Part I: My Interest Looking at this assignment, I thought to myself, “What am I even interested in?” then I closed my laptop and played some NBA 2K18. I realized I am really into playing video games. I have an Xbox One, which is one of the main game systems that people can play video games on, the other is the Playstation 4.
Video games are just various virtual worlds where the user can just play various genres depending on what they enjoy. For example, I enjoy NBA 2K18, which is a video game based around the National Basketball Association (NBA). While playing this game, you can compete against friends, or computers, in basketball games where each user is controlling each of the teams on the basketball court. What I really like doing is a subtier of the game called “MyCareer” which allows me to draft a team of players Currently in the NBA and Hall of Famers, like Michael Jordan and I compete in a full basketball season against computers controlling the other teams. I really like video games because I can turn my game system on and my brain kind of “turns off” and I can just relax and not stress out about homework. Ever since I was little I would play video games because it was something I could do with my friends and play competitive games to try and beat them. Besides, playing basketball video games, there is practically a video game for every genre such as: horror, party (group of people), shooting, fantasy, fighting, and even open world games that incorporate almost all of the genres.
One genre of video games that is growing in popularity and in a couple years will be the biggest thing since sliced bread is called Virtual Reality. “Virtual reality is capable of providing players with a whole new—and much improved—gaming experience all around. When people put on a VR headset, be it the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive for example; they are completely immersed into their own gaming world.” (Bradley 11). To elaborate, Virtual Reality gaming is when the user puts on a computer-esque eye and hold two hand controllers. The whole system the user wears is connected to a computer and from there, the user literally get put into a virtual world to play video games instead of just watching the television when the user plays. Bradley continues to talk about the potential of VR and how it is not in every household in the world because of the cost of the machine, lack of complex games, and lack of “dazzling” graphics.
I agree with Bradley, the reason I have not bought a Virtual Reality machine is because I have only seen it as a cool idea at this point in time. Maybe in a couple years it will be worth buying, but right now it just seems like a waste of money. For that reason, Virtual Reality has not really had any change in how I play video games, or even the economics of the video game genre. It is more of a look into the future for the video game world because the makers are close to perfecting it, just like how everyone is waiting on self-driving cars, people who enjoy video games is waiting on Virtual Reality. In an interview for the movie Ready Player One, director Steven Spielberg said, “It’s a good time to escape, so virtual reality will be a superdrug.” (Plante 19). Ready Player One is a movie set in a dystopian society so every escapes their horrible life through playing in a virtual world. I believe this movie, based of a book of the same name by Ernest Cline, is a very accurate prediction for the interaction between Virtual Reality Gaming and everybody in society.
The machines will be so realistic that people will always be connected to them. It will be the new addictive technology that everyone will be glued to because people can escape to any world they want to. Everyone will switch to Virtual Reality Gaming and I feel like person-to-person interaction will be even worse than it is now with texting and Snapchat. Part II: In The Media There is an episode of the British Science-Fiction show, Black Mirror, that also deals with Virtual Reality. Black Mirror, is mind-blowing, suspenseful television on Netflix. The show is not a linear storyline and there are new characters and plot lines in every episode. The episode I referred to is called Playtest (Season 3 Episode 2) and it follows a young man named Cooper, who is on the back-end of hip backpacking across Europe trip.
While in England, his credit card information got stolen, so he needed to make some money to get home by doing odd jobs. He found an add to be a tester for a famous horror video game company’s new game. He knew nothing about the game going in and without spoiling the episode, the game analyzed the man’s fears and tried to scare him as much as it could. One reason the game was incredibly scary was because it was Virtual Reality and the main character genuinely felt like he was in the video game. Technically, the Virtual Reality technology used in this episode is available today, but the one in the episode is way more advanced and immerses the user way more into the virtual world.
Virtual Reality systems are mostly available only to the people willing to pay for the technology. “The Oculus Rift is $599, plus the still-unknown cost of its motion controllers. The HTC Vive is $799.” (Robertson “High End” 7). Those are two examples of Virtual Reality machines and they are pretty expensive, not even including the high end computer needed to run the games. People are still working hard everyday to not only make the games as realistic as real life, but also making them available to all audiences in order to bring prices down.
In a sense, Virtual Reality can be used for anything and because of that, it can be used to solve particular problems. For example, surgeons and new drivers can practice their skills without any real consequences to themselves, or anyone else. Once the machines become more advanced, not only will more people have them to play video games, but also to practice surgery and to experience what it would be like to live in other parts of the world. Thinking about the future of Virtual Reality, I look back to this episode of Black Mirror for reference.
I think the machines will become too realistic and it will greatly mess with our minds and perception of what is real and what is not. Also, people will become even more disconnected from the real world and might want to just live in their fantasy world. I believe Virtual Reality would have the same opinions as video game systems because it is essentially a different type of game system. People that do not like video games will say it is a waste of time, people that do like video games will play it, and moms will protest that virtual reality games would be too gory and lifelike for their kids, which is completely warranted. The dangers that come with Virtual Reality gaming are very real because users in the future could be playing Grand Theft Auto and get completely desensitized from personally holding a gun and shooting random people in the street. I do not know the effects it would have on younger impressionable children, but I feel like it would be worse than traditional video game playing.Playtest seems to be set about five to ten years in the future because of the slightly more advanced technology used in the episode. I believe that this episode is a great example of how Virtual Reality technology will be in the not too distant future.
The field of Virtual Reality is so large, that the machines could be both beneficial and diminishing to society. Like I stated before, the machines can be used to realistically help surgeons practice with no consequences. This technology is only going to keep getting more realistic, which means that demand is only going to become greater. Although, in a Vox article written by Alex Abad-Santos, he stated, “‘Playtest’ forces you to question your experiences, what they are, how you acquired them, and how they came to be-” (Abad-Santos 88). I agree that the technology can become so realistic that the users will start to question their own reality, then people might stop using the product and it could diminish in popularity.
Personally, I feel like I could balance my actual life and virtual life and just see the Virtual Reality as a game that I would not get sucked into. I cannot wait for Virtual Reality to become as realistic as it is in Playtest, I will make sure to avoid horror games and stick to basketball.Works CitedAbad-Santos, Alex. “‘Playtest’ Is Black Mirror’s Sinister Look at How We Treat Life like a Video Game.” Vox, Vox, 21 Oct. 2016, www.
vox.com/culture/2016/10/21/13322892/black-mirror-season-3-playtest-recap. Bradley, Tony. “VR Technology Set to Change the World of Gaming.” TechSpective, 25 Jan. 2018, https://techspective.
net/2018/01/25/vr-technology-set-change-world-gaming/ Plante, Corey. “Steven Spielberg Calls VR a ‘Superdrug’ in New ‘Ready Player One’ Trailer.” Inverse, 22 Jan.
2018, www.inverse.com/article/40416-ready-player-one-trailer-vr-steven-spielberg. Robertson, Adi. “The Ultimate VR Headset Buyer’s Guide.” The Verge, The Verge, www.theverge.com/a/best-vr-headset-oculus-rift-samsung-gear-htc-vive-virtual-reality/