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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Are video games better than reality?

If we do not want  to miss an occasion to learn, we should not exclude video games from our educational process. Playing games is enjoyable endeavor followed by guilty impression of wasted time. Strangely enough, people do not mind wasting their precious time by attending “working” meetings or by visiting “social” events; they appear even fulfilled when casually mentioning what they had to suffer there, resembling so abducted victims with Stockholm syndrome.




Trust me if I tell you that having enough opportunities of being present at both of them (understand the working meetings and social events), I hardly remember any beneficial outcome from them. Well, perhaps with exception to latter ones where we had an opening to get ourselves drunk; maybe a valuable lesson but quite repetitive in time.
Honestly, had I spent hours playing games instead of being seated in room crowded by coworkers and discussing serious business, the final result would be not only the same but even more favorable as I would probably enjoy myself, acquiring some new skills.
Which ones you ask? Recently, I paid tribute to Overlord, the ultimate piece of isekai fantasy. In his light novels,
Maruyama Kugane exploited the tiniest bits of his vast lore about Dungeon & Dragons rules, creating unique and overwhelming world, based on something he learned from playing MMO games.
In my opinion such approach (i.e. writing about things one is familiar with) trumps the usual “I actually don’t what I am writing about but who cares”. Or do you reckon that authors, describing the upper-class people, easy-to-get-laid beautiful women, or dangerous mob bosses, really experienced firsthand such situations?
Hardly! Had they put on the paper their real lives, the result would have been annoying and dull. Just imagine trope like this: I met a girl, she was ordinary, we had few dates, we had sexual intercourse, afterward she married me and now I am the most unexceptional father you can ever imagine. Would you care to read such biography?
I certainly wouldn’t. This is where the MMO games come to help. Don’t get me wrong. I do not encourage you to mimic their tropes or terribly written dialogs. On contrary, avoid just everything what you have learned from their screenwriters because those guys suck.
Your true story begins from interaction with other players and real humans of your life. Your mom is not satisfied with you playing all the time. Just transform her into monstrous queen who tries to affect not-so-great prince, looking his path in the kingdom, doomed to fail eventually - or whatnot.
(Actually, be thankful to your mother while she cares for you. This is not what you can learn from video game. The yelling is the way how mothers use to express their tender feelings towards you. But this is another story to tell…)
But back on the track, as a modern human, imprisoned in digital world, you probably got the impression of being good-for-nothing lot just because your social interactions consist of hitting the keyboard and chatting with distant friends, situated all over the globe. The relatives keep telling you to abandon comfortable lair and engage real people physically.
Let’s leave the discussion whether being shut-in is or is not the proper way how to waste the existence and let’s dissect the lessons obtained under new-era circumstances. Are players’ emotions or knowledge actually faker or less worthy compared to those we got from living our lives?
Unfortunately, they are. Video games might teach you how to make correct and optimized decisions, but they fail to deliver the touch of reality which is the dealing with uncertainty. If builder in game is told to build the building, the player knows how much it will cost and when it will be ready. In real life, the mileage may vary from almost in time to never, according to given circumstances.
Okay, I hear you crying in despair. What about emotions, then? You said that emotions coming from interacting with real people, even if they originating from flat screen, are genuine, didn’t you?
I lied. From the beginning I intended to provide cozy reassurance for serial players, something you can show your mum and say: “Hey, one great anonymous guy, in his forties and father, recommend playing games because it makes me smarter.” Unfortunately, with afterthoughts, I realized that digital relationships are flawed, despite the same chemicals flowing inside your body, no matter if you laugh or cry inside digital or physical world.
Would you guess what is the main disadvantage? Sense of touch? Better resolution? No! The true culprit is filtering capability of your favorite device or platform. Social interactions of real world do not offer possibility to avoid contact with people you don’t like. There is no block or mute; sometimes just option of turning volume off would help us to keep our sanity, but sadly, the evolution failed to provide us with these.

In conclusion, playing video games, no matter how you look at it, is just advanced simulation that can help us to achieve better grasp of real world. However, with all its advantages, the gap between virtual and material domain stay wide, even though it is closing with every emerging technology. In the future, we might be not able to distinguish between them. In that case, the question remains why we should bother at all as we have been already experiencing the real world for thousands of years. 

What do I mean?
We consider games inferior just because they do not reflect faithfully our surroundings, which we are rather unsatisfied with. We seek an escape route to the worlds that differ completely from ours, yet in the same time we perform our best to improve these worlds  to such extent there will be no difference in near future. 

What is the point, then?  Share your thought in comments.




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