Games are all examples of hyper-reality. In that regard today’s video-games should be thought of more like Disneyland. For kids, the experience of hyper reality becomes more real than the reality they were designed to imitate. Let me unpack that a bit. Minecraft is a simulation of the world. It has some ludic rules about what happens when player meets creeper, but it is designed to be hyper-Disneyland of the players imagination. Because of Notch’s inspired method of constructing the environment, Minecraft (more than any other game in history) allows for mass production and reproduction. Minecraft is not a game or simulation – if looked at from a hyper-reality perspective. I once was, when Notch and a few people played it, but now it is a lanaguage – able to convey meaning, ideas, systems and rules. That is what makes it so powerful, it’s the first true hyper-real game that broke the rules of language.
Take school for example, it uses language to enforce the rules and conventions of society. It limits the way students learn, because it demands they bow down to functional language tools, upheld by aging taxonomies such as the infamous “Bloom” – compare, list, find and so on. Schools doesn’t tolerate any development of ‘new language’ at all. What a language does is enable the communication of information, feelings, ideas, and the like by establishing systemsand rules that people learn. And just as there is grammar for writing and speaking, so there are rules for hyper-reality. Minecraft is perhaps the most complex example of this I can think of.
It’s also a perfect ‘sign’ of why so many people in society simply can’t grasp even the simplest elements of ‘hyper-reality’. Today for example, the news media were salivating over a political party ‘buying’ Twitter followers for their leader. The leader is completely unable to ‘speak’ to anyone via Twitter (he’s not alone) – as he doesn’t have the language to do so.
We’re dealing with a hyper-real world in which signifiers and the signified can only be understood by learning new language, so if you’re kids is playing Minecraft … they are learning about signs – what is signified and what are the signifiers in a hyper-reality immersed society. And that’s not a bad thing at all – as life has always imitated art to some degree.