I had the fortune of playing an early version of The Sims™ back in early 2000. It was really a sort of revolution in gaming. I had been a classic “god-complex” gamer: Sim City, Civilizations- pretty much anything that create a big digital fishbowl. The Sims was strange to me, intimate and I must admit, addictive. There was several dimensions to character design, but in a spectacular wave of creativity I just made an avatar that looked exactly like myself; it was even a Libra. I played this game obsessively for several weeks. I began to resent things that demanded my time. Work, school, drinking and girls all fell by the wayside as my little dude (named after me in another burst of creativity) got a job, cleaned his house, and met girls to go out with. As time went on I noticed that my little digi-me began to enjoy a much higher standard of living than the actual me. My apartment was a pigsty, I was trading off shifts at work, I wasn’t calling friends. In short, I was an early victim of secondary reality. The fact that I was playing a nearly identical version of my own life probably says more about me than it does about alternate reality, but what can you do? I might be the only person whose desired alternative to life is their own life. Eventually I quit playing, finding the control and lack of equilibrium tedious, but for a time I was face to face with a new reality, a reality in which the “real” me is not such a simple thing to define.
That is an interlude to the science of fiction.
Next up: Interview with Chris East… I promise.