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What can video games teach us about reality?

The path ahead is dark. A tree canopy seals off the sky, each leaf rendered so vividly it almost looks real. Gravel crunches underfoot. Your pursuers cannot be far behind. In front, the path splits in two. To the left, a starlit lake gleams in the distance, a single rowboat bobbing invitingly by the shore. On your right is a dead end, a wall rising abruptly from the undergrowth. Which way do you go?

Any seasoned video gamer would turn right. If one path is obviously designed to take you onward in the game’s narrative, you take the other: It’s where the treasure is hidden. No matter how counterintuitive it feels, you learn to go the wrong way first. Since most games are designed with linear narratives—a single route leading to a single ending—the wrong path is actually just the scenic route. So take a detour and investigate the forest. You’ll still end

  • Words:
    Tom Faber
  • Photograph:
    Myoung Ho Lee

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