There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Virtually Frightening

Virtual reality has been all the rage since at least my very youngest days in the mid-80s. As a youth I recall playing games like Rollercoaster Tycoon – which represented a pretty good advancement over the hot dog stand game we had on school computers – and, of course, Sim City in its many incarnations. Simulators, virtual reality, close enough. Then, of course, came The Sims which was grossly popular, but I actually never played. And you can't talk virtual reality without mentioning VR Troopers. It was usually book-ended by Power Rangers and Big Bad Beetleborgs, the latter being one of the oddest and worst television programs I've ever seen.

But the reason I brought up VR (we use hip abbreviations on this website) originally was because of a site I stumbled upon at work the other day called Habbo. It's a virtual community that looks like a Final Fantasy Tactics version of the popular Second Life. These sites scare the shit out of me. I think there are also sites that combine fantasy with VR for the uber-nerd (like an Ultima Online). This actually makes more sense to me since you generally aren't allowed to wear chain mail and wield maces and cast magic spells on people in day-to-day life, so why not pretend to behind a computer screen?

I am all for being imaginative, having an imagination and all that jazz, but your virtual life should never exceed your real life. I just don't see how virtually doing things on the internet at all compares to doing something, well, anything, in real life. There are folks who are seriously seriously engulfed in this shit. I think you can even buy things for yourself in your virtual world, but that is done with REAL money. This makes even less sense to me. You can buy all the virtual undies you want, but you'll still be standing there cold and naked, and now poor, until you get the real thing.

Anyone who wants to enlighten me to the joys of the virtual world, I am all ears, but it seems an awful lot like plugging into the Matrix to me, without the joy of not knowing you're plugged in. With the snow coming down outside, I recommend a good book, a nice movie, snuggling with a loved one, hot cocoa, a fireplace...okay this list is getting long, but enjoy the snowy day before it's tainted with the dirt and filth of automobile and industry.

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