Life Inside a Video Game

a.k.a What Video Games Have Taught Me
(This little piece of writing isn't meant to be taken seriously, so just enjoy... And thanks for reading...)

~Got Shot? No Problem!
Sometimes I have a feeling that being inside a war-related video game would be much safer than real life itself. That's because the virtual word is packed full of medicine and people that want to heal you. And most of times you don't even need any help.

Mirror's Edge shows that the only consequences of jumping from one skyscraper to another are getting dizzy and blurry vision. The heroine even gets shot on several occasions, but keeps on running and heals on the spot. Convenient, no? Just imagine how incredible our lives would be if we had the chance to zoom by tall buildings and not care if we got shot. It seems almost God-like.

~Medkits, Health Potions, Bandages... Chocolate?
There's always a cure for everything in a video game, which kind of makes life seem a letdown. Got sick in Oblivion? Just pop over at the nearest church and receive your daily and free blessing. Any resident of Rapture (Bioshock) can always find a couple of dollars and buy a coffee or chocolate cake (!) to boost up their life instantly without gaining an extra pound. Tomb Raider 6 gives you the choice of eating chocolate bars to boost your health, even though they're unwrapped and on the floor... Healing by eating sweets would certainly be a medical breakthrough if you could apply it to our world without the fear of getting fat...

And to top it off, medipacks or healing aids can be found throughout the virtual world as long as you look carefully enough. Sometimes they're in boxes, barrels, cupboards or just lying on the street in front of you, almost whispering "Pick me! Pick me!"

~You're the Hero? You're Safe, Buddy
There's nobody luckier than a video game hero... He always gets to fight an evil genius and save the world, he always gets the girl, he's the man everybody trusts and are wiling to help no matter what. In the real world the hero would be a popular jock that everyone hates just because he always gets his way.

Have you even noticed that the hero is the only one that withstands everything and never dies? Sometimes I wonder if his mother was a bodybuilder and his dad was half a tank. Max Payne is one example that comes to mind. From start to end the hero gets shot, exploded, survives a flaming building, falls two stories on a piece of metal, tortured, beaten, and managed to just walk off the pain every time. Having such power of immortality would certainly come in handy in the real world, wouldn't it?

I think the most unfortunate characters are the people that hang around the hero, they always get kidnapped or die five minutes into the video game, which makes our main character most likely to survive. After all, who would kill off a hero?

~Be Optimistic In the Wasteland
One useful thing that video games thought me is that you can see the bright side of something even when you're looking 500 meters into a desolate wasteland.

Fallout 3 is probably the only game I've seen that throws you into a depressing atmosphere, but constantly encourages you to be optimistic. In the Wasteland you don't have time to sit and mope around because you have to help others, deliver messages, basically give a hand at rebuilding a fallen world. I wish I'd see something like this in the real world, to see the masses fighting together to improve the world and really see results.

The game somehow seems to say that even a nuclear explosion shouldn't bring you down. Moira Brown, the researcher of Megaton, is the only survivor of the town, and even though she's completely changed by the radiation she's still determined to finish writing her book. Now that's optimism.

~Rewards are in the Air
Well, not literally... Have you ever woken up, dragged yourself over at the office and dreamed of seeing a brightly colored sign that reads: "20 XP Points Awarded"? Video games always reward you for almost anything you do, whether it's collecting a scroll or simply reaching a destination. But, sadly, life doesn't offer such encouragement. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get little prizes every time we did a good deed such as driving nana to the airport?

The Devil May Cry games have one of the best ranking and reward system I've ever seen. At the end of each level you're given a "grade" (S being the best and D being the worst) in order to summarize how you played. And I won't lie - the system is harsh and feels like it's mocking you every time you get anything below S. But the good part is that this motivates you to go back on the field and try again and again in order to improve yourself and make that system award you an S. Unfortunately life isn't that supportive, if you get a bad grade odds are you'll get grounded which to me means saying goodbye to improvement.

Video games use this system in order to motivate us, give us a reason to keep doing what we're doing; we're often awarded with money or experience points, something that can somewhat be related to life. We do our job, we get paid; we read a book, we get "invisible" experience points. But I'd still rather use the video game reward system...