Skip to main content

Alternate Reality


The Princeton dictionary defines reality as "the quality possessed by something that is real". Real is defined as "being or occurring in fact or actuality". Then you start to define fact and actually, and it does not take long before you have reached the circular definition dilemma of our languages and dictionaries.

How can we truly define reality, when we can not define truth? Okay, let us not get that deep... Is reality then just being awake? Or perhaps, reality is being in a realm where you are are able to imagine. Because our dreams sure feel real while we are in them. Movies and books feel real when we are engrossed by them. We cry in some movies. I don't cry, although I have gotten "misty" eyed. The Ancient Greek, Aristotle, took it further and believed in catharsis, that this emotional connection in the reality of plays was therapeutic. For all we know, reality, can just be the perfect mix of synapses in our brain firing off, a view supported in The Matrix.

Recently there have been advances to alternate realities. When these realities come through computers, they are called virtual realities. The most famous and successful virtual reality is the World of Warcraft (WoW) game. I have played WoW on and off since it debuted in 2005. I play the game in cycles because the game is time consuming, it threatens to take over as my primary reality. WoW has taken over the primary reality for many people. For players, time not spent in WoW is lost experience or gold for their character (i.e., their beloved gnome warlock). Some people spend an unhealthy amount of hours a day playing WoW, these people ignore their school, job or spouse. The consequences can be broken bonds with our loved ones, lost jobs and failed classes. And why? It is just for a game.

Well, no. As mentioned, WoW, is another reality. A reality where your character progresses and is rewarded by a standard unlike real life.* A delicate balance of time spent in the game and skill level reward players more fairly than the real world. There is no equivalent in WoW to this realities' aristocracy and poor who have been poor for generations. Frequent expansions to the game reset the playing field. And contrary to outsider's belief of the game, WoW is vastly socially interactive.

WoW also possess the perfect balance of difficulty. In life, if something is too hard, we tend to give up. If something is too easy, we tend to lose interest. This perfect balance of difficulty found in WoW serves to only add to the addictive nature of the game.

As a friend, Claude, once said the only thing preventing some people from losing themselves in today's virtual realties, like WoW, is the fact that if they play too long they will lose their jobs and thus can not afford to pay their bills (including the game's monthly fee). Let us hope in-game economies do not spill over to the real world. If anybody has played games like WoW, you might have already seen the beginnings of this. Players have been selling WoW gold for real US dollars in spite of the forbidden nature of this act. Further raising concerns, is the more "life-like" virtual realities that are coming within the next few decades. We must always be careful to keep ourselves grounded in the real reality, however fair-stimulating-enticing these alternate realities all.


*Thank you Jeremy for the idea.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Outdated! Charter Cable Box UI

When I was living with my old roommates, we used Direct TV and Time Warner Cable to satisfy our TV cravings. While I hated, hate, and will always hate Direct TV for their barbaric two year contracts, I give them credit for having a neat looking user interface (UI). But because of their two year contract and lies, we cancelled. We paid about $400 dollars to get Direct TV's grubby paws out of our living room. At that point, it wasn't about the money, it was about principles. And so a happier relationship was started with Time Warner Cable. Though a lot of things were better with Time Warner Cable, I couldn't help but notice their cable boxes' UI was "fugly". Little did I know...

Recently, I've moved away from the parents old roommates. The new area I'm in is serviced by Charter Cable. I was shocked by the UI of the Charter cable boxes.  See picture below:


The UI of the Charter cable box made Time Warner Cable's UI look like it was from the year 2020.…

The Death of the Paper Receipt

Yesterday, I was surprised by the use of an "old" technology, the e-mail, used in a new way. This started when I accompanied my wife to Macy's so that she could get some Origins lotion. Why women have to shop is beyond me, why women have to buy expensive lotion is also beyond me. Men, just know that is how they are, you can only hope to contain their appetite to shop, good luck! It is funny how they always "need" something. Makes you wonder if women understand the meaning of the word "need"... Either way, I love my wife.

Anyways, back to the expensive lotion. After doing some asking at the Origins section of Macy's, my wife has the lotion she wants, Ginger Souffle. We take the lotion to the counter to pay. After I hand the young lady helping us at the counter my credit card, she asks me if I want a paper receipt or an electronic receipt. I am confused. I have never been given this option before.

I ponder, "Well a paper receipt is nice, but y…

iPhone 4S Announced and Not iPhone 5

Today Apple announced their fifth iPhone, we have had, in order:

June 2007, iPhoneJuly 2008, iPhone 3G June 2009, iPhone 3GSJune 2010, iPhone 4 For this iPhone, we were all hoping for an iPhone 5, which is to mean, a redesigned phone. Instead we got an updated iPhone 4, we got the iPhone 4S. 
What we did NOT get: A bigger screen, the iPhone 4S will be the usual 3.5".4G! This is huge, can people wisely enter into a two year contract without 4G. 3G might be good enough now, but what will happen in a year with carriers shifting their resources to 4G LTE? When websites continue to demand more bandwidth? When our lives inch closer to the cloud? This launch reminds me of the first iPhone, the 3G technology was there, but Apple chose the safe route and went with 2G. When Apple released the iPhone 3G a year later, it rendered the first iPhone obsolete. Many mactards were "forced" to upgrade.   What we DID get: A dual core processor and bump in RAM. This is great in theory, but t…