Jesse Schell gave a talk recently at the DICE summit about gaming and the recent trend of games like Wii Fit, Mafia Wars, and Guitar Hero.
He says “We live in a bubble of fake bullshit, and we’ll do anything to get to what is real.” The small sense of connection with a real tangible artifact in the real world (like a plastic guitar) is such a gratifying and novel feeling, versus the six degrees of separation we normally have with the things we do.
Why cook food when you can buy pre-packaged TV dinners? Why have real friends when you can have celebrities you can use to fill in your Dunbar number? Why purchase stocks and bonds when you can invest in exotic mortgage-backed securities, which somehow are related to a house that no one really owns? It’s almost enough to make you wanna go all Salinger and call everyone a big fat phony.
(Schell then goes on to talk about achievement points, and how companies in the future will turn everything into a goddamn slot machine for fake money.)