In my blog, I will tackle the thesis on the phenomenological study on reality in cyberspace because in my point of view, I do not believe that reality can be summed up in any certain criteria as the status quo given by the society. For me, reality is just a figment of our imagination because reality may just be something abstract or concrete as long as our minds would consider them to be real. Before going on any further in my blog, the underlying question of “What is reality?” will always stand in shedding light in this topic. According to the New Oxford Dictionary, reality is the state of things that actually exist, but yet again the subjectivity of the word “exist” is similar to the word “reality”. Considering this, it would be highly unsatisfactory to just leave the concept of reality as to that. Some may argue that for something to exist, one must acknowledge that the senses must recognize it and others would argue that reality is something of the state of mind (“I think, therefore I am”). Throughout this blog I will be defining how cyberspace, specifically online games, is as real as any of the tangible things around us by using my interpretations of the concepts of the senses and Cogito ergo sum, and by relating this to my experience of living in the world of online games before.
During my grade school days, I was just any typical kid who wanted to enjoy life. I found the world to be such a very dull place. Actually, I considered reality as something not worth living. Everyday I am expected to wake up at 6 AM, study things that do not interest me, and deal with some teachers I dislike. The worst part is doing these things repeatedly was a torture for me. In general, I hated the typical student life. Though I knew the life I hated was reality, through hearing my 6 AM alarm clock, feeling the thickness of boring math books, and hearing the irritating voices of some of my teachers, I still felt that if this were to be considered as what is real, then I would have rather not take any participation in reality. In the end, I was looking for something more real than the reality of the society.
In the search of finding the answer to my quest, I was able to stumble upon a game. Now this game is not like any other game during my childhood when the Game Boy was still the fad of gaming. This game actually gave me a rebirth to life and reality. Tales of Pirates (TOP) is an online game where one can have an own person in the cyber environment, evolve, garner items, go on different journeys, and interact with other people who are like me around the world. This game starts of by choosing one’s own person. This is a fantasy online world where one can start off by choosing what kind of character they want to be. In total, there are four options in choosing one’s character. One can either be a man, a woman, a girl, or a kid. After choosing, one will get an opportunity to give his/her character a name. Once this identity and kind of character is established, the next goal is to choose a profession. Choosing a profession is like choosing a job in real life wherein it gives one a purpose and role in the society. In this picture you can see the many professions one can choose and each will have a corresponding skill set suiting to the character’s niche.
The game also enables one to change appearances by having different apparels available in the market.
Another fun aspect of the game is going on quests with friends from all around the world in defeating bosses to garner or gain rare items and weapons to get stronger. We usually plan out and strategize on how to finish a task as a team with the strengths and weaknesses each character has.
Also in TOP, one can go on a journey to sail into the vast seas and go onto undiscovered land and search for new treasures.
TOP got me hooked not because it was addictive, but because it was more than that. This game gave more meaning to life and for me, this was more real than reality itself. Imagine a game that has limitless possibilities. I felt that I could be anything in this game and this made me optimistic about life. Everyday I see progress in myself through my characters in the game. Every single moment in this game is a mystery yet to be unfold because there are always updates on the game that made it even better as time passes by. I feel so important whenever we go into wars because I actually have an essential role to the cyber world and it just gives me the jitters. I can do everything in Tales of Pirates such as the fantasies and dreams I could not do in reality due to human limitations, status quo, and expectations. From the moment I go to my log-in screen, see my characters in the cyber world, hear the music and sounds, and feel the excitement of playing had me realized that this was real deep down inside of me. Making friends of different cultures internationally and learning from them made me a wiser person. In a nutshell, I could replace my existence in the real world just to exist in this game.
It is quite unusual for a person to think that the cyber world is real, but for me, it is. During my grade school days, I considered this game to be larger than life because it did not just appealed to my senses, but it even pierced through my emotions, which was the only thing I was seeking for that reality lacked for me. During the dullness of life, this game revived me and made me consider that there are more realities than the current world we live in. The mere fact that I was able SEE progress in my character, CONNECT with other people internationally, HEAR the art of in-game music, and FEEL emotions for this game not only made me consider the cyber world to be real, but deep down I knew and was certain it was real. Through my notion of thinking that for something to be real, it must be acknowledged by the senses, I was able to conclude that since I think this game is real, therefore it is. I believe that being human is connected to each and every single character of mine in TOP, hence; I feel that they are an extension of my humanity. What ever I think they also think as well, therefore I can say, “they think, therefore they are”. They are surrogates of my will, and so, they are also persons to me.
In the end, my definition of reality is skewed for every single individual because no one can have the same experience of the senses. Every single person has his or her own experience and interpretation of Cogito ergo sum. One might question this and find this absurd, but I believe one’s perspective of reality is subjective for each person and is analogues to the saying: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” which in this case beauty is reality. For example, when my characters are hurt and lose life in the game, I also get hurt emotionally because I get so connected to the character as if we are one. Everyone has his or her own concept of reality in this world and Tales of Pirates just happens to be my own reality. Some may find that reality in the real world is what is real for them and some will not. There is no one true concept of what is real because in my experience, what I found as reality in the start was not real; therefore I found my own reality in the cyber world.