With the stunning unveiling of the new game by Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto 5, I am convinced this game in particular is a building block to the statue that will consume society as we know it.
This statement is pretty dramatic, and can be misunderstood easily, so I'll explain. Rockstar did wonders with this new game, from graphics, the voices, the extensive 49-mile map and three main characters that all contributed to the development of mechanics that will be utilized by other game makers in the hopes of being more realistic.
The new game is very realistic, from the various creatures among the map, the new design for human characters, vehicles, activities one can do and many other aspects -- it's just a superb gaming achievement and victory for the gaming community.
But, along with these life-like details, new generations of games are born -- games that reflect reality so well, they actually reduce human interaction to simple messages through the game and whatever they decide socially inside the game.
The online part of Grand Theft Auto 5 allows players to plan heists together, enact those heists together, race cars, build racing tracks -- basically, the player is allowed to control his own slice of Southern California.
In the game you are someone else, able to come back after death undamaged, doing crimes, drugs and whatever may please you specifically inside the game -- all the while forming a little online community.
These virtual advances provide numerous implications for human interaction and the future of society. Almost as if a science fiction film is coming to life, games that expand on Rockstar's ideas will feature a world full of animals and people in everyday life, left for the player to do whatever he/she sees fit: take over the world, become a notorious world criminal or famous celebrity, or many other possibilities.
People will be consumed by these "second lives," similar to the blockbuster "Surrogates," starring Bruce Willis in a world of people living through robots to fulfill their worst or best desires. These virtual game advances are disguised as something wonderful and amazing, when really they are starting the slow deterioration of face-to-face interactions. I am fearful of the possible future of individuals living their lives through fantasy worlds dreamt up by game developers, yet I hope as the human race we have more self-control and are more self-aware to make the mistakes of the people in movies like "Surrogates," and/or "Wall-E."
ELI WATSON lives in Tehachapi.