Virtual Reality: the stimulation of simulation

virtual tombstoneWhy am I just now realizing that "stimulate" and "simulate" are only separated by one lousy "t"? While I am basking in the wonder of my discovery, let me ask another nagging question: Why do we find simulating to be so stimulating? (Think Fantasy Football, xBox/PlayStation games, SIMS and other virtual reality "games" or worlds, etc.) Is it because we have so many conveniences and live in such a technological cocoon that the only way we can experience life is virtually? If you were interested in having your own ultimate gaming rig ready for the full VR experience a Razer 15 inch gaming laptop would be the trick, so a friend tells me. It comes with Nvidia's 10 series GPUs that are VR ready as standard.

Wait a minute. Before we haul off and accept a phrase into our vocabulary and then make it a staple in modern communication, should we not vet the thing? Isn't "virtual reality" oxymoronic? Reality means something is REAL. Virtual means "very close to being something without actually being it." (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

So, if a thing is virtual, it lacks substance. It is not real. Or, it is not really what it purports to be.

I like xBox as much as the next guy. I especially like the sports games. I can be an NFL owner, general manager, coach, or player. I can do the same with hockey, basketball, baseball, soccer...

Pretty cool.

I have virtually pulled off 360 slam dunks, thrown 95-yard touchdowns, and smashed grand slams in the World Series. I virtually scored the winning goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs just the other day, in fact.


Ever climb into one of those jet simulators? Feels pretty doggone real.

Nothing wrong with being stimulated by a little simulation. That is why they invented theme parks. You can feel the rush of flying around hairpin curves or being dropped from 200 feet in the air without (too much) risk. Virtual reality is why we love television, movies, and books.

A little virtual reality is stimulating.

Just don't let yourself get swallowed by it to the point that you fail to actually live. Don't forget to get those real experiences in real time with real people. Don't be afraid to take real risks that may bring failure as well as fortune.

You may have virtually seen and done it all.

But, really. What have you done?

OK. I am virtually done ranting.

No, really. I am.