Football and football games: Is virtual reality now better than the real thing?

Is the beautiful game better in virtual reality, or reality? This might seem a stupid question, but given the immense popularity of football games of one kind or another at the moment, it seems appropriate to ask….

Obviously you’ve got the likes of FIFA and PES which have been popular since anyone can remember, but then there’s also the Football Manager series which covers the other side of the game, and then you’ve even got football themed slot games at the online casinos.

So it makes you wonder, doesn’t it? If so many people are playing these games consistently, season after season, year after year, then what about the game of football itself-the very activity on which they’re all based?

Apparently there’s something a bit peculiar going on here when you’ve got all these football fans playing games that emulate football, rather than simply playing football proper.

Is the answer that virtual reality trumps reality? Is the answer that our sophisticated, high tech solutions have improved upon the real thing so much that the focus of our interest has actually shifted?

This is an interesting thought because throughout history there’s always been this human concern with various forms of VR. To turn the clock right back to the beginning, think of the earliest cave paintings depicting hunting scenes.

There are numerous theories as to the purpose of such primitive art forms; but one concept is that these were a rudimentary form of virtual reality in which the hunter could depict himself as victorious over his prey without any of the danger of exposure or any of the unpleasant aspects of the hunt itself.

Moving forward in time there’s the development of Literature- that curious form in which a code (written language) is arranged on a page in such a way that when we scan it with our eyes we get images in our heads, so to speak. These images facilitate all manner of experiences, a totally virtual existence, which we undergo in complete comfort.

Finally in the late 20th Century the development of virtual reality reached an extraordinary level with the invention of computers. Now in 2018, with VR sets gaining greater and greater popularity, the experiences available are so life-like that life itself will undoubtedly tend to fall short in comparison.

With a football game such as FIFA, the average players gets to enjoy participation in top-level football, with an amazing array of skills at their disposal and with absolutely no necessity to break a sweat.

What does the future hold for real football then? Is it in danger of being replaced by the football games, the irresistible virtual reality packages? That might sound absurd, but we should bear in mind that human skills and practices can certainly be lost over time and many have.

Ancient activities that were once revered and cherished such as gladiatorial competitions have been replaced by much softer, virtual equivalents in our own age. The most likely thing is that the two forms, football and virtual football in its various manifestations, will continue to develop in parallel for some time to come.

However we should remember that even the most apparently immovable aspects of a culture are not invulnerable to change.


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