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One of the hardest "video games" possible: Voluntary Death

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posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 10:05 PM
This is going to explore some concepts which some may find offensive or disagreeable. I apologize, but I think it's a vantage point worth examining. Please note: I am not suicidal and this is not a call for help. I don't recall a point in life where I was MORE aware of how much there was I wanted to explore and experience. If one takes the time to understand what is being presented, you'll even see why "suicide" isn't really what it's about.


I create video games for a living. I've recently taken a break for a variety of reasons, but one of them is my frustration that I don't think the full strength of our platform is being explored and miss the days where my skills were focused on interacting with another mind in interesting ways, not placating or "entertaining" another mind.

Like most designers, I'm always exploring the various possibilities. One of the ones that will be available to us eventually is to immerse a person in a game where they forget they are playing a game. I don't mean virtual reality where your senses can't tell the difference... I mean you "wake up" as Guybrush Threepwood in an 8 bit 2D Monkey Island and you TRULY believe you are Guybrush, that the world as you see is real and the only one, and have to figure out how to get out.

This is one of the holy grails... this is when the entertainment medium will reach a singularity of possibilities that are barely fathomable to most of us. The sort of experiences we'll be able to make you "really" have safely with no threat to yourself will be infinite. Or at least near infinite given the psychological issues.

Now where does this go? We all know the stories of heroism and despondency of human history. We've all wondered "what would I do if that had been me?"

That's exactly what this stage of "video games" will provide, and you will be able to find out what it's like to die rescuing a baby from a fire. Or to die to "save the planet". Or if you wish... to become so depressed you finally take your own life. YOU, the one "playing" the game will be safe... as safe as watching a movie about someone who dies a hero or a loser except now you will truly understand what it was like to be them and NOT know you were going to be ok.

Now imagine a game like World of Warcraft where the rules (contract) are simple:
- There are no rules inside the game except the limitations of the physical simulation.
- The only way to "win" and be allowed to stop playing is to CHOOSE to die.
- If you die but didn't CHOOSE to die, you start over from scratch.
- If you knowingly give away the secret to victory, you are killed and have to start over from scratch.

Consider what such a world would might look like and the sort of social systems that would develop as people believed their objective is to survive... but the real goal is to choose how you will die? Will you die a war hero? Happily after a long life? Alone overdosing? You'd then be left to "judge" your own performance in the game and decide if you wanted to try again, or you were satisfied and wanted to go play something less difficult and "dark", haha.

Consider how those who came to tell the truth would be treated by "those in power maintaining the game"... and how their words would be manipulated to distract from the truth?

Wouldn't the game system be designed to *constantly* give people as many options for dying as possible? To be designed to constantly erode anything that can survive, incite conflict, separation, and violence, create detachment and depression, etc. Then we each get to look at the examples around us and choose for ourself what we're going to do.

I don't think that's the point of THIS "game" we're all running around in, but there are a lot of aspects to where we find ourselves that gives me some reason to reflect on some of the less logical things our society continues to perpetuate, as well as some of the "positive" methods put out there for escaping the loop vs the "negative" methods. All exits are educational... but only those voluntarily and intelligently chosen are fully understood.

This will sound cliche... but similar to Neo and Obi-Wan when they "put down their sword" and allowed their enemy to "strike them down". But it was only worthwhile in that moment.

Personally: I think it's possible this universe's "game" is to come up with and define your own way out. The only catch is you have to believe in it absolutely regardless of what others say. That possibility is also able to explain a lot of the conflicts and information available to us.

edit on 2012/7/10 by ErgoTheConfusion because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 10:23 PM
What if we are already in this game you speak of o.O, if it is as real as life is maybe we all are in such a game already, be it yes that would seem like a damn lot of machines we would have to be hooked up with to all be real people, but maybe all the bums that have been on welfare for 3 or 4 generations and just keep spitting out babies never having worked a day in their lives are just computer NPC's, they're just filler content haha, someone volunteer to die and see if its true or not, but then how would we know they had woken up and beat the game, i guess that person would then have to go wake someone else up thats in the game to prove it, so if some famous young person randomly dies then we'll have our answer haha. the mind boggles,

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 10:37 PM
reply to post by kaoticf8

It's a conundrum isn't it? You can't know till you do it, but you don't want to do it unless you know.

That's why in order for the game described above to be meaningful, worthwhile, and fair... it would have to come down victory being something you TRULY would be willing to die for. Not just willing to die for to "win the game". But that's also what makes it one of the hardest yet most satisfying games to play.

Thus why art done to be true art is almost always more eternal than art done for profit.

edit on 2012/7/10 by ErgoTheConfusion because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:06 PM
the best games are the ones like you sugest.

