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The Philosophy of Video Games (Also, Philosocom's Subcategory on Gaming)

Articles primarily on video games:

To put it simply, video games are an extension of the self, regardless of what one's favorite genre of them is. They can appeal to anyone, and they can appeal to a very specific niche.

Nonetheless, some of us like to play not necessarily for entertainment only, but also to extend our own abilities through a virtual simulation.

Regardless of genre, each video game is basically an electronic simulation when we take on a certain role, for a certain period of time. That role is defined by the character or the medium that we play as.

Theoretically, our choice of role could say a lot about ourselves. We can be a soldier that slaughters the enemy, a general of an army, or even a common man or woman who happens to be under extraordinary circumstances, such as the supernatural.

After playing a large variety of virtual games since kindergarten, I can at least say that, in my opinion, the appeal of video games is generally the appeal of extending one's actions and potential in a reality that does not exist.

They allow you to do things that you otherwise wouldn't do, like beating up people, or having a great deal of power.

I believe that there is a great connection between these simulations and modern-day isolation. When you are attracted to video games, you might have less motivation to spend your time in real life.

Video games and pornography are similar in the sense that they sell us fantasies, and when we like these fantasies more than what our actual lives might have to offer us, then we might prefer these fantasies better than "having a life."

An example of that is dating simulations, where you get to hang out with a potential love interest who is, theoretically, there to please you (not necessarily sexually).

I never played these games myself, but whenever I watched them, I realized how they might change one's perspective towards their real-life counterparts. It is quite horrible, to see someone more interested in fictional characters than actual people.

By being simulations, it does not mean that the games portray real life in any way, shape, or form. They are alternative "realities" or "worlds", designed by people whose job it is to sell you what you want to buy, unless there is no intention to profit from them.

It is difficult to compare them with real life because they are worlds that are crafted to entertain you while you are "in" them.

Reality is in no way ideal, at least for most people. This is why video games are a great way to escape and be someone -- or something -- else for a while.

Unlike books, where you are merely a passive observer, these games allow you to be more independent of a story or plot, even if the plot cannot be changed, and even if there is no plot at all. That is what makes these simulations an extension of yourself, even if that extension is purely a work of fiction.

It is like operating your body, with the controller being your "brain". Each button or button combination, affects the virtual world in some way, even if it merely affects your character's movement or interaction with said world.

Whenever I played a game, I was invested in it, and I was sometimes astonished to realize that all my brain "sees" is the video within the borders of the screen. Anything else was ignored by the consciousness, and it was as if I were "in the game".

That is similar to when you watch T.V, only in this case, you dictate what's happening in said T.V, even if it's just a portion of it.

Ultimately, video games are about control. Control is exercised not necessarily in a form of power or authority, but in the form of dictation, of telling your character, or anything else you operate, what to do, through the pressing of buttons.

This is a great philosophy for fantasy, because in the real world, that fantasy does not necessarily exist. In the real world, most things are beyond your control, as Epictetus said himself.

You can control the narration of your thoughts or your decisions in life, but all in all, that is the bare minimum of what many of us can actually do.

Theoretically, in the real world, we are "pawns", for lack of a better word. "Pawns" of the law, "pawns" of teachers, family, and bosses; and "pawns" of our duties, if we have any.

You can quit your job if you'd like, but that would mean that you would have one less source of income that is imperative for you to afford being alive and/or taking care of others.

You can quit school, but that might decrease your job opportunities. You can harass people, but that might put your life in danger or, at the very least, ban you from certain places (even online).

While not all video games allow you to be a God of sorts, you can always start from the very beginning, or even reset a level you're in. Thus, even if your character is about to die, you can always start anew, as if your choices have absolutely no consequences.

Even events that have no point of return, can, in fact, be returned to by resetting your game or loading a different file of the game. With this power, you can control a virtual world's concept of time.

That is true in the vast majority of video games, thus making you, the player, a "time lord". In addition, if the game's too hard, you can change its difficulty in most cases, and thus make your time there less painful.

The philosophy of video games is, therefore, that you are capable of far more than what you would otherwise be in real life. That's what makes these worlds a form of great escape and of giving you power you wouldn't otherwise have.

By "power," I refer to liberties rather than authority, even though in some cases they are both.

The problem of video games is similar to that of a recluse. Why should one desire the real world, when the virtual one can offer so much more?

Why should one desire a romantic partner, when they can simulate one in accordance with their true desires without the need for compromise? Why should one contribute to society when one can play in their free time?

These are very important and very contemporary questions that, for many, are left unanswered. Because of this, we might grow more distant from one another, and desire less to have conversations, discussions, and, for some, any form of social relationship.

I, however, have answered these questions for myself, at least, and that's why I keep having a presence on the internet -- my exclusive public presence.

I no longer feel fulfilled by merely being in virtual fantasies, so I write in the hope that I will be of use to someone and thus be relevant.

As I have witnessed, relevance is such a wonderful thing to have. For people to thank you, for people to be satisfied and provide positive feedback. This is not just for the ego, but to also feel that I am more than a "ghost", if that makes sense.

Relevance makes me feel that I am real, even though I know I am, and that's the very thing that games have never offered me throughout the decades of my life.

To be real, in the end, is to be a part of something that isn't you, something that is also real and not fictitious.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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