How Important Are Games?

Many people who grew up when game consoles were just entering the market, have very fond memories. I am one of these. The thing is, my memories of games are too fond to just let them be memories. I have a suspicion that games are actually far more significant than most people give them credit for. I feel that games may actually be taking sentient life somewhere in terms of evolution. I will explain.

When we walk through our world, we are navigating through data.

We are a conscious mind, taking in data and navigating based on it
and based on laws that act on us.

In the real world we can walk up to a tree and see wood as brown because it is brown.
In the real world we can walk up to a plant and see it as green because it is green.
This is data about our world that we take in.

We see our tv screen, when off, as a tv screen.When the tv screen is on, we see what’s on it, as what’s on it. Moving pictures. More data.

In the real world we can we can walk up to our tv screen and see the pictures.

However, when what’s on it, is a video game level that we can navigate through,
what we see, although still moving pictures, are now actually data that we are navigating through.
That level is real. It is part of the real world because we can navigate through it and take in data about it. It has a traversal-able  landscape.

So this is were it get’s interesting.

A cell phone picture album, a mysql data base, these are all things we can navigate through and take in data from, so they are parts of our world, but they are not worlds of there own, they are just parts of our world, like tools, like a phone book.

A level on the other hand is engineered to be an actual world. It would be part of our world if it were just a house or garden in someones back yard. However, game levels are independent systems. They have there own physical laws and basic building blocks. I am kinda thinking that it therefore, is an actual world. When you play a video game you are stepping into another, albeit man made, world.

The fact that it is man made may at first make it less intriguing than stepping on the moon, but only to adults. Adults I think can fall into the trap of being too used to each other, too used to being human, to fully see their accomplishments for what they are. A child sees Zelda OOT for the first time and it’s amazing because it’s totally beyond is understanding for the moment, just as all the adults who made it are to him. I think the thing to keep in mind is that although these new worlds are man made, man isn’t man made, and so that thought should restore some of the mystique of what another world has to offer. Especially if that man/men who made it did not just rip the idea of a top seller.

Not only does another world have different physical laws but it also has it’s own belief systems, it’s own psychological rules, that a society of that world will believe in. I mean even beyond the role play element some of them have which to be frank, an NPC is an NPC, people know it’s an AI. I’m not saying it’s not a part of the world, I’m saying that it doesn’t have a consciousness, a computer programmer just programmed it to act like it does. This is common knowledge. The beliefs that do exist in this world are things likepoints. Achievements. You could say though that these beliefs are just based on accomplishment and so they transcend worlds. However, here is a scenario.

A person plays a game and they assume that like every other game, you shoot the bad guy, you win.
Shooting the bad guy is challenging so they do it and accomplish something. What if the game says, “you lose. You aren’t supposed to shoot the bad guys. You aren’t supposed to do anything. You win by doing nothing. There are no points. There is no competition. You lose if you compete. you lose if you don’t compete. There is a goal, but you are not allowed to strive for it, or you lose.”

Well then there is a dissonance between the beliefs of this world and of that world. In this world you feel good if you achieve something. In that world it is to be internalized as a rule that trying to achieve is unacceptable by the creators of that world. This may not be the most fun game to play but does it prove my point that different worlds can create their own psychological rules. This is important because we have psychological rules hard wired into us. Rules like don’t die and rules like, do what feels good. Society for the most part agree on that set of rules. However if you go to another world where the only way to play is by going against some basic rules like working towards a goal that exists.

Well actually, the thing that makes a game a game, is that it has a goal. If it is just a place with different physical laws, then it’s not a game, but it is still a real and separate world.

And for the last part I just want to share ideas on the future of these new worlds. New worlds don’t have to be strictly on screen. They just have to have their own physical laws and maybe have a membrane between it and this one. A screen is one membrane. The internet is a membrane. Atmosphere is one membrane. Our bodies, are a membrane between the outside world and our internal world. So I am thinking there may be other ways of creating worlds besides just screens.


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