Wednesday, September 4, 2019

There is No Escaping the Matrix Essay -- Video Games Virtual Reality

There is No Escaping the Matrix In the video game world anything is possible, and if your player dies you can always play again. The videogame industry is exploding in the market place; it's far from child's play and far from the days of pong. In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (December 6, 2002) there is an article, Video Game Nation, discussing a new video game experience being touted as the wave of the future, The Real World meets The Matrix. In this virtual world called The Sims Online, people "live" in a virtual environment peopled by avatars created by thousands of other gamers. Neal Stephenson envisioned this future ten years prior with his release of Snow Crash. Stephenson describes a computer-generated "metaverse" where the logged-on could take on "avatars" hang out, and walk around, meet other "avatars" and perhaps fall in love. These artificial realities offer millions of people a chance to step out of our world and enter another dimension where anything can happen. The setting may be artif icial in nature, an electronic stream of data creates this artificial world for the player back home, but the interaction and the emotional appeal for the players are very real. When Neo is "reborn" we see where technology has taken us; it has enslaved us and uses us humans as a power source. Why not see that for what it is: a warning. We see computer gaming as nothing more than just escape. This is what technology offers people escape -- from this world, but is something being given up? Perhaps we should look at the nature of the beast and realize we are already enslaved. We are already there linked together in a Marxist fashion struggling for power, shelling out time and money to find solace inside the World Wide ... ...real Matrix that is this planet if we spend all our time on the "net?" Perhaps the connected quality can translate into a more informed public, but I doubt the young players of video games would bother to take notice. Stephenson's vision is accurate, we are becoming more connected yet live separate from each other; separated by tract housing, highways and the 'metaverse.' The future generation video gamers will experience more complicated and time-consuming games. This virtual gaming world offers them a place to explore beyond their world but at the same time keeps the players from this world. The love we have for machinery has only served to create the world we have today. There is no escaping the Matrix. Even at the end of the movie, Neo is still using the Matrix to communicate his intentions; we are still trapped inside the glass womb waiting to be set free.

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