Thanks for the replies, everyone.
Yesterday I read that something like less than 10% of cars sold today have manual transmission, so it’s definitely Going Out Of Style. Here in Japan, I have no idea what the numbers are like, but I doubt I’ll be in a position to learn to drive stick in real life anytime soon, which is a bummer, as I’ve only just found out I love driving cars late in life! Oh well.
As for video games, it seems to depend on which game I’m playing. In arcade-style games, changing gears does feel annoying and sort of pointless. In more sim-style games, I want to be shifting gears, but with only a controller at my disposal, I do largely feel like I’m just guessing as to when I should shift gears, since there’s no mechanical response from a wheel, or “car feel.”
Anyway, it’s fun to think about this stuff! I still have a whole lot to learn about being a real car enthusiast, and not just a racing game enthusiast.