What would happen if a video game character became sentient?
How would it view humanity? Would it be able to comprehend our world, even if a detailed explanation were provided to it? How would it react if it was granted access to a web camera to view the real world?
I have always thought that the character would probably think they were crazy if a human were to transmit a voice and explain what the human world is. Since a video game character is completely locked within a computer generated world, the concept of anything being outside of their world may appear as ridiculous and confusing. Much the same as the very thought that humans have sometimes: is there anything outside of our universe?
Just like if God Itself were to whisper into one of our ears and tell us that there is so much beyond our universe, we would probably think we were crazy and seek medical help immediately.
The character in the video game world would probably be confused and have a huge amount of questions for us: why am I here? Where does my universe exist? How did you make the universe? How long will my universe exist? The questions would be endless in the same way as if God spoke to a human.
What questions would you ask God (if there were such an entity)?
If the entire population of the video game world became sentient, then the situation would become even more interesting. If a human transmitted a message to only one character (providing the game characters were programmed to understand English—or any other language) how would the character’s story be viewed by its friends? Would the character seem like one of the “crazy prophets” that have been encountered in our own world?
Hearing voices from far away has been a problem for humanity for as long as can be remembered. Mental illnesses have been shown to be the cause of auditory and visual hallucinations. I wonder, of what would the sentient game character be accused?
Would they be accused of lying? Would they be accused of mental health problems? Would they be accused of attempting to manipulate their friends? These sound like the familiar things that those in our own world are accused of when they “hear the voice of God”.
I wonder if the characters would gather together and protest against the human voice and demand a perfect way of life to be programmed into the machine. Perhaps they would all stop working and doing other programmed tasks (depending on each of their roles within the video game like blacksmith, mechanic, soldier, etc) and demand that all life be perfect within their world.
How would the characters view the concept of their world being powered by electricity? Would they be able to comprehend something that is so near to them? Electricity could safely be considered the “fabric of their reality” and as we humans have a difficult time understanding the atoms and quarks (and potential superstrings) that make up our own world, solar system, galaxy, and universe. Perhaps they too would not be able to comprehend the nature of their own electric reality.
I have asked more questions than I have answered.
Christopher is a second year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College who specializes in fantasy and science fiction. He sings and plays guitar in his spare time.