Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Virtual Reality

I have a problem with virtual reality many times. I usually struggle with articulating why exactly I don't care for these games, but this post I found while doing a Google search on another topic that pretty much sums up my own feelings.

I was reading an article in a recent issue of Newsweek. The article was talking about how Steven Spielberg was getting back into the video game industry. His ideas were sounding pretty cool (though I haven't played a video game in years, go figure), but then I got to a quote that made me rethink what the article was telling me.

The article quotes Spielberg saying, "The challenge is, can the game have an emotional impact on players while they are actively manipulating the world?"* Wow. The idea of one of his new games is that you have to build a relationship with the computer character in order to receive the most benefit from her skills. I find the idea that the game-designers' intent is to impact you emotionally very troubling. No wonder more and more people are getting sucked into video games and alternate realities. They can feel "social" while doing that, even though they may merely be interacting with machines. This is the reason why I had to stop playing the Sims 2 a couple of years ago. I loved the game, but for all the wrong reasons. By exerting my control over the imaginary world, I was acting out my desire to be in control of my own.

I'm not trying to bash all video games. Certainly there are many that are fine to play. But just like any other activity, we have to be careful about our reasons for playing and determine if the activity is the most beneficial use of our time.

*"Wii Can't Wait to Play," by N'gai Croal in July 16, 2007 Newsweek, page 53.

from Tale of a Kansas Girl (btw - I've enjoyed reading this blog since I found it. It tends to be very insightful and humorous.)

So am I completely against video games? Of course not. I even enjoy playing them sometimes! However, I do have a problem with preferring virtual reality to reality. We live in the real world, and nothing in an imagined one is going to really help you through life.

1 comment:

Ronnica said...

That sounds like a wonderful post. =) Thanks for the shout out.

I wrote this a year ago, but I've been thinking more and more about it. I can't get my mind off of how we openly accept technology without considering the ethics of it. I'm probably going to write more about this in the future because it is so troubling to me.