Dec 17, 2017 Last Updated 11:30 PM, Dec 15, 2017

Is This Real Life?

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My father in law was visiting for the weekend. He came to see his daughter (my wife) and his granddaughter (my daughter). When the in-laws come to visit, it seems to me that we often experience an all-too-human desire to 'validate' or 'prove' ourselves to them, as if to reassure them that their kid picked the right mate.

Try doing that when you deal in video games for a living: not so easy. Furthermore, explaining what Twitch or DLC is to someone who is a year or two out from seventy is no small task, even when you have Twitch open in front of you, streaming a live show. And even if you could explain it to them, how does one convey the gravity? That this is a $91 billion-with-a-B dollar industry? Games are just games, a child's play thing!

But the perceptive among us have already felt the winds change

The inevitable march of video game domination is well underway. A high-falutin CEO, a tough street hoodlum, it doesn't matter - they all play video games. Maybe they're not PC junkies, like you, dear reader, but pray, check their phones, and tell me you don't find one piece of interactive software present.

How did games get out of the basement and into the mainstream? Likely a big influence has been the general advance in computing technology: a rising tide lifts all the boats in the marina. My father-in-law and I were taking a walk to Roosevelt Island and I told him that it wouldn't be too long before we could very realistically take this walk virtually, at a level of detail that would be indistinguishable from 'reality.'

Or maybe you're not into nature walks?

No matter — for quite some time now games have featured mini-games that appeal to any temperament or set of interests. Sure, maybe you're not a fan of pipe-rotating a la Bioshock, or lock-picking a la Elder Scrolls, but what about blackjack, or poker? These more established tabletop games enjoy a wide following, and Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption already feature them. If VR were here today, risk-takers wouldn't need to trek to Las Vegas, but rather merely to their living room, to sit down at a table and play some Blackjack. Still not a fan? Don't worry - other similar games, like roulette, craps, or baccarat, are surely on the way. Who knows? Maybe the next Call of Duty will feature a wood-working minigame with VR support.

For now though, I’ll just be his daughter’s husband who does “that thing with video games.” That I currently sport long hair doesn’t help. But, time will tell. As far as I can see, when it comes to human beings and video gaming, it’s still the early game.


Rey Urias

Rey Urias is a professional writer, having spent his career penning textbooks on craniofacial orthodontics, promotional flyers for holiday specials, proposals for multi-million dollar military contracts, and documentation for enterprise IT systems. He has a background in Information Technology, but his favorite technology has always been video games. Growing up, he relished the serenity of Harvest Moon, the strategy of Command & Conquer, the epic experiences of Zelda and BioShock, and the challenges of Call of Duty, Ninja Gaiden, and Soul Calibur. But these days, Rey spends his free time with his amazing wife and adorable daughter - and when he can sneak it in, he plays Smash 64 competitively as poobearninja, the king of the up-smash.

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