Are Virtual Reality Becoming more a Part of our Reality than Before?

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Video games have been a part of the world’s culture for the past five or so decades and have affected many people’s lives. Since video games were first released commercially, we have seen the rise of many iconic characters from these games like Mario and Sonic. Although video games seem to be something to play for fun, they are being used today for more than their original intent. Thanks to the gaming community, new technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) have been created to simulate another world within a single VR headset.

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This allows us to use VR for not only gaming but for everyday work and education. Video games are also helping those with mental issues by giving them a relaxing environment where they can explore and enjoy themselves without anxiety. However, these simulated worlds and experiences are slowly leading to new laws preventing theft and other crimes within them. These reasons — work, education, mental health, law — all show how the world of games is slowly becoming more and more a part of our reality.

Virtual reality has and continues to change the workplace by changing recruitment and how people train for their jobs. First, VR can make recruitment a much more efficient process and can help people find their careers much more efficiently. Using simulations, it can give “people the chance to see whether a job is suitable for them or not.” Today, there are still a multitude of careers that people cannot physically experience, so this could be incredibly useful. Simulations could also play a big role in training employees for their job. In the past, people would have to go to classes in order to learn many useful tools or abilities like CPR. But now with VR, you could even simulate going to space as NASA has. According to Erin Carson, “NASA has a virtual reality lab staffed with 4-6 engineers of various backgrounds, and built to accommodate training for crew members.” Evelyn Miralles, a visionary engineer of VR technology at the NASA Johnson Space Center, has even reported that “virtual reality training has also made it easier for the team to work together and communicate on one training experience.” VR being used for a career like astronauts is almost essential due to the many challenges they will have to face in space. It also is much more cost-effective due to high prices for experiencing zero gravity. To get a single ride of zero-g, it can cost more than $4,950, so using VR as an alternative could definitely lower costs.

Video games are changing how, and where, students learn. In 1971, Oregon Trail popularized the concept of educational gaming and created a new interest in implementing games into the school environment. It is this desire that has led to many games being created with the intention of teaching children, including popular games like Minecraft. On November 1, 2016, the first version of Minecraft: Education Edition was released and by today, it has now surpassed two million users. On the Minecraft: Education Edition website, there is access to multiple lessons for various subjects including computer science, art and design, math, science, language arts, and history and culture. From 2010 to 2015, the percentage of video game usage in the classroom has more than doubled from twenty-three percent to forty-eight percent. This same survey also showed that teachers are using a flipped classroom teaching method. In a flipped classroom, teachers give students instructional information through the internet to teach them concepts outside the classroom and do traditional homework in class. This involves the use of games and videos outside of class to instruct, but virtual reality can take their education to the next level. Not only could this allow for education outside of school, but it could allow students to explore history in a more realistic environment. It would also allow students to have a stronger sense of empathy with the people involved allowing for a deeper understanding than simply reading documents and articles.

Video games can help those with depression, anxiety, and other mental issues. For those who have social anxiety, it can seem almost impossible to interact with others, but working alongside others in cooperative video games can reduce that stress. Working with others can not only aid in the process of initiating relationships but also build up their team-working skills. It has been shown that people who frequently play these games that require an organized effort tend to be “rated by others as better leaders, more effective motivators, and are more likely to engage in civic behavior such as volunteering.” Minecraft has also been useful for those with mental conditions, like ADHD. This is the case for Jamie Martin’s son who has ADHD and tends to have trouble remaining calm while completing tasks throughout his day-to-day life. Although Mr. Martin’s son has his struggles, his son has no problem while playing Minecraft and enjoys the game. When Jamie began to play with his son, he noticed how his son was able to improve executive functioning skills, like organization and flexible thinking, while playing. Playing puzzle games can also reduce anxiety levels for players by making them focus on one thing and not lose their attention to outside distractions. When someone feels their anxiety levels rising, it can be useful, but it will definitely not have the same effects on someone while under an anxiety attack. Lastly, there have been a number of games to respond to depression and anxiety, one of them being released on the Oculus Rift named DEEP. DEEP allows players to leave the stress they feel in the real world and “be transported to a beautiful, serene underwater world that responds to your stress with soothing resonance.” The player’s goal is simple: to breath deeply and relax. The deeper you breathe, the more you can explore of this beautiful world. This game’s intention is to teach players how to respond to stressful situations in real life when they may not have access to the game. They simply can remember their experiences in DEEP and retain the muscle memory of their breaths.

Video games are affecting the law and its interaction with technology. Digital theft might have seemed ridiculous years ago, but today it is a real issue, including within the game of RuneScape. In 2012, a teenage gamer was convicted of stealing two virtual items, a shield, and an amulet. While the defendant’s attorney argued that the two objects had no economic value, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the victim’s time spent trying to earn items gave them their value. This means that the law could advance in such a way that even something as simple as part of a game’s code could be claimed as property, which has been an issue for Nintendo. In mid-2018, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the operator of two ROM websites where people can access the code of Nintendo’s past video games. While Nintendo probably did this to prepare for their new online service where subscribers can play old NES games, it shows how code can be claimed and could limit people’s access to games with limited supplies. Suing ROM sites has led to people searching for other ways to access beloved games from their childhood, including Console Classix. On this website, you can join a service where it is legal to emulate games due to how they are being shared with their subscribers. Because it is legally required that the person who has ROM files of a game to physically or digitally own the game, the site’s founder owns a copy of every game available in the service creating a legal loophole. This enables subscribers to play games for a short amount of time with only one person having access to a game at a time. While someone may think this service will be quick to be shut down, it’s obscurity causes it to not pose a strong threat and, without proper laws defining what is illegally being done, the service will continue to stay up.  

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Are Virtual Reality Becoming More A Part Of Our Reality Than Before?. (2021, Jun 02). Retrieved from