Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ultra-immersive, long-form video games from the past or future

As our technology and understanding of nature improves, we are living longer, and many predict that this trend will continue to the point that humans will become nearly immortal. When confronted with the possibility of living for hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years, most people express several concerns: "Will I still be able to retire at age 65?", and "Won't that get boring after a while?"

Fortunately, technology is also improving it other areas (and not just more deadly weapons). Video games, for example, are getting quite sophisticated. As the graphics and other interfaces improve, video games become increasingly immersive and involved, and we begin to feel as though we are really inside the game. As this trend continues, will we get to the point that the games feel so real that we become completely immersed and forget about the outside reality?

So what will million-year old people do to manage their boredom? Perhaps they will play long, complicated, multi-player, fully-immersive video games. If your regular life lasted millions of years, occasionally spending a hundred years playing some fancy game might seem reasonable. Perhaps you would play-out your character's entire life span, from birth to death, in one "sitting". In order to really feel the experience and keep the game authentic, you would of course make it so that everyone playing would forget that it was just a game (though maybe some people would try to cheat).

The obvious question: Is that the future, or the past?

Once we eliminate the certainty of our perceived reality, then how can we justify our certainty of anything else? Accepting true reality, whatever it may be, requires letting go of everything specific.