Tag: Brain

I had the pleasure of using one of Sony’s new Morpheus VR headsets with their Playstation 4 not long ago and given time to think I’m left with very mixed feelings about it all.

reality vs game

In terms of what Sony have done with the software developers they are working with? it was the ultimate childhood video game dream come true. Having a headset placed on you at a fancy promo party by London’s Embankment to then suddenly be sitting in a dark and dingy room with someone holding a blow torch to your face and interrogating you is a very surreal experience, but of corse highly entertaining.

Its fun because in these early stages we’re able to see this as a new gimmick, an experience that its new to you much like a ride at a theme park that you’ve never been on. But what is a little concerning is when the graphics become photo realistic and VR headsets are common place in every gamers home for 24 hour use, how hard would it then become to engage back into what may be a “dull” life in comparison?  Would most not prefer the world where you’re the hero or the villain without any real consequences aside from probably gaining a few pounds and becoming a recluse.

Not to mention the young people who will be raised with this technology, where they can jump in and out of worlds where in one they are asked to contribute to society through hard work, the other they can just run around shooting, stabbing, sexually assaulting and more at will. I work with young people and I already find it hard to get them to engage in things long enough to actually learn something and thats just when I’m competing with a smart phone