There’s no doubting that the world works in mysterious ways, but whether that be the simplicity of coincidence or the enormity of a deity, we may never know. About two years ago, PBS Digital Studios’ Game/Show asked if video games could ever be a spiritual experience. Can they tap into something intangible beyond anything we can explain? Can they connect us to the universe in unexpected ways? The video looks at cognitive anthropologist Ryan Hornbeck’s study of Chinese World of Warcraft players who stated that despite identifying as atheists, felt that they’d had “spiritual” experiences playing the MMO. They would “find a feeling of existence that we can not find in the real world.”
As one who has played a few MMORPGs, I totally get it. There’s something about living a life that you wish you had. You make bonds with other people that are so strong in this false reality that they feel like real friends. There are days where I actually feel sad because I miss roaming the world of Vana’diel as a magical summoner in Final Fantasy XI or being a stealthy secret agent in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The experience makes you feel powerful and special in a way that banal reality can never do. And with the growth of online gaming, virtual reality, and long distance tabletop gaming, we’re finding new ways to transcend our own reality.
But then something interesting happened. In response to the video, a fan by the screen name 00WARTHERAPY00 shared a story of video games and a transcendent experience. His simple tale of love, loss, and video games inspired the following video titled “Player Two” by John Wickstrøm.
You may want to grab some tissues for this one:
Have you ever had what you might call a “spiritual experience” with video games? Tell us about it in the comments!
Featured image credit: John Wickstrøm