While the game industry regards realism as a key characteristic of AAA games, research suggests we may be wasting our money. Perceived realism is far more important, varying on dimensions of authenticity, freedom, presence, and social realism. With the high cost of game development, designers need to know what’s “real enough.” And with the advent of serious games, designers must now also know how ... [Show full abstract] real something must be to change opinions, behaviors, or learning. It turns out that less complicated, cheaper designs can often lead to effective, high-quality gaming experiences. This international, interdisciplinary panel of game designers and researchers will describe how games can vary along dimensions of realism, discuss how to know where and when to invest in different types of realism, and provide real-world design heuristics derived from evidence-based research in simulation design, learning transfer, expertise, cognitive load, schema theory, message design, and media theory.