Build a world, make the basic rules, let your player decide what he will make of the game.

Some very interesting things come out of that, look at EVE online, or Minecraft.

We are on the cusp of some amazing things....

But as you suggest, who knows, maybe we are all just souls playing this "sim" game as we go through life, when we die, we unplug and brag to our fellow souls all the cool things we did in the game...

and as a gamer, this concept does not frighten me, theres always another game to play...
edit on 10-7-2012 by benrl because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:06 PM
reply to post by ErgoTheConfusion

this is kind of a contemporary understanding of the universe as Gods.,.,.,,.,,..,

If we are really unbiased pure quantum of energy,, all born equally from the architect of the game,..,, and this energy has an eternal infinity to bounce around,.,., the ultimate roll playing game, the stakes are whats real,,,,, we made up the concept of "game" after the fact we are in this real life "game" .,.,.,.,.,

also what i meant to say,,,.,.., is if reality is a highly advanced version of what you are saying,...,,. getting trapped in your own creations,,, and coming out on the other side,,,, and the universe is so big and there might be more,,, who knows,.,. but power structures trying to hold on to the way they want reality to stay,,, not wanting to give up your avatar..,,. making your own game to trap your self in,,,,
edit on 10-7-2012 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:13 PM
one of the hardest video games i can imagine would be sims; universe,..,,. maintaining your own universe for billions of years.,..,..,,.,., thatll take some patience,

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:21 PM
I look at it like this..

We are the debuggers of the program.

Our reality is an illusion.

We are all one.

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:28 PM
Sounds like a trip.
I am not a gamer at all, hell, I have a broken old ps2 with a porno stuck in it from my high school days in my closet. but It sounds interesting enough I would play it.

I want to bring up the text below.

Wouldn't the game system be designed to *constantly* give people as many options for dying as possible? To be designed to constantly erode anything that can survive, incite conflict, separation, and violence, create detachment and depression, etc. Then we each get to look at the examples around us and choose for ourself what we're going to do.

The way you live your life, more times then not contributes to the way you will die.
The thing about life itself though, Is it isn't all conflict, separation, violence, and depression. Their is joy, love, and laughter in the mix. And the two examples of despair vs happiness would not exist without each other. Both eroding each other.

I get your design of *Constant* options for dying, and facing such hardships as mentioned above driving you to a specific death. But what about integrating a short lived joy, or happiness every so rare occasion. It could impact the choices people make in the game, You know it definitely does in real life.

I'm rambling

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:33 PM
NEED UAV, enemy helicopter incoming... WHERES THAT DAMN UAV??

Set up the Clays over by that door, I'll snipe... FU NOOB, I'm Sniping not CAMPING!!!

K, 3 nades for the spawn, see if that shuts you up... WALL HAX YOU PIG !!!!

Can't talk, COD4, almost winning....

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:39 PM
reply to post by ErgoTheConfusion

Cool idea suggesting games as a possible way to explore philosophical situations. Interesting idea for a game as well and I would pay to play it, although not much a gamer. I think harder video games are more necessary these days.

While you're at it, create for me a game called "Difficult," where each level is a square room with one exit. In order to exit, one must enter a password into the qwerty keyboard beside the door. The password would undoubtedly be completely arbitrary.

In the room are many clues: papers, books, pictures, scribbled notes, a waste basket, a desk with objects scattered about. Anything can of course be picked up and examined.

With those clues one must have to figure out the password—which is found to be Difficult. After the door is opened, a new room and a new password begins. Each time a room is passed, the score goes up.

I think I would love to see these games.

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by ErgoTheConfusion

Some interest thoughts.

I'm a programmer too just haven't made any games yet.

But I've thought about similar things. It's impossible not to. Really.

But be careful about thinking reality too much.

Have to experience reality a lot of times to have a clear head.

Still, there's some reality to what you say.

VR is getting more and more intimate.

Sony is releasing a 3d pair of "glasses" that bring the movie theatre home.

And this is just scratching the surface. Virtual reality is already heavily being used.

Everytime we talk on the phone we're using virtual reality. The voice you hear is a signal and is -not- directly heard. Therefore, it's not REAL in the same way that being in the flesh is.

We use virtual reality when we see pictures or video of real events. Since they're removed from the actual event and are instead a "signal" (so to speak) then they can be classifed as virtual.

Virtual Reality is different than Virtual Reality Simulation. Virtual reality is like being on the phone or viewing a video of a RL event. Virtual reality simulations are only loosely tied to reality. They might use similar physics or mechanisms, but things can be wildly different and insane by comparison.

What happens when they can directly tap into the brain and reroute or substitute signals?

So many possibilities how far the technology will go.

