Lost in the Shadows
I reject your reality and substitute my own!
Short Description: A community of people who have decided to spend their time in a shared electronic game world. All. The. Time.
Dress: Could be anything, honestly, but often accessorize in brand logos and ‘merch’ from their world of choice.
Symbols: Generally go for brightly-colored faux-movie-fantasy imagery. The more artistically inclined often do very elaborate symbols for their characters and Guilds.
Lingo: Incomprehensible hash of Matrix lingo and abbreviations not meant for people to say out loud, but they still do (honestly DPS sounds like something the Vu took in college and still gets flashbacks from…)
- Styles: Bollywood, Fractal Phase, Nippon Glam, Edge
- What’s on Their Playlists?: Black Pony, Concrete Dreams, Grim Aurora, Christy Daee, Synaptic, Anything on PopStar Plus or IdolMaker
- Local bands: I AM MAI, GameCore revolution, the Devs
PvR is online speak for ‘Player versus Reality’. The invisible world, every bit as exclusive as cabals of mages who meet in astral, of online Sim game players who live in their bought-and-paid-for shared computer fantasy world. Their usual picks including things such as World of Legends, ArcadiumOnline and Neil’s Age of Barsaive.
Now anyone who knows the Vu would know that the Vu and “Reality” are not exactly on speaking terms much of the time. Indeed, the Vu prefers not to talk to reality at all, preferring to just leave a message with Chemistry on the way out to have a marvelous time while Reality sits at home wishing desperately that it was invited to the sorts of parties the Vu goes to. However, compared to the PvR crowd, the Vu is an absolute anchor of normality.
Back in the Vu’s day, before the Second Crash, if you can imagine so far back (and no that doesn’t date me, the Vu is ageless!) if you were going to lose yourself in a Sim game, you had to actually plug your vulnerable meat mind into a big black… er box, leave a ‘do not disturb’ note on your nose and arrange for someone to come in and feed and water your body every few days like a forlorn houseplant of some sort. All of which is so very, very long ago in Matrix terms, it barely bares mentioning. Forget about it. Phhhttt! There we go! Its gone!
These days, with all the advances in AR and commlink interactivity, one can get lost in Sims whenever one likes, although one could debate whether or not one is really “Lost” at all if one is able to move about and interact while doing it. Why, with the ‘Outside Window’ apps most Sim games include in their code these days, one can go about, walk, talk to people, shower, eat, dance, take drugs, hold down a job and even have oddly detached sex while still level grinding your back-up character (although the Vu has no idea what a ‘level’ is or why, if its already level, one would need it ground down).
Which makes no strides in explaining while so few of them actually do any of those things.
Now the Vu is ashamed (slap on the wrist, bad Vu, bad), for the Vu has fallen into the trap of painting people with a broad brush. The sort of trap set by the Vu’s oldest and bitchiest foes, Confirmation Bias and Media Stereotype. Now, while many of the PvR types that one sees wandering the streets in a daze, getting bits of burrito makings on their ‘World of Neil’ t-shirts and mumbling to themselves do live up to the old stereotype, that’s rather the point the Vu is trying to make. One doesn’t see the ones that don’t live up (or down) to the stereotype, does one? Or rather one likely does, but without the stereotypical tribal markings to identify them, what’s to distinguish them from any other ‘trix-junkie compulsively talking on their comm? Like they say in the old Surgesploitation Sims: They Could Be All Around Us and We Would Never Know It! And that’s the thing, the difference between PvR Players and members of other subcultures. To be Ergi, you need to dress up like a transsexual wizard, to be Craftpunk you need to wear costumes and make things, to be MainScene you have to be seen to be MainScene, even Spacemen have habits that make them obvious to the careful observer. But while there are PvR who are obvious to anyone, how many more of them are there quietly playing a game through the chores that make up their so-called “real” lives?
And that’s what’s really frightening, not the few hard-cases who go out to the point of no return and put an axe through a “monster” that turns out to be their neighbor or aunt that get all the media attention. Every scene has those. Its the legion vast of souls who are Absent All Around Us, who are only present in body, but in mind are worlds and centuries away, living in the flesh only to facilitate the chance to raise a number on their character profile a few more points.
On the other hand, given how artificial and hyped everyday ‘life’ is, who’s the say that what the rest of us give our lives over to achieving is any more real. Maybe we’re all PvR, they’re just more honest about it.
And that’s the most frightening thing of all about them.