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Video games and reality merging together

by Chris Pratola

Video games have always been trying to revolutionize themselves with each new gaming system that unfolds. We are always feeling the need to be more involved in the game or the game to feel more real. This has been a theme for decades and we saw this first run with Virtual Reality systems. In theory, the concept sounds interesting, but the technology wasn't there. In the clip from "Futurama", they clearly have the capability to make that possible. Now obviously a game could never become real like that, but I think there is an underlying message involved and this is partially coming from my lecture that I posted a few weeks ago. The fact that we keep pushing the envelope of games and how we are placed in those environments are making it seem more and more real. Now that 3D is becoming extremely popular and effective, games and animated content have been on the forefront of this new technology. With seeing things in 3D, we get the feeling like we are in the game or the movie, and essentially becoming closer and closer at being fully emerged in the content. When will these two idea merge together? When will the technology become so great that we feel like we are actually in the game and can't tell the difference? I think that everyone is waiting for that day to come, but are we crossing any lines with this? Films and games are supposed to be entertaining and a release from reality. I feel that I wouldn't want to feel like I am actually there, because part of the fun in escaping your life is to watch another's; not live their lives. Personally, I would like to see this, but I wouldn't think that I would like it. You make the call, because obviously everyone has their own opinion, but sooner or later i'm sure people will want to live in the content instead of their own lives, which doesn't set a good example for society and how we connect with each other. 

Life like Video Games, or Video Games like Life?

by Ryne Hodkowski

What I first thought of when viewing this clip, (other than the video games referenced in the clip), was the film Run Lolo Run.  We glossed over the Run Lola Run discussion in class, but a brief analysis of it fits here.


The wish Frye puts forward: “I wish life were more like a video game” is not answered properly.  The question is answered properly in Run Lola Run. Any situation, (particularly odd ones such as in Run Lola Run when Lola has to get a sum of money in a set period of time, or game over), can be repeated over and over until the goal is achieved.  Even without infinite lives, one could always hit reset, and try different obstacles over and over until they are successful.  This is clearly on display in Run Lola Run.  This is briefly addressed in Futurama, when Frye is eaten, reappears, and states “its okay, I had another guy.”


I always interpreted Lola’s scream as a sort of “special move.”  Whenever she is trapped in an especially difficult situation, such as when she is about to be refused money from her father, she can scream, and get her way.  It’s almost the equivalent to the ‘star’ in Super Mario Brothers, where you can run through anything when you have it.  This is not prevalent in the Futurama episode.


Also, Lola is able to learn skills, despite the day/level seemingly repeating itself.  For example, at the end of the first day, she robs the grocery store.  When she picks up the gun, she does not know how to use it.  The next day (or life, in video game lingo), she easily uses the gun.  She learned the skill.  If the narrative were simply the day repeating itself, then she would still not know how to use the gun.  However, she learns how to use the gun the same way gamers learn skills, even though it sometimes means losing and starting over. 


The Futurama episode does not answer the question, “what if life were like a video game,” but rather, “what if video games were like real life?”  To me, there is a difference.  Life being more like a video game does not mean being able to run on the Pac Man board, or having Donkey Kong run to the top of the United Nations.  Life being like a video game means taking on characteristics inherent to video games (levels, multiple lives, power-ups, exceptional physical attributes, magical abilities, cheat codes) that are not possible in real life.  Video games being like life is pretty much what Futurama is.  That is, what if Donkey Kong and Mario were ambassadors, or the Space Invaders invaded the Earth.  Here, video games are taking on the physical properties of real life. 


The Futurama episode remains very funny, despite its somewhat faulty claim.  If Frye asked “I wish I could interact with Nintendo characters,” or “I wish we saw what video game characters were like in the real world,” then the episode would be correct.  Instead, he said “I wish life were more like a video game.”  The vision/answer to this wish is Run Lola Run.  To make Run Lola Run more complete, she would need to wake up the next day, and have another mission/level to complete.   

Futurama - Raiders of the Last Arcade

Fry must save the world from video game characters.

from Futurama - Anthology of Interest II (2002)
Creator: Matt Groening, David X. Cohen
Posted by Survey of Interactive Media