The New Invisible Wall

I’ve never had to kill anyone. I guess you could say I got lucky like that. In fact, thus far, I’ve led a fairly average life. I didn’t really push myself physically, deciding that spending my nights rotting my liver away and smoking my lungs black were a much better use of my time. I suppose I was in decent shape but that was only due to a number of stealthy party escapes after authorities found our congregations unlawful. I was no John Rambo and as I got older I can’t say that I got any closer to a Green Beret body. Despite all this, I’ve always been capable of meeting what I would consider some fairly simple feats of athleticism: vaulting waist high desks and countertops or jumping the occasional fence.

So knowing that I am capable of these far less than impressive tasks, it becomes a little difficult to retain my suspension of disbelief when I’m firing a grenade launcher into crowds of armed hostiles, my breathing is heavy, sweat is dripping into my eyes and I turn to run only to find–well, damn, I guess I can’t get through this chain link fence. Yep, here I am, thinking I made it, all out of first aid kits and at least an hour away from the nearest opportunity to save but it’s okay because obviously I’ll just blast right through this…no, apparently I won’t. I guess this is why they call them Hercules Fences. I turn back in hopes of putting up some resistance but it’s too late; mye enemies are already riddling my body with lead.

When I play video games, I find myself in awe at the idea that anyone could go through what we put these characters through and keep a cool head all the while. Fire fights with S.W.A.T teams, jumping out of planes, and wrestling with sharks all go from absurdities to normalities and as this character I handle it all without even a bat of the eye. And then we hit walls. Most games today have done a great job at getting rid of something that would drive any gamer insane not too long ago: invisible walls. There was nothing worse than finding yourself in a dicey situation, thinking you had found the sweet salvation of escape only to find you were inexplicably unable to move forward and out of danger, often leading to your eventual death and, more often than not, the restarting of a level. But this was a dark age of video games and now here we are in the 21st century where virtual reality means something more literal than ever. Or so we’d like to believe.

Despite all the realism we enjoy, I still can’t get passed those damn fences. I’m still lying dead on the floor because of locked doors. This is a commendation to how far we’ve come but also a critique of how far we have to go. I understand that I can’t have it all. I don’t expect developers to create an entire planet for me to explore (although I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea), but here in the future I do expect my characters to be halted by realistic obstacles. I don’t think it’s unfair to argue that if I was placed in the position of half of the roles I have to take on I would drop the gun and climb that fence. I would be kicking down doors or whipping out my shotgun and blasting them open. Conventional deterrents would mean nothing to me. So I think it’s not terribly rude of me to say that while I’m glad we’re beyond that childish stage where I can’t go somewhere, essentially, just because the developers say so, we aren’t exactly making the progress we want to be making when I lose my life because I couldn’t get through a door that said “Do Not Enter.” And it doesn’t help the case much when my controller goes through the television.

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