Video Games as Religious Philosophy

October 31, 2006

So a friend at a forum I frequent started this thread about the distinction between reality and simulated reality. Long story short, we started talking about video games as if they were entire realities unto themselves with religions and everything. Basically, we just came up with a bunch of mildly mind-blowing similarities and comparisons. Granted, most of the similarities/comparisons are stretches.

Video games have players who take the role of resolving some conflict in the VG universe. It typically involves some moral decisions or in someway trying to promote some moral philosophy. We are essentially the “prophet” or Jesus-character.

Now imagine who created the video game and thus the characters. In virtuality there are two options. A game developer or a game dev team. This could be interpreted as monotheism or henotheism (usually there is a game dev team with one main game dev director) or in the case with Valve and their caballistic method it would be polytheism. The other option is that the characters and the environment is “procedurally generated content” – ie. evolution and the interplay of of physics-chemistry-biology. But then again… a game dev developed those procedures too. There is still the rentention of the creationist versus non-creationist problem.

Early on in the video game history “consoles” emerged. We interepreted this that this represents multiple video game universes. Each one has its own proprietary “natural laws”. Also, each game is itself a universe. So each game-verse is wrapped in a console-verse. Physics was only recently introduced into the video game world and is quickly becoming a bigger part of the entire industry.

You can pretty much take anything from the video game atmosphere and notice a similar aspect in some religion. Take video game peripherals – game pads and controllers. They are the conduit of connecting us – the human being in reality – to the virtual character in another reality. In Zen Buddhism meditation is the conduit which is utilize for connecting oneself to nirvana – an enlightened reality. There are other methods for doing similar things in Hinduism with connecting one’s Atman with Brahman.

Each game has a set of rules. This is endlessly interpretable. Judiaism has 613 rules one must abide by in the Talmud. Christianity has 10 commandments. Islam has Sharia Laws and so forth. Sometimes video game rules are more like natural laws – some games you can’t jump or swim, some don’t have a physics engine and so forth.

Do games have internal systems of morality? We gamers have been conditioned that it is morally permissable to murder an NPC – or anything in a game that has some kind of AI. If it has AI, it’s sentient/conscious and in the realm of viruality – is life. We were joking that there should be a non-violent pacifist religion that is against killing NPCs.

lol… what an apeshit post.


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