When it comes to playing video games, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot to offer. You, yes, YOU, can witness events you never would in real life. You can participate in events you never could in our world. This is the ultimate benefit of video games. It provides the audio-visual elements of a good film or TV show, although perhaps less detailed or realistic, but the tradeoff is the ability to take part in these fictional events that tend to be larger than life. Video games are truly an invention with a ton of potential. Video games have the potential to become one of our most valuable artistic mediums. That is, once we stop having the kneejerk reaction of “this is not art” and allow creativity to go unburdened. However, we’re not just here to sing the praises of the medium. Actually, I once referred to playing video games, as well as reading and watching video content as a form of “mental travel,” a way of experiencing new places and things, in much the same way as physical travel, but with two key differences. First of all, the obvious difference is that you aren’t really experiencing these things, of course. That’s a fair criticism. However, the advantage of this type of “travel” is the ability to see things that are literally impossible in our real world. And, not only to see things but to take part in them directly and influence the outcome of these events.
There are plenty of benefits to real world travel, of course, and it’s well worth the time and the cost, if you can afford it, to visit other countries, expose yourself to other cultures, see the plethora of natural beauty around us, and then some. Even just a visit to Seaworld and seeing the aquatic acrobats of legend at work has merit virtual reality can’t touch. I would never dispute the fact that real world travel is superior to “mental travel,” of course, but there are still many, many things that can only be experienced in a simulation, and that has tremendous value. It’s only a matter of time until we see the first true masterpiece of the video game world, and that’s assuming we haven’t already. I would argue that the likes of Undertale and Inside, two indie gems, as well as the mainstream Souls series (Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1-3, and Bloodborne) are pretty darn close, and it’s not like no one is trying. After all the rambling, my point is this. We can’t always get out and see all that our real world has to offer, and be it of a lower caliber, video games, at least, have a massive quantity to offer instead. So, next time you’re lamenting an inability to travel, why not invest some time in exploring a virtual world full of impossible wonders? It’s a case in which the idiom “the sky is the limit” is a tremendous understatement.