Video game

“And let’s say the game you play is a metaphor for life.”
His son dropped the game controller at age 17 and stared back at him.
“Wait, what?” the boy said.
“What are you involved in when it starts?”
“A search and a battle,” said the boy. “Fighting others, finding loot, gaining health.”
“Why do you need to gain health?”
“You could be injured.”
“By who?”
“Others players you fight.”
“And it’s your choice to fight them?”
“Yes, that’s the point of the game.”
“Could you lay down your weapons and explore the game without engaging others?”
“That would be difficult . . . and boring.”
“Is the scenery not good enough to be amusing?”
“I don’t think so. It’s a game. It’s not a museum.”
“And what’s the loot?”
“Weapons, armor, gold, skins. . . upgrades.”
“You can change how you appear to others.”
“So your character desires all of that? Changes of appearance, and these money and weapon upgrades?”
“You can’t fight well without the resources and weapons.”
“Could you gather up enough loot, allowing you to declare an end to the fight . . . an end to the seeking?”
“That doesn’t make sense. The better you get, and the more loot you acquire – the more others want to fight you.”
“You become a prize in a way?”
“Yeah, I guess. You’re valuable as a target.”
“And is there a point to the searching and the fighting?”
“Well, there are objectives.”
“And those are your objectives? Do you decide what you’ll do?”
“No – it’s part of the game. The objectives are built into the game.”
“By who?”
“The game designer. Programmers.”
“And you agree with them?”
“Yes. There wouldn’t be anything to do without them.”
“So someone else decides what you’ll do – what hoops you’ll jump through – for two hours.”
“It’s a game, dad. That’s how it works.”
“And what do you learn as you go along?”
“How to play the game better.”
“And do you feel like you’re alive within the game?”
“Kind of.”
“What about when you die? Does that feel bad?”
“Well, you have to start over with nothing. That’s annoying. It’s better to live and continue playing with the loot and weapons you’ve gathered.”
“How’s that annoying?”
“Starting over forces you to repeat the same things over in the same map until you get to where you were when you died.”
“The map?”
“The world – the level you’re on.”
“And you say you can’t lay down the weapons, forgo the loot and just enjoy the whole spectacle of it?”
“Dad, that would be boring.”
“I see, Arjuna.”