Video games in an evolving world

Year 13, Gore High School

In my mind, video games are an escape from your limited reality into a limitless cosmos.

Not only does it allow us to do things that we cannot do in real life, but it also gives us little to no consequences for our actions. They have their place, but they should not be a vital part of our lives.

It should be an enjoyable activity but not something to need. A relaxing break, not a lifeline. Just like everything else right now, video games are mutating, altering themselves from what they once were. Within the next 5-10 years, video games will be unrecognisable from what they are today.

I often use video games as an escape; being able to mutilate opponents with no consequence is a powerful feeling. It gives me a sound sense of satisfaction to outplay the enemy team and score bonuses for myself. But it never lasts, I always have to put the headset down and shut off the PC because it is time for dinner.

The fictional fantasy of video games is a futile addiction, umpteen hours with nothing of substance to show for it. You could argue that you do it purely for the short-term enjoyment and that "all work and no play made Jack a dull boy". But fun should be divided throughout the four aspects of haoura: mental, spiritual, physical and social wellbeing.

Video games without exception are a substitute for human interaction. They will never have the same impact as they simply imitate real life.

Going out for an afternoon or night with friends is much more rewarding than simply getting on the game for a couple of hours after school.

So, although they may be used as an easy way to improve social health, they will fall short of genuine face-to-face relationships.

As video games develop to become more realistic, their effects on the consumer may progress to impact their physical wellbeing.

For instance, should haptic suits become prevalent, it would allow for individuals to get their much-needed exercise through simulations of more stimulating events.

Running through a warzone would provide plenty of incentive to keep moving and stay fit.

However, the question arises, would being able to experience everything that we can in the real world through video games cause a migration to living entirely in a fictional world?

If virtual reality becomes more prevalent, people will start living two lives; one where they can have everything and one where they are limited by the status of their birth, their mental and physical capacity and their income.

If given a choice, many would choose to leave this earth and exist entirely in the fictional world, resulting in less care being taken for this reality, leaving it falling into disrepair and the degradation of society.

The film Ready Player One tells the story of this exact situation.

We learn that the human factor will always ruin what could be perfect. Materialistic, self-centred men who ran the technology companies ruined the experience for everyone by taking advantage of people’s want of an escape and profiting from it.

Eventually, something will break because nobody wishes to stay in the real world to keep the servers functioning.

The remnants of society will be forced to restore the world with no foundation to build upon.

It is for this reason that I believe video games have given humanity a false sense of hope about its future.

For although it can bring temporary enjoyment, it should not be pursued like other things in life, such as relationships.

The earth exists to be enjoyed, appreciated and nurtured, not to be abandoned, left on the side of the road for someone else to manage.

As technology advances, giving us more powerful control over our world, we should be careful about how we use it. As someone much wiser than me once said: "With great power comes great responsibility".

The same power that helps humanity can also destroy it. Our actions have large consequences and so caution must be taken so we do not unintentionally harm the earth while trying to help ourselves. Escaping this world into a fictional one is admitting that humanity has destroyed this earth and seeing the problem as someone else’s.

However, all humanity pollutes the earth, ergo all mankind must actively work to reverse the damage our ancestors have left on the earth. It is irresponsible and immature to see a issue and not do anything about it, leaving it for someone else to resolve.

This needs to be advertised and taught among young people, that ignoring the situation will not solve it. Limits should be established so that people are forced to live in the real world and adventure in the fictional one, not the other way around.

For just as easily as it can be made, the digital world can be torn down and rebuilt, but our earth is not so simple and must be maintained.

I cannot say anything for certain except that the world is changing, whether for the better or for worse, I do not know.

But we need to be careful about the next steps that society takes. We are on thin ice and one wrong step could cause a war, an economy crash or an apocalyptic disaster.

Video games are not the solution to the world’s problems, nor do I believe they are the main cause.

In change, anything can happen, and society is developing faster than ever.

To ensure society lasts, humanity must prioritise the safety of the earth over personal gain.

As Robert Swan said: "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it".

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