Good, hard science fiction posits that at some point in the future, near or far, humans will reach a moment when it’s impossible to distinguish in any way between a real experience and the virtual space.
The idea can be clearly seen in the bright colors of the holodeck of Star Trek or in the mind machine interfaces that William Gibson favors for his own novels.
I love video games and science fiction and I am here to tell you that, despite the fact we lack the second and will probably have to wait a few hundred years for the second, there are times when I have trouble distinguishing between the real and the virtual.
I play a lot of Football Manager
each year and I tend to catch some games from the Premier League when I can and I often see information that I can from the live broadcasts seep into the way I play the game.
It also happens the other way around, with the experiences I get managing Liverpool or Swansea fundamentally changing the way I am watching football.
There are even moments when I find it hard to remembers whether my impression that Leandro Damiao is a great striker are based on the real or on the virtual world.
Something similar happens when I play Pro Cycling Manager
and watch Le Tour de France, and I have been known to comment on history or on current events through the prism created by Civilization V or by Crusader Kings II.
It’s also interesting to note that this blending of real and virtual almost never happens when playing the sort of violence-driven titles, from God of War to Call of Duty
to Mortal Kombat, because their over-the-top nature is too obvious and there’s no clear link between what they portray and the way the real-world works.
There are moments when I find the virtual and real mix somewhat troubling, but it mostly enhances my life and experiences and would like to see more games and real-world experiences mix.