In the world of technology, that we surround ourselves in. It can become effortless (in fact some would say too easy) to get lost in what seems like a world far off from reality. A world where people states and countries away can still interact, a world where people can forget the issues that pepper their own lives, a world where the possibilities seem that much more limitless. This world is what’s mostly known as “Virtual Reality.”
Since it’s inception, many people of many ages have found themselves submerged into this world, though online and gaming chat rooms, VR games such as VRchat, MMO games, and many more. With little indication of slowing down. As one might expect, talk and controversy have surrounded this phenomenon. With the discussion about how it affects peoples minds and keeps them shut in from the world.
However, a psychologist by the name of Pete Etchells has discovered some surprising benefits to how the idea of the Virtual World (primarily gaming) can be beneficial. While the criticisms are nothing to gloss over, it’s pretty interesting to see what these ideas can detail.
That’s where this article will talk about the research found on the positive side of the critical perspective.
When playing video games, they often find the player having to perform tasks such as solving puzzles and being able to react quickly to specific events. Because of this, gaming has the skill to sharpen our senses if used correctly.
After all the idea of a video game is to get a feel of real life, so if someone were to acquire a skill in gaming such as problem-solving, they could be just as likely skilled in real life with that knowledge.
Although of course, this could lead to potential issues along the way, for example, if one plays a fighting game (we’ll use Tekken for it’s more accurate portray of technique) for long enough, they might believe they know how to fight. But the truth is that it takes more effort to do so than just watching it.
However, when it comes down to mental skills, Virtual worlds have the potential to shape us positively. This knowledge has been proven further with the use of simulations in the workforce for planes and other automobiles.
The Connections With People
Although another criticism brought up with the idea of virtual reality is that it often keeps people away from others on the outside, it might also be constructive to connect with others online.
What I mean by this is that being online (whether through social media or gaming) it’s possible to find people who share the same interests. It’s been shown to be a more practical way to find people with the same common interests though virtual reality than in real life.
Furthermore, not only can online connections benefit friendships, but they can also create a relationship for business and career. This becomes especially helpful when the clients in question reside further away than their source of work — resulting in more employment and experience.
The Connections With Emotions
Very similar to how we view TV and Film as a form of art, the world of virtual reality has just as much of a capability to become art as any other medium.
The best example of this in gaming comes from the Metal Gear Solid Franchise. Dating as far back as 1998, the series manages to not only create a world that immerses the gamer in a different reality but also portrays themes of real life that can be seen as relatable to others.
At its essence, Virtual Reality can evoke the types of emotional responses that we often see in entertainment. Because of this, it allows us to understand more about human psyche in a way real life could never do. An example of this comes from an experience that the previously mentioned psychologist “Pete Etchells” had.
When playing the game “Hellflame: Seuna’s Scarface” he noted that the game portrayed its protagonist with psychosis, and not only that, but it portrayed the idea well. This was a surprise to Pete because according to his memory, not many games have portrayed mental health accurately.
With this being said, if more games are willing to go the extra mile into research then perhaps the idea of Virtual Worlds teaching us about the inner mind can also shape a better view of the subject.