As soon as video games raced into existence, humans latched onto their virtual boundlessness. Nevertheless, video games, like pretty much every other technological advancement, obviously do not come without a price. Like every form of technology, video games spread and grew like wildfire before anyone could stop and consider the repercussions for allowing such an activity to permeate deep into modern society. Virtual realities offer people an escape from their own lives, a respite from the everyday grind. What could be wrong with something that brings people so much joy? Firstly, too much of anything is problematic. Digital realms are larger than life; they enable and allow behavior not permitted in society and offer humans abilities one could never achieve in real life. However luscious the digital oasis may appear, it is often far more perilous than ever anticipated. Worlds with no consequences condone the fact that there are reasons certain behaviors are not acceptable. Particularly regarding acts that violate the rights of other living things.
By sanctioning people to enact any and all of their desires in digital realms, the most horrifying of human behaviors (war, violence, crime, etc.) lives on, eternalized by the Internet and the proliferation of video games. When the majority of an individual’s life is being spent online, certainly something is going to be neglected. A great number of people have become dependent on, addicted to, and obsessed with all types of virtual realities – and in extreme cases, their virtual lives end up taking precedence over their real ones. Games have such a strong hold on our reality that we will eventually reach the point when most people need an activity to be gamified in order for them to even do it at all. We have inadvertently been training people to become less intrinsically motivated. We have gamified dating, exercise, school, shopping… where does it stop? Should we be incentivizing everything? Is the fact that games can virtually consume humans a sign that we are losing touch with our humanity? By enhancing life with virtual realities, are we corrupting our existence as human beings? For society’s sake, I think we should be asking ourselves these questions. As we dive deeper into the net and infuse our lives with digital realities, the line between virtual and reality warps to a point of seamless unity.