Real time (media)

Real time within the media is a method of narratology within a motion picture, television series, radio program, computer game, comic book, or comic strip wherein events being represented or portrayed exactly as it occurs. The exact time of the story action would be equal to the time it takes to view that action.

Film and television

Often, use of split screens or picture-in-pictures are used to show events occurring at the same time, or the context in which various subplots are affecting each other. Examples include the television series 24 and films Timecode and Phone Booth. Often, the use of on-screen clocks would remind the audience of the real-time presentation.

The technique has been criticized for being unrealistic, since in order to make fiction more interesting than real-life, tasks such as travel, eating, and use of bathrooms would occur much quickly (or be ignored entirely) and therefore require more suspension of disbelief.

Video games

In a real-time computer game or simulation, events in the game occur at the same rate as the events which are being depicted. For instance, in a real-time combat game, in one hour of play the game depicts one hour of combat.

Comic books and strips

In comic books, the use of real time is made more complicated by the fact that most serial comics are released on a monthly basis and are traditionally 20 to 30 pages long, making it difficult to tell a story set in real time without overlooking important events from one month to the next. Another explanation is the prevalence of the super-hero genre in American comics, and the iconic status attached to such characters : it is often considered that such mythological, sometimes godlike heroes cannot age in real time without losing the characteristics that make them special. Hence the more common use of floating timelines in Marvel Comics or DC Comics. Exceptions include Marvel Comics' New Universe line of books, Erik Larsen's long-running Savage Dragon ongoing series, John Byrne's Superman & Batman: Generations (three non-canon miniseries exploring the notion of "what if Superman and Batman could age?"), and Ben Dunn's Ninja High School

Comic strips which feature characters aging in real-time include:

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