very similar argument in the world of Flight simming. Hell I even see the same points and counterpoints being used just with different subject. What is that argument? Well the title probably gave it away. Picture me this. Let’s say one day someone is browsing Twitch streams and ventures onto a Flight Simming one. This person comes from a Gaming background and has no clue what Flight Simulators are. He watches the stream for a while and finds it intriguing. It’s amazing how the Streamer knows what the switches do, and can handle the virtual aircraft even in bad weather. Even though the viewer has no clue what an ILS is, or what bleed air does; He or she is intrigued. So he types in the streams chat “What game is this?” Our poor viewer is immediately descended upon by angry little crusaders screaming It’s not a game it’s a Flight Sim. If our viewer is lucky they may tell him which one it is. I’ve seen this behavior in quite a few places. Its sad to watch. Heres someone who’s watching the stream and having a good enough time to ask what game he’s seeing. And that angry “It’s a Sim not a game” behavior does nothing but scare new people away.
The Definition of Video game is an “electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor.” Game is defined as “a structured form of play, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool.” Wait what was that last part? “Sometimes used as an educational tool.” When you play your Flight sim, be it P3D, FSX, Or XPlane. Are you enjoying it, Are you entertained? Are you using it for educational purposes? Congratulations if the answer to either of those two is Yes, You’re playing a game. Games, like anime, have genres themselves. Simulators is just one Genre of games you can find. It’s a genre whose name has been drug through the mud the past few years by those crappy ‘Insert vehicle name here’ Simulators. You know the ones. But it is a Genre containing some of the most widely played games around. See American and Euro Truck Simulator. I seem to recall some Saitek hardware in the Dice development studios during the lead up to Battlefield 3. I believe one of the Dice Developers even said he was a Flight Simmer if I recall correctly.
The question here is why do people get so angry when someone refers to a Flight Simulator as a Game. I Think for the same reason why people who like anime specify Anime. They are trying to specify their fandom in Japanese anime specifically. Anime by the way is just an abbreviation of Animation. Knowing that I find it odd that if you say you’re a fan of Anime, why limit yourself to just Japanese Anime. Code Lyoko is one of my favorite shows, it’s produced by a French studio. By this same logic if you’re a fan of Flight Sims, a form a video game. Why limit yourself to just Flight Sims? And why get angry if and when someone else uses the completely accurate term ‘Game’ to identify your Flight Sim. Notice I said Show earlier when referencing Code Lyoko. In fact throughout this whole article is have not said the word Anime to talk about specific shows, only the genre as a whole. The reason is I make no distinction in my mind, or at least only an animation style distinction. I’ve been watching Anime since I was a kid. I’ve also watched plenty of Western Animations, as well as Actual TV shows. The West Wing, M*A*S*H, or Dark Matter to use a more modern show, are personal favorites of mine. In my Mind it’s all the same. Its Entertainment of the sit and watch this story be told visually variety. Maria the Virgin Witch is my personal favorite anime. It could just as easily been a live action TV show. Just Like Dark Matter could just as easily be an anime.
To bring this back to Flight Simulation, I also make no distinction between them and games. To me they are both Entertainment of the Interactive Variety. Sure, A Flight sim has no real goal other than the goal you give it. Do I want to do a Cross country flight, or practice Instrument approaches. There are plenty of games like that as well. Garry’s Mod is one that comes to mind. The Sims is another. Almost all Online centric games have no clear path to victory and usually never end. I did a video on my youtube channel once. The video came out about the time FSX was re-released on Steam. I figured there was a large influx of new people coming into Flight Sims for the first time. But on the reverse we had Long time Flight Simmers getting onto Steam for the first time. I thought it would be a real shame to limit your steam account to just a Flight Sim so I made a Video showcasing my favorite games. I was hoping this would persuade some into at least browsing the Steam Store on occasion. Ods are they would find something they’d like.
One of the reasons I think a lot of people get worked up over the idea of someone calling their Flight Sim a Game; Is because they have an Idea of what a game is in their head. They probably think of things like Call of Duty, and other generic games. They don’t want their Flight simulator associated with little kiddie play things. Again may I draw a comparison to the world of Anime. A Lot of people don’t want their Show associated with the weird stuff you often see. I’m sure when you read the first paragraph you had an image in your head. You were thinking of some generic anime show with a bad storyline, A High School setting, and a bunch of whiney teenagers with crazy hair and skimpy clothing doing things they have no buisness doing. Now while there are far too many shows that fit the description, there are many more that Don’t. A Lot of them can even stand up to the big boy full feature productions. Same in games, yes we are all familiar with COD. But there’s also The Mass Effect Series, The Witcher series, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Legend of Zelda Majora’s mask. These 4 games are not only visibly stunning and well directed. They also tell a story in a way no Book, TV Show, or movie ever could. These 4 widely regarded as some of the best games ever made with some of the best story telling ever done in the medium. And that’s just scratching the surface. There’s way more that gaming offers than the Call of Duty stuff you see in the stereotypes. Just like there’s way more to Flight Simming than what you get out of the box. Come on I’m sure anyone who’s been in this hobby for any amount of time has wanted to share it with others. Does it not feel good to help someone new to the hobby realize the vast ocean of possibilities they jumped into? May I invite you to look in the mirror?
Now whether or not you Agree with this stance matters not. Nor does it matter if you prefer to Call Flights sims Games or Sims. I just don’t see the need to argue over it. It’s a Pointless and Pedantic argument to have. The only reason people do argue over it is because they want to be able to clearly define their hobby. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can get in trouble and look crazy when you get angry over it. It’s not worth really splitting hairs over. And neither is the Anime/Cartoon argument. It’s not like Calling Legend of Korra an Anime changes anything about the show. Nor does someone calling your Flight sim a Game change anything about the Sim you’re playing and enjoying. To carve yet another lump of flesh from the eviscerate corps that is the over referenced works of Shakespeare. “What’s in a Name. That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s not something to get angry over. So in the future, If you see someone say Game in reference to your’s or anybody Flight sim. Don’t get angry. If they are asking ‘What game is this?’ Just tell them. The only reason I’m even writing this is because I wanted to thought dump my opinion on the whole thing, and hopefully get some people thinking about it to. Oh and By the Way there are people in Japan that have a similar argument on whether or not to call Western Cartoons anime.
By Timothy Thomas
Anime v Cartoons By Digibro (Me and him see mostly Eye to Eye on the whole thing)