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We’ve seen many examples in class of digital media installations blurring the lines between the real and the virtual worlds. Geocaching, Google Glass, and body movies enhance physical space by providing their participants with digital overlays that reveal hidden information for the purposes of entertainment and education. Modern video games, especially those with rich immersive virtual communities such as World of Warcraft, or those with gesture-based interfaces such as Kinect games, continue to blur the boundaries between physical and virtual space. Wark confronts this tension directly by noting that we are bound to the ‘gamespace’ once we enter it, because we are only able to act in the ways the game creators intended us to act.

But games can be switched off. We can disable the virtual overlays leaving only reality to contend with. Games are works of art—the MOMA has video games in its collection on display, including Myst—and as immersive and entertaining they might be, we do not have to participate in gamic culture if we choose not to. I spent many thousands of hours playing first-person shooter games in middle school and high school, but I do not consider them to be as real or more real than any offline aspect of my life. This is not going to change when games completely take over physical space—they are just going to provide us with different types of fun, and appeal to different centers of our brains. The ‘gamespace’ might be all around us but we have the ability to ignore it if we want to, whereas the prisoners in Plato’s cave knew of no other reality.