I fear El Malo may be more accurate than we would wish.
I wandered around a bit with 'Google' and came across an interesting essay:Social Realism in Gaming
by Alexander R. Gallowayhttp://gamestudies.org/0401/galloway/
It's a bit deep, but I think it is worth reading. I keep babbling about verisimilitude
as a desireable condition. In other words, I like a game that has some connection with the real world as opposed to being based on wizards and fantasy monsters.
Galloway: "One of the most central theoretical issues in gaming is how and in what way one can make connections between the gaming world and the real world, both from the inside outward in the form of affective action, and from the outside inward in the form of realistic representation.""Within the world of gaming it is possible to divide games into two piles: those that have as their central conceit the mimetic reconstruction of real life, and those resigned to fantasy worlds of various kinds. ... Thus games are generally either realistic or fantastical. Expressing the perspective of game designers, Bruce Shelley writes that realism is a sort of tool that can be leveraged for greater effect in gameplay, but is ultimately non-crucial: 'Realism and historical information are resources or props we use to add interest, story and character to the problems we are posing for the player. That is not to say that realism and historic fact have no importance, they are just not the highest priority.' But realistic narrative and realistic representation are two different things."
But you can pick out the key ideas that apply to Tropico
I am really discouraged by the insistence that Tropico
is a "city builder". I see it as a political simulator with building construction as one of several peripheral activities. The greatest problem is that most players have been trained to play "city builders" and can't get out of the box. In my opinion, a 'realistic' city builder would force the player to deal with the detail of the utiiities (power, water, sewer, trash, & traffic) and not just slapping down buildings hither, thither and yon. For example in 'Tropico the City Builder', the citizens would require both food and water supplied by the small fountains
. Additionally, both citizens and tourists would poop and quite a lot too. Shacks would include an open ditch a couple of tiles long. All other buildings would generate proportionate open ditches unless within a radius of a two-tier sewer system. Guess what the rebels would like to blow-up. Talk about pollution. Would there be those packed rows of hotels if the tourist poop had to be cared for?
It's interesting how game discussion board threads spin out of control with "suggestions"
that posters think will add realism. They are usually meaningless because they are: out of scale, out of time-line, a huge chore to implement, or simply unrealistic.
Additionally, there is nothing that says scenarios may not involve a "built-up" island with entirely political and economic goals that involves little building.