But why would a hypothetical society create virtual reality simulations that people live in?

Need to answer that question.

Why would we abandon reality and go into fake realities?

By not living in reality how could we evolve or adapt? Would we de-evolve?

But the "reality" of VR or VRSims is deeper than that.

I think our mind will increasingly become "virtual". This doesn't mean fake. It means that our mind will be able to exist on computers or in bodies or as a dataform transmitted across distance.

I think that virtual things and reality will combine into one in mutual cooperation.

Whenever virtual reality or VRSims benefit us then we'll use them. When they don't, we'll learn not to. It's too early to know exactly what will help us and what won't. It requires a lot of time.
edit on 11-7-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:03 AM
Here is a game scenario I would like to see. Total death reality, in that if you die, you can never play the game again.
In this game, before you ever take the chance of playing it for keeps, you can follow others who have decided to take the plunge and play for keeps. You study them, see why they fail in certain circumstances. The game must be controlled totally online, and keep impeccable records.

Once you feel you have enough study experience, you then decide to play for keeps. The game could hold records and award prizes for the top players who have been able to stay alive the longest. But, there needs to be an absolute identity filter, so that you can only play for keeps once, in the lifetime of the game.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:47 AM
reply to post by charlyv

Did you ever watch Caprica? That was the premise of New Cap City - the virtual reality world created by hackers with holobands.

New Cap City grew out of the underground movement on Caprica before the Fall of teenagers hacking pay holoband sites to create free virtual environments like the "V-Club". New Cap was widely known for its violence, a corrupted version of the real life Caprica City that updated to reflect current events in the physical world including the bombing of MagLev 23. Unlike the genuine article, this version of Caprica City reflected a bygone era of propeller aircraft and was patrolled by an enormous, well armed dirigible that would, at times, shoot indiscriminately at users on the streets below. The dirigible unleashes retro-Vipers on New Cap City.

Despite being pure fantasy, New Cap City followed the rules of the physical world, but portrayed none of the consequences of drug and alcohol use and promiscuous sex that would be experienced in reality. Death, in New Cap, was also a painful sensation and resulted in the derezzing of the user's avatar and permanent exile from the game

Pity that cancelled that show, I'd watch it again if it wasn't so badly ended...

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:48 AM
Kinda sounds like "Ready Player One".. the audio book is fantastic if you have 17 free hours to listen to it. So you are an out of work game developer huh? Even if it was voluntary right now is a horrible time to be on the outside.. that is if you are wanting to get back in sooner than later~

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:49 AM
reply to post by charlyv

Oh and also, I think we're already playing a game that you can only die once in. Life.

If you play a game as delicate as life and choose to be cautious to stay alive, what difference is there?

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:07 AM
reply to post by ErgoTheConfusion

Excellent thread. The holy grail you speak of is closer than we may realize. Uploading a consciousness will eventually lead to what you are talking about.

Strangely, the opposite seems to be happening. Instead of striving for game immersion, society is adding gaming elements to everyday life. Reality shows, gaming on every conceivable platform, etc. I listened to an interview on the radio once with a technology investor who saw the future society as a collective game. He believes point values will be assigned to every day activities and people will be able to compare "scores". Also, with augmented reality, you could have a friendly "duel" with a stranger on the street with guns or swords or whatnot.

My personal take on digital gaming is that it is reflective and analogous to our flesh and blood meatspace reality. If you are interested, there's a thread on it in my signature.

I hope for the sake of enthusiasts everywhere that you get back on your saddle soon and help "gamify" society a bit more quickly.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 02:06 AM
I'm think that kind of game play sounds truly awesome. Being able to live out a fantasy world as if it were real seems too far out there atm, but so did something like cell phones a few centuries ago...

The first thing I noticed here is the similarity to a few movies I've seen--namely Inception and Total Recall. I don't understand the fixation on death in this scenario you propose, why can't leaving the game be as simple as picking up a phone (the Matrix) or disconnecting an accessory your wearing?

Also, the total immersion would be a let down to me. I would like to know that I am experiencing something completely unreal despite its duplication of reality. In the same way I would like to have lucid dreams.

I see in your above reply that you would like the game to explore things that you would truly die for. I don't think any mass marketed video game or story is going to strike that cord with the amount of people we think of with blockbuster video game target audiences today.

Also, I think the emotional toll that this 'game' would tax someone would ensure that they did not do it often, maybe not more than once!

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 02:11 AM
it seems to me that this is like a dream. when we are in them, it is VERY real. INFACt, this must be the ultimate universal conscious. Waking up from a game this real would be like waking up from right now, in THIS dream.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 02:14 AM
this thread reeminds me of the movie virtuosity

Programmer Dr. Darrel Lindenmeyer of the Law Enforcement Technology Advancement Centre (LETAC) has developed SID version 6.7: a Sadistic, Intelligent, and Dangerous virtual reality entity amalgamation of 200 notorious criminal personalities: mass murderers, serial killers, and megalomaniacs. Programmed using genetic algorithms, each of the 200 killers in SID holds the memories, personality/behavioral traits, and emotional composition of the original. Being far too complex to design, Lindenmeyer has SID's program begin with him as a child (sped up in virtual reality), having the killers in his subconscious raise him and guide him in the ways of the world. The killers emerge through the 50 terabyte, self-evolving neural network that is SID through a type of Multiple Personality Disorder, giving way to the stronger personalities depending on each situation.

LETAC would like to train police officers by putting them in full-sensory simulation VR with SID, the idea being that if the cops in the virtual reality simulator can catch him, they can catch anyone. First they must prove the concept works, which they decide to do using prisoners as test subjects. While Parker Barnes (Washington) and another prisoner are inside virtual reality in form of a Japanese restaurant, SID, having the accumulated knowledge of 200 killers, has figured out how to raise the neural sensitivity calibrations in the VR program, causing the pain being received to affect real life. SID kills one of the two prisoner-turned-temporary-police officers by torture through electrocution - a technique Barnes accurately notes is NOT available as one of his programmed methods of killing. The aftermath leaves the prisoner dead of severe, concentrated seizures to the major pain receptors of the brain. Barnes is left traumatized and later has to fight for his life in prison because it has become known he is an ex-cop.

Witnessing the catastrophe, Commissioner Elizabeth Deane, the director overseeing the SID project, orders it shut down. Later, Lindenmeyer gravely tells his 'masterpiece' his fate. SID, in turn, tells Lindenmeyer an alternative: tricking Clyde Reilly, a befriended coworker at LETAC, into turning SID's persona into a regenerating android (better known as a 'nanotech synthetic organism'), by making him think he is actually generating the persona and form of a sexy virtual prostitute, Sheila 3.2. Less than 30 seconds after the ultimate madman is released into our world, Reilly becomes SID's first victim. Now in the real world, he is free of all behavioral limits he previously had in virtual reality, gaining the ability to now grow on his own - rewriting and improving his own programming. The cops remember that Barnes was the only subject who could keep up with SID in the simulator and decide they need to use him to stop the virtual-turned-actual killing machine.

and also the movie strange days. and i guess total recall aswell
I dont like the idea of downloading myself into a comp and letting people program my reality without a garuntee of escape. it brings up a lot of social issues really, i'd rather die than be immortal. i'd get so bored and depressed repeating thing's over and over. i gues you could bury yourself like a vampire for a hundred years and then come back and experience thing's anew but meh, I would rather find out whats beyond. I had an idea for a novel where someone downloads the internet into there brain and it gets hacked and they loose control and theres popups all over theyre field of vision and you can upgrade things in your mind but it turns out after a little research that it wasnt very original so i scrapped it.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 03:27 AM
I like the idea of it. Imagine that we were all hooked up as the norm. You would not have access to your body unless you get certain achievements within the game. Like all criminals are forced to stay under, while everyone else can leave. You would face criminals, real criminals in their VR prison. Like you could go to the part of the construct city where everyone that has chosen to not leave spends all day killing dying, fighting urban combat, ect.

Or you could go to the part of the construct where people go to have meetings, date, have unprotected sex, or just party.

Or you could go to the part of the construct that users are building and see freaky things like floating buildings or monsters.

I think the original matrix should be limited to the laws of physics, the other sections to have applied sciences overcome them. So you can buy anti grav boots in the anything goes section, but the central hub/ city be a normal world where everyone meets up or starts.

I would also include an editor so people can make their own cities. When one becomes popular or big enough, add it to the central one. That way you could leave a part of your world after your avatar is deleted when you die in reality.

It could be possible one day to transfer your consciousness into the simulation before you die like in Caprica.

Imagine that you could live on in a VR form as caretaker of your world. You would get visitors from reality that would keep you informed of current events. You could see images and access information from reality. You could make a construct for your family where you meet up with your relatives, some who have lost their body years , or centuries ago.

That would be cool. I can imagine that if you had enough stimulus, eternity learning in a non corporeal form would be good. You could become the master of all and teach the younger generations.

Then maybe robotic bodies could be made to transfer your consciousness so as to see a real sun set, or a real stripper.

You could re-download and hang out in a simulated version of earth's orbit with real time images being transmitted to earth from one of our satellites. Imagine, become a satellite and watch the stars from up there.

Anything is possible in an environment like that.

edit on 11-7-2012 by BIHOTZ because: (no reason given)

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