Grand Theft Auto is an open world action-adventure video game series set in fictional locales modelled on American cities. Players can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or his organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress. The series contains satire and humour. And it’s popular. Very popular. My son plays. His friends play. In fact more than 33 million people play regularly worldwide.

The great thing about video games is that they allow the participants to vicariously experience the feelings the events in life would give them, in the complete absence of consequential impact. You can drive a car really fast, total it and walk away completely unscathed (to get another cup of tea). You can provoke a fight with a local hoodlum, survive or perish, then pause to take a bite of your sandwich. You can meet the gal (or guy), engage with them and then move on to someone else - all in the time it takes you to cross your legs. Brilliant. And Satisfying.

So why don’t you take further. Virtual reality. Everything video games gave you, but in glorious 3D. Sensations working overtime. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

OK I’m now ready for the next step. An enhanced virtual reality game has been created where you are the main protagonist. Everything revolves around you. You can see, hear, touch, smell and event taste your surroundings as if it were the real thing. And with all your hours and days playing video games, you are uniquely qualified to excel at it. Actually, it is the real thing. It is life.

As our industries have developed to take advantage of increasingly sophisticated technology, they can begin to look, sound and feel like a very sophisticated video game. You respond to images and sounds from interactive screens. You press a button and pumps, compressors, distillation columns, heat exchangers spring into action. You touch a warm pipe and it feels…..well, warm. Except, occasionally, things go wrong. Errors lead to a pipe bursting; vessel splitting; a pump seizing. And, as in a video game, your senses will detect a threat - the noise of an explosion, the smell of toxic gas, the sight of a rupture. But, unlike a video game, these sensations will presage pain, injury and in the worst cases, death. Your death.

So let’s use our extensive experience to thrive at the game of life. Everything else is just an echo. Take care and have fun out there.

life video game