Do we simply refer to realism as making the game look as photo-realistic as possible, à la Crysis? Or maybe you define realism by gameplay that faithfully represents the laws of reality with no hint of supernatural elements, like the current Call of Duty games or the Uncharted series. I keep hearing that people want games to be more realistic, and the vibe I get from this rallying call is that this statement basically means "less Ratchet and Clank, more Heavy Rain," and if that's the case... I hope that never fucking happens. Ever.
Since simple visual photo-realism is simple enough to understand, let's focus instead on physical realism in games. People who want these types of realistic games want things to react just as they would in real life. This not only extends to certain materials acting as they should, whether it be wood breaking or metal bending as it should, like in The Force Unleashed, but it also means that the human character you play as must feel human. Their abilities must be based in our current reality, so no superpowers or futuristic tech that doesn't exist in our world. I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds boring as hell.
I'm not saying realistic games are bad... well, not completely... but if you look at it, their attempts at realism push them further away from the goal. The more things they do to make the games seem more realistic, the more noticeable it is when they overlook something. Take Uncharted 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for examples. Both games go to lengths to make themselves more realistic. They both sport art styles firmly within the boundaries of real life with no artistic deviations, neither one lets you do anything supernatural like shoot fireballs from your eyes, use biotics or fly with the power of dreams, and both games are set on our quaint little planet Earth complete with real-life locations such as Moscow and Washington D.C.
And yet, they are both completely unrealistic.