Games have come a long way in only a short amount of time. In the 70’s players only had access to games like pong which didn’t exactly lead you to believe you were actually playing table tennis. These days the line between fantasy and reality are blurring. While people were hooked on the likes of slot machines and arcade games, they’re now equally as many who are addicted to the likes of Fortnite and GTA.
Open world games are a massive hit and they especially have taken advantage of the leaps in technology. When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out in 1998, it felt as though you were living through an immersive revolution, but you still knew that it wasn’t real. 20 years later, and the graphics on the latest Zelda, Breath of the Wild, are so immersive that you can simply get lost in this fantasy world.
Is that a good thing? Well, probably not and it’ll be interesting to see if the situation gets any worse. We have seen recently that players are getting Fortnite addiction but that is hardly a surprise considering how well developed these games are now. It’s not only the gameplay either; the social element of being connected with people all across the world feeds this addiction. It gives people an instant connection to a series of friends that they might not have, or give people an instant connection to their existing friends at any time of the day.
We used to see this level of addiction on themed slot games whereby players would be stuck for hours playing these games. Those addiction levels can still be seen today, but it has expanded to other areas of entertainment. Developers are finding more and more ways of keeping people on their games. Graphics and social elements have helped, but so has the ability to play 24/7 as people can be stuck for hours on their phones or in their bedrooms playing these games.
It will most likely only get worse though, especially with the improvements that we are seeing in Virtual Reality (VR) gaming. It’s clear that VR gaming will take things further as players get more and more immersed in the world that they are playing in. Anyone who has worn a VR headset will know how lost you can get in the world, feeling like you’re an astronaut or swimming with sharks, it can literally take your breath away.
The world of VR will improve to a point whereby you really feel as though you’re in real life. Violent games have received a lot of criticism in the past, but having a future Grand Theft Auto where it genuinely feels like there is a gun or knife in your hand is a scary thought. Games have got better which means that people are increasingly wanting to play them.
It’s no surprise to see people having to go to a form of rehab for games like Fortnite as we have seen instances in the past of people forgetting to eat or drink while they are playing immersive games. Game addiction in the past hasn’t been seen in the same light as a drug or gambling addiction as it hasn’t had the same consequences, but will we see a future where health, social and criminal issues are increased by immersive gaming? It has to be seen as a possibility.
If you’re playing with a VR handset and want the next buzz, then does that step then go into real life? Games can be great fun, and there is a good side too. Games give children more chances to play together and also more social engagement, which a lot of the time is for the good. As technology improves through with the likes of Zelda, Fortnite, and VR, gamers could lose touch with the world around them and find it increasingly hard to detach themselves from the fake and the real.