Hello, everyone. As you may know, Alex (the main author here) is disappearing for the next six weeks and he’s selected a few of his friends to fill in his shoes while he’s away. First things first, I’ve never done this before and I’m by no means a talented writer, but I’ll try my best to meet the stadarooni standard. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy!
Every single day, we ask ourselves a lot of questions. What’s the weather like today? Or why do we feel déjà vu? Or what is the definition of a “smorgasbord”? Most of them are random and simple questions that can be satisfied by a quick Google search. Most we just don’t bother to satisfy at all. But, of course, once in a while we come across one of those “deep” questions. Probably the deepest question, one that raises its fair share of controversies, is “How did we come to exist?”. And surprisingly enough, it doesn’t have to be the traditional creationism versus evolution argument many of us have heard so many times.
Today, although I won’t be tackling creationism versus evolution, I’m going to be sharing with you guys a series that a good friend of mine had passed along to me a while back – Terry Schott’s The Game is Life that provides an interesting answer to that question. The series is based around the idea of “What if Earth is a virtual reality?”. As depressing as it may be, it’s quite interesting to look around the world and entertain yourself with the idea that everything around us may be fake. The series explores this idea, as well as many other themes, in a world that revolves entirely around “the Game”, where kids, instead of going to school, play as virtual people on Earth (which is a replica of their own world of Tygon) and learn in there instead. And unlike other games, people are only allowed to play it to a certain age before they are forced to get a “real” job that they will have for the rest of their lives. Although the characters and the plot are pretty interesting, the idea that someone’s reality can be fake is what makes the series so intriguing.
These are a few other topics I want to highlight as well that I have to commend Schott for somehow being able to touch upon them in a unique way.
As I mentioned before, in the world Schott creates, “the Game” is the most popular, and probably the only, game in Tygon. Everything revolves around it, from the economy, to the media, to education, to people’s day-to-day lives. And it’s not hard to see why people wouldn’t be able to get enough of it. After all, it’s a game where you can become anything you want and everything will feel real. But, of course, it’s not exactly ideal when something becomes so central in people’s lives. In fact, it can be quite dangerous when people become overly obsessed with one thing, especially a virtual reality that becomes better than their actual life.
Generally, when we think about fame we think about the big movie stars or singers, and sometimes people can overlook that athletes are celebrities, too. Obviously, some are more famous, popular, successful and celebrated than others, but fame is equally prevalent in sports as it is in film or music. In The Game is Life, since wealth is proportional to fame, and since a person makes the brunt of their salary playing “the Game” in their childhood, it can lead to a very brutal and merciless system that becomes even more pronounced when kids are involved.
Another topic portrayed in the story is how big of a factor luck plays in our lives. Something may be so improbable that it toes the line of impossible; the reality is that it’s bound to happen to someone. The book illustrates how players, and people, can try and improve their chances all they want, but at the end of the day, anything is possible. Luck plays a huge role throughout the entire series and it shows how it often gets confused with fate.
Value of Life
Millions of people across the globe play video games and among the most popular are ones based around killing other people. Of course, in real life, taking the life of another human being is bad because those are actual people, but how do the circumstances change if everyone is actually a virtual simulation?
Does that mean we don’t actually look like we do here on Earth? What happens to our relationships and friendships? Does that mean our emotions here aren’t real? My mind was pretty much devoured by questions and weird emotions the months during and after I was reading these books. Because the circumstances certainly do change a lot if everything is all just a virtual simulation. And if it all is just a virtual reality, then certainly many of us would be approaching life very differently.
Hopefully, you enjoyed the post and it got at least some of you thinking, even if only for a bit. If it was all over the place, I’m really sorry. But don’t worry, next week (and the week after that and the week after that) will probably be leagues better and more interesting that what it was today. Anyways, thanks for reading and have a great week. And if our world is just a virtual reality game, get out there and make this run worthwhile.