vr: some scary stuff

I remember when I got my very first gaming PC, with a copy of the latest and greatest in video gaming achievement, Crisis. It’s graphical significance, to this day, is still praised, and it blew my tiny mind away. I think I played nonstop for upwards of 11 hours, without ever going into the story mode. The way the water refracted the lights, the leaves that brush naturally out of you way when you walk past. And that didn’t even get into the insane scale of the maps, giving you endless possibilities to play your way. At least if you were ready to kill everything in your path.

Fast forward ten or so years, and the boundaries of gaming are still pushed every day. VR is becoming more and more accessible, and as a gamer, its amazing. The immersion I felt in Crysis can be amplified so much now a days. But that comes with certain risks. After listening to an NPR interview, my fear and paranoia surrounding VR has increased significantly. Jeremy Bailenson speaks to the positive properties of VR technology, like how it can help people deal with PTSD, but in the same way that it can  code someone to deal with trauma, it can train people to violence.

It was always a joke to me when people argued that video games make people more violent. That the obviously fake people I’m running down in GTAIV could make me want to do it in real life. VR makes that a little more concerning. The increased immersion is what really concerns me. I think what is holding games back from reaching a far too realistic representation of violence is graphics, but we keep getting closer every day. So what happens when I can load a hyper-realistic version of my boss to beat the shit out of? Am I training myself to actually beat him up, or is it just senseless violence to relax and take a break? Honestly, I’m not sure, and I think that as this technology improves, regulations, much stronger than we have now, will have to start being implemented.

ARTICLE REFERENCED: https://www.npr.org/2018/02/04/583095400/just-how-real-is-virtual-reality