Fans are disillusioned with professional sports. Barry Bonds and the steroid lies, Kobe Bryant’s ego, Terrell Owens borderline case of narcissism. Hmmm, when does borderline mean on the edge and when does it mean over the edge. In either case, if you’re diagnosed as borderline, it’s probably pretty bad.

Ever since [jeez, what did they call it when they developed gloves and masks so you would be in an imaginary world? what was Billy’s friend’s name who was in the forefront of it?], we’ve been promised that we can play in an imaginary world and it’s here. Many adolescents would rather play and NBA video game than sit and watch a seven game first round playoff series. And they’re not limited to playing with friends either. Put on the headphones and sign onto the web and choose your [link]Halo opponent from anywhere in the world.

Philosophy has told us that we make up the world. We ignore anything that contradicts our view of ourself and heartily embrace something that inflates our preferred view of the world. [link to the movie]The Matrix was able to express complex philosophical ideas because we were already familiar with alternative worlds, we had already gone through the levels of [link]Myst or [link]Doom and could easily move forward or back through layers of a make believe world, through layers of reality?

The Matrix, the movie by the Wachowski brothers, was such a huge hit and spawned so many video games, followups (movies that come after the first movie) and even [link to animatrix]animation because it has a fundamental and common theme of science fiction -the battle with technology – are we running the show or are out computers running us? – and there are few religious and philosophical ideas it does not reference. In the Matriz, the AI robots (?) are running the simulation and Neo and his friends have to free us from their control.

If you’re Christian, Neo is the second coming and will save us. If you are a Hindu, the message is that the physical world we live in is, literally, an illusion. Neo wants to know what is real so he is lifted out of his vat and the computer cable is removed from the back of his head so he can take the red(?) pill and opt for reality. Which is, of course, is the path to God and may (does Neo die?) result in Neo’s sacrifice (resurrection?).

Professors of philosophy at Oxford University get off on it too. Nick Bostrum has written a paper titled [link] “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation.” Bostrum suggests that computer technology has advanced enough that we could be the forebears of a later generation that is running us as a simulation. To what end, I’m not sure. I can’t imagine what we could provide unless it’s a particularly amusing video game. That could be good enough I suppose.

I remember reading about out of body experience by reading the work of Bob ???. He was stunned to discover, on one of his out of body experiences, that our purpose in life was to generate love which acted as fuel for the race of people who were controlling us. If so, given our penchant for wars, the system has 50% efficiency at best.

In either case we can applaud our search for our purpose here in life and it’s interesting to note that it often parallels our day to day life. We use each other to get what we want. We start wars to ensure our sources of fuel.

I played computer simulations early in their development [find a name of one] – they were text driven at that time, no images, just text that told you where you were and asked you a question whose answer determined the next step in the game. When I studied biology in high school I delighted in drawing detailed pictures of structures which I knew nothing about. I spent most of my time drawing complex images of the world that the text driven game was spelling out and never got very far in the game.

And even though I write about fantasy tennis, I’m not that good at it. I’m currently number 7179 out of the 11, 000 teams in my league. But there are 11, 000 teams in my league and there are (??) fantasy baseball players and (??) fantasy football players in the US and there were (??) video games sold last year.

Video games enthusiasts have often been viewed as nerdy escapists pale from hours in their room beating this or that game or an opponent on the internet. That is changing now that companies are beginning to switch endorsements from athletes who play in real dirt to the gamers and they have become stars in a similar way that skateboarders originally became stars.

At some point in the future, I might be writing regular columns about combatants in a tennis video game.

Still, we view video games as an escape because the world is made up and you can shoot and kill people without going to jail. Fantasy sports has been [and I gues this is the point at the moment – are video games escapist and fantasy sports interactive, but how does that tie in simulation] viewed as interactive in the sense that consumers are no longer satisfied with watching, they want to play too. They want to be George Steinbrenner. A fantasy league is formed, team owners draft players then sit them or play them as they choose and trade them if they want to. That is more interactive than sitting alone in your living room watching a game.

This has been covered in books. What do I want to do here? A comparison between fantasy leagues and video games?

fantasy tennis league: real game, fantasy team. Video games: fantasy game, real players.

survey (talk tennis?): do fantasy players watch the matches less and focus more on the results, in other words, do they become like gamblers who are not so interested in the players or the team but whether or not they won.

fantasy sports: it’s not enough to be a passive spectator any more. We demand to have a team, to be come team (or player) owners.

Are we actually more unhinged from reality – will young people be less able to deal with day to day life problems and be less able to relate to others – or will we be more sophisticated about reality?

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