Video games show us that immortality isn't so great after all
Everyone wishes they could live forever, and the invincibility code sounds so tempting, but would that really make us happier? There's a big difference between "having extra lives" or living longer in general from being invincible or immortal.
The idea of immortality, although intriguing, would actually be a terrible thing to have. Humans naturally love the idea of living forever because evolution has given us a survival instinct, but actually having it isn’t all it’s cracked up to is.
How do I know? Video games. If you’ve ever had a tough time playing a game, chances are, at some point, you’ve resorted to using an invincibility code (not to be confused with “infinite lives”). When you become invincible in a game, you simply can’t lose (unless you can’t solve some sort of puzzle, but you get the idea). With infinite lives, you can lose and just keep repeating the level until you beat it.
When you can’t lose in a video game, it becomes completely boring real quick. At this point, you’re just going through the motions until the game is over. What’s the fun in that? If I wanted to follow instructions, I’d build something.
I noticed this when I downloaded The Simpsons arcade game on my computer. In the arcade it was fun because you only had a few quarters and beating it was practically impossible. When downloaded, all you have to do is hit a key to “insert a quarter” and you keep playing endlessly. At first this seemed amazing because I could finally play the whole game and see the later levels, but I got really bored, quickly, with just pressing the same couple of buttons over and over as I walked to the right side of the screen.
I thought to myself “maybe the game was just more fun when I was a kid”, but that’s not the case at all. It was fun when I could lose, when I could die. Life has no meaning without death. The only thing that gives life its value is its time limit. If you had forever to do everything, you would feel like you were going through the motions just like in the video game.
The expression “time is money” is completely true. Time is very valuable to us because we have a finite amount of it. How we spend that time is very important to us because we can’t get that time back. That’s why everyone gets paid based on time, it’s a trade. If you make your time infinite, your time loses all value and so does your life. The same applies to money because if you had an endless amount of money (different from just a lot of money), you wouldn’t enjoy anything you spent it on because it all loses its value.
As always, agree or disagree, that’s my take on the matter.
Thanks, Craig, it's cool that so many people can relate.
very true ive seen many stories where the mai charecter enjoys it at first only to later turn horribly miserable with the consenquenses that come with it
I agree entirely, but I'd like to add an addendum:
Immortality is boring if there's nothing else to do.
Immortality in videogames usually means rendering what you can already do meaningless, but it doesn't open up any new avenues of play. In sandbox games like Skyrim, GTA, Garry's Mod or LittleBigPlanet, immortality (or even omnipotence) can create whole new ways to play, by allowing you to experiment in a way that mortality doesn't.
So yes, immortality renders many tasks and challenges meaningless, but it also shows you a whole new way to enjoy and explore things - and in a world where immortality could potentially become reality a long, long way down the line, it's important to explore the good as well as the bad and to see what paths we should be going down in that eventuality, to keep society moving forward and preventing a downward spiral into depressing irrelevance.
So true. If you used a Game Genie all the time, video games would be boring.
Immortality would make creating a plan to conquer the world a lot easier when you aren't worried with how much time you have left on Earth.
Of Lost Odyssey, I'm reminded. Also, I'd rather be rich.
i was thinking that you would post that video
Personally, I'd still like to have immortality, as whatever happens after death is too unknown to risk.
Wow...Honestly, the fact that video games can teach you about life and death is astounding
great job man. very interesting look at gaming and life in general.
Victory is overrated anyway. And sure, games like these nowadays have Continue/Life restriction mechanics to make the game more hardcore for players, but it still lacks that arcade feel. Which is why there should be some sort of transaction mechanic with arcade games like these. Xbox Arcade from a few years ago almost did this right (does anyone still use that feature, nevertheless remember it?).
I say the game itself is free, instant download to anyone that is interested. However, each Continue/Stock/Life/Credit will cost a small amount of currency like say 20 microsoft points and around 50 cents on PSN and other digital venues. The obvious risk is whether or not the cost to import said games into the venues will pay for themselves, especially with such a small entry fee to play them, but It would be like..hmm..I don't know, an actual arcade.
Life is not meaningless without death; it is meaningless without purpose or something to live for. If you were immortal, life wouldn't be pointless if you devoted yourself to a purpose of sorts like maybe creating a secret society.
It's like using god mods for Bethesda RPGs, or TooManyItems mod in minecraft.
Interseting blog :) Btw With the Simpsons Arcade game i think restricting yourself to only a couple of continues could be fun.