Humans create virtual experiences in the form of video games. If existence is virtual, then there’s likely some overlap.
In video games, milestones are preset yet there’s some wiggle room in how goals are achieved. This bit of freedom allows the player to feel in-control and makes the outcome difficult to predict, creating enjoyment. But even though there’s some autonomy within games, players are locked within a very rigid structure, as games lead players along a predefined path comprised of predetermined obstacles.
If a game allows too much player autonomy, it can get confusing or feel pointless. If a game restricts autonomy too much, it can feel confining and not fun. Also, player input (in the form of controls) tends to be very limited within games, as too many options can overwhelm.
If life is game-like, then we probably have some autonomy within a framework of milestones. Our input would be limited as we’re led through a predefined path and challenged by obstacles. In life’s case, because of how unrefined the story is, it seems likely the path is a lax one, allowing for a lot of meandering. But there still must exist an underlying structure or existence wouldn’t be sustainable.
We also have to wonder if large-scale obstacles and advancements, such as WWII, flight, electrical power, and computing, are introduced by the game itself. And individually, it seems as though we’re all subjected to an endless stream of personal obstacles.
As far as our individual milestones, if life is game-like, then we’d expect that we can potentially fail to achieve these markers. Our milestones are probably those inner wants and wishes that we seem driven to fulfill. The bulk of our challenge is accepting the game’s premise and proceeding without hesitation. It does seem possible that we can reject our path, yet doing so is to our detriment.
In a game, we get better by syncing with its rhythm and understanding its ways. When we try to do whatever we want, carelessly jumping into the fray, we usually lose quickly. Gameplay practice is about getting the timing right and getting comfortable with the controls. Yet in life, we’re thrown into the middle of a game, we don’t really know what’s going on or what the controls are.
This mysterious aspect of life must be a necessary component to shield the inner workings of the game in order to immerse players and keep outcomes unpredictable. The constant barrage of stressors also helps to keep players’ attentions ever focused away from the underlying framework. And lastly, we should keep in mind that the point of every game is not to reach the end, but to experience enjoyment while playing — fun is the ultimate goal of every game.