This article and Jane McGonigal’s “Reality is Broken” both discuss how games and virtual worlds are escapes from reality. In virtual worlds, the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. Participants contribute to winning the game and their contribution makes that virtual world “a better place.”
Virtual worlds, like online games, provide people with a sense of community and belonging that they might not experience in reality. It is amazing how video games today look realistic. It is easy to see how these worlds can be an escape. For those who partake in these online games and virtual worlds, the kinds of deep engagement that players have with the social life around the game suggest that the relationships the players have with one another is deeper and more meaningful than many believe.
Will virtual worlds in video games and in Second Life eventually become more meaningful to people than real life ever will? With technology always evolving and our capabilities as humans growing exponentially, I wonder if eventually life will occur mostly through an online medium. It makes me sad to think that the majority of human interaction may happen through some sort of technology rather than face to face. While it is amazing to think about how we have progressed as a species, I don’t think anything can replace actual contact with a person. I hope that technology, like virtual worlds, will be integrated into our lives but will not take over our lives in the future.