People have been dabbling in virtual reality for decades.
One notable game being Duck Hunt, made in 1984 by Nintendo.
The game is played with a plastic orange and grey, arcade style gun. You would point the toy gun at the TV and aim for 8-bit ducks flying across the screen.
Technology has come a long way since the 80s, such as creating a more in depth digital world. Although it is still in its early stages, the potential for this technology is great.
Virtual reality brand, Oculus, has recently released a new VR goggle; partnered with Samsung at an affordable price of $100. And Microsoft is not far behind with their Hololens, which is not available for consumer purchase yet; though the developer edition is available for $3,000.
Could virtual reality cause mental illness?
Virtual Reality is quickly becoming more available for the everyday person, though how good is it? And could it be too realistic for some?
Chris Pellow is a professor in video game design at Fanshawe College. He says, “Conceptually, it’s the idea of putting you in a virtual world; a world that is definitely different than this one. What it physically is right now, it’s typically limited to video and audio stimulus that show a different world. But, it’s very apparent that you’re not actually in that world.”
Although, the virtual world does not truly exist. Western University Professor Anabel Quan-Haase, whom teaches technology in society says, “There’s something to be said about being able to explore the limits of reality. I think virtual reality can provide us opportunities even further. Because you could be embodied in an environment and experience it on a highly sensory level. “
As much potential as the digital world has, there are negative sides.
Pellow explains gaming compulsion, ” Games are not addictive, they don’t change your brain chemistry. But they’re very compelling. If there’s a void in your life that games can fill, you will allow them to fill it. Because, they’re so compelling. If games didn’t exist something else would fill that void.”
Pellow adds, “Games in isolation are not the problem. There is an underlying problem that needs to be fixed first.”
The Vanier Institute states almost 50 per cent of Canadians own a video game console.
With the popularity of gaming and virtual reality being compelling (and available to anyone), could the compulsion rate rise?
Right now, it is a flip of a coin on what the possibility of virtual reality could turn out to be.
Though, Quan-Haase says that there could be potential trauma to children using VR devices and submersing themselves into that digital reality when they have not fully developed an understanding of the real world.
“The potential problem is we’re not providing content that is age appropriate… they could be exposed to content that they can’t evaluate very well. Yes, I think at that point, trauma could be a component.”