Digital Life: A Reality Knock-Off

Though the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) wrapped up last week in Los Angeles, California, attendees and industry experts can already be found staking out camping rights for next year's expo. Fanatical video game fans camp out each year in hopes of being one of the first to preview the thousands of consumer electronics products expected to ship before year's end.

"I'm not going to miss the opening minutes of next year's expo," said Lauren Scott, self-proclaimed video game thrill-seeker. "I overslept this year and, then, got stuck in traffic. I'm not going to go anywhere."

Data from NPD Funworld, a market research firm, show that United States sales of video game consoles, portable devices and the games made for those platforms were $9.9 billion in 2004. Current data project sales for 2005 to exceed this staggering spending.

Highlights announced at this year's show:
[click on images to enlarge]
The SIMS: Prison PackThe SIMS: Pimping HardGrand Thief MopedAge of Empire: CEO Expansion Pack

According to Sally Hall, director of focus group testing at Video Games Anonymous (VGA), "Our medicated society is demanding for more life-like actions in video games. It's not violence ... it's simply reality."

The appeal of The Sims is in its adherence to details, and that's where realism is blurred with fantasy. The Sims makes the unconscious conscious, but not in an existential Zen way. Everyday events in Life become planned activities in The Sims; going to the bathroom or eating require user interventions, less your Sims-selves perish. Unlike in real Life where millions go hungry every day, Sims are satiated with a click of the mouse.

The lives of The Sims are driven by purchasing of name-brand pixel items, mostly consumer electronic goods. The Sims are psychologically, momentarily happy only after purchases are made; the search for existence is simply static. Interaction with other Sims become meaningless without a gift involved. In that way, The Sims, indeed, uncanningly mirrors Reality for some.

"Hey, dog ... yeah, yeah ... I be an early tester for The Sims: Pimpin' Hard," said the suave, avid gamer Kevin Federline-Spears. "Yup, looks like they listened to me -- Sim-me and Sim-Britney are gonna deck out in matching bling-blings."

Fans were treated to the usual assortment of company-sponsored give-aways; however, show management drew much criticism for not including government cheese as part of the give-aways as promised during registration.

Scott was heard in the fading distance, "I might give up the prized spot to Jake Gyllenhaal or Johnny Depp, but not even a Stevie Wonder concert can tempt me away from my spot -- and you can quote me on that!"

tags: ......
another point of view ...

Blogger Lester T.

it just goes to show how society now prefers a fantasy or virtual world over reality. the fact that "reality tv" is in fact viewers living vicariously through other people illustrates people would rather watch others than live their own lives. what does this say about our society? not saying that there's anything wrong with fantasizing and/or simulating life but, some people are too (what's the word i'm looking for?) deluded? to separate the two worlds.

Blogger Love Hurts

Hey I didn't realise I was the director of 'VGA'.... hehe!

Blogger Nam LaMore

lester t: well, the sims is just a step away from mtv's real world, isn't it? i'm sure many will argue otherwise .. bring it on!

but seriously, i can't, and won't, criticize simulated gaming as a sin - it's very addictive. we all have secret alter egos, and it's healthy to have fantasies -- but some gamers can get out of hand. i remember stories of D&D gamers taking their hack 'n slash to the real world, with fatal consequences.

Blogger Nam LaMore

love hurts: you'll just never know what career you'll have next on this blog -- got any requests? i'm sure there's gonna be an occasion to have you as prime minister, if that's your aspiration!

i do love your quote, you sound so convincing .. heck, i'm ready to buy a game by charles manson and experience the thrill of it all!

Blogger Love Hurts

you make me laugh Nam, I love reading your blog.
I'm going to have a long hard .... think about my next career!!!

Blogger Nam LaMore

love hurts: well, glad you're enjoying the entertainment! i certainly have a blast with .. how did a long-time friend recently characterized it .. all this pent-up creativity flying out of you!

Blogger Love Hurts

what a great statement!

Blogger Dutched Pinay on Expatriation

I am guilty. I got hooked in the PAST with "Age of Empires", "War Craft" and that old "Cesar" game. But now, blogging kidnapped me!

People love the virtual world, we can be anonymous and for others the internet can be a playground to release those let me borrow that word, PENT UP fantasies hehe. Theres nothing wrong with that!

But, I still hate alarm clocks, especially when it rings at 6:30 in the morning.

Blogger Nam LaMore

the dutched pinay: well, as you know, i, too, am guilty of playing video games .. though i haven't played in many months. i'm just waiting for the next patch, expansion pack, etc.

the excitement of the virtual world is so seductive, and the fact that one can be anonymous, i wager to bet, is the driving factor. i think we all secretively want to have a alter egos, whether they be bond 007, batman, or wonder woman. among my friends, not one wanted to be howie the duck.

Blogger Loz

I'll never understand why a Sim takes over an hour to pee.

Blogger Nam LaMore

loz: ah, you must have the turbo mode turned off .. or maybe sim-loz just enjoys the bathroom ritual :-)

Blogger Loz

hahaha!!! i speed the time up, but it sucks that you have to make sure they're in the bathroom a good 2 hours before their ride to work turns up! Idiots.

Blogger Colleen Star

So...Do you write for the onion? I think you should. This reads like social satire, and it's fun. :)


Blogger diadima

those crazy sims

Blogger TrueJerseyGirl

I've never been too into video games...except Ms. Pacman, does that count?

Blogger Nam LaMore

colleen star: gosh, that's such a wonderful thing to say - i might just have to add your comment to my vanity quotes!

diadima: the sims live in a perfect world, we just inject our messed-up reality on to them!

truejerseygirl: for some odd reason, i can really get into ms. pac-man, but could never get excited to play pac-man or pac-man jr. i bet i was the 20% of the unaccounted demographics! i love old-school video games - nothing was better than pong - simple and streamlined, none of that eye-candy to distract the hand-eye coordination!

Blogger Colleen Star

Nam - check out my new blog - "Isolated Imagination". It is only images, and I wanted to see what you think of the idea. If you have any images to contribute, please do!


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