A Glance of the Meaning of Life from the Games

Just on yesterday, I saw a video from Unknown Player on YouTube.

He made a model railway in the game Transport Fever 2. I don’t feel anything special when I started this video. But as the camera rolls into the scene, it became inspiring. It somehow aroused one special feeling that had hide in my mind deeply for a long time. I tried to describe it properly, and I finally realized what’s that when I was watching this video.

The feeling of the desire to manipulate the world or to create a world that feels real and active. Imagine every element we want was placed at the exact point where it suits. Everything in this world is working under the rules that we make, no matter how ridiculous they could be.

People can easily create a virtual world with the computers. But at the end of the day, there are so many limitations inside these worlds, you have to be limited in a framework. But think back into our real life, aren’t we just live in a framework, a framework that we could never escape from? Is it the tragedy of human lives? But if you ask me, what’s the best gift that this world has given to us? I would like to say it’s the ability to break these frameworks, to achieve something that nobody has ever done. I know this might sound conflicted. But just compare the digital worlds (or the worlds in the video games), these frameworks that exist are unbreakable, they are manipulated by the binary codes. But in the real world, we could see the frameworks exist, but they seem not unbreakable, or if we think it on the other way, the unbreakable framework of the real world might be pretty grand, so grand that we the ordinaries can’t even feel its existence.

Back in the digital world, some of these limitations are obvious. For example, some times it might be not easy to share with the other person, not easy to create, the cost of death is too low, no direct influence in our real world.

Like the way I played in this game at the beginning, I was too forcus in a number, the money my company has. No doubt that this number is important, but as the number increase, this number turned into the most boring thing in this game. We started to feel everything stuck. We can’t find a new goal to chase.

In these video games, we have many different goals, such as saving money, improving your aiming skills, finding strategies, etc. But they all have one same characteristic, too specific. These games literally tell you what you need to do to maximize your gaming experience (I was thinking what’s the best word to describe it, or I might call it to maximize the fun you get from the game).

But back to the example of the way I play the game, Transport Fever 2. Actually, the game didn’t tell you what the goal is. But it somehow reminding you that the money is important in the game. If your company lose money until it gets below 0, you might lose the game. You probably what’s the consequence of losing the game. But yes, that’s how I feel at the beginning of playing this game. So far, I only have one save, and I don’t want to lose this save, since all of them represent my hard work. For this reason, I began to find ways to earn money in the game. I even feel anxiety at that time. So I somehow consider saving money is the ultimate goal of this game.

For the same reason, when the company turns from losing money to earning money, I still remain using the low-risk strategy that I used to aviod losing the game. At this time, I can feel a comfort zone has established.

Under this strategy, it’s easy to see the money increase, but at the same time, it’s lack of challenge since this strategy is low-risk. So it seems the goal has been achieved because we don’t lose money any more. I began to feel dazed because I don’t anything else to do, I just sit there, seeing the money keep increasing by itself. 10M, 100M, 1B, 2B, 5B, it’s just number that keeps increasing.

Also, it’s funny that I didn’t even touch any of the plane, ship transport system up to that time because I felt those are not necessary, and the risk of building airport and ports are expensive, they will probably cause losing money in a short time, I don’t want to risk that.

Finally, I saw this guy’s video on YouTube. Obviously, he is using the sandbox-mode, which you basically get infinity money to build whatever you want. I said the video is inspiring because he showed us another angle about this game – you could treat it as a sandbox, building more than a city, a huge transport system, but a digital micro railway model! The game has lots of ways to play, not just to earn money like what we were already doing every day in real life. Instead, you can recreate your imaginary world, enjoy the beautiful world in the game, or fulfill your wishes.

And I realized another funny fact during writing down this text. With the development of human history and human society. Rules and laws have been set up, and they’re considered as the foundation of modern human society. Comparing to hundreds of years ago, our society, international relations are becoming stable, or I would like to call it solidifying. It sounds good to make laws and rules to regulate everything, but at the same time, we, the ordinaries, are hard to escape from this framework. Imagine if I said I want a piece of land, and build my own railway on it, it just sounds impossible, ’cause how can you get the lands, buy it? Even we have the lands from somewhere, do we need to report the whole project to the government, does it break the law, do I need to pay the taxes? Lots of things will come up if you really think about it. No doubt that these rules and laws are giving us lots of benefits. We gained a more stable life, longer life-time. So these are actually conflicting with themselves. You can’t get all the benefits without losing something.

For a long time, I kept feeling a surge of anxiety. I can only live in the present, but I am fear the unknown feature, especially during the pandemic, everything is changing so fast. I just feel it’s like the end of the cold war, everything could collapse like the Soviet Union at one single night. Just like my style of playing games, I used the low-risk strategy in most parts of my life so far. Also, like Transport Fever 2, I consider money and education as the ultimate goals of life. I know life is not only about these two things, but this idea just stuck in my mind, can’t get rid of it. So I am afraid of losing my chance to get educated, losing the job. I can’t even imagine what life will be if all these collapse, what will happen if I can’t go to college anymore, can I still get a job I want, can I still write blogs, articles whatever I want just like right now? And the fear of the unknown feature is bringing me not just the anxiety, but also the miss about the great pass. I am afraid of losing the ability to recreate the happy, exciting life in my younger life in the future, leaving only the memories. As the anxiety stuck in my mind, I am even fear about imagining a good future life – I am afraid I can’t achieve that in the future. Probably I am a perfectionist, but all these just like the heavy rocks in my back, slowing down my steps to explore the world.

But anyway, thanks to read my rambling here, and I wish you will have a good day.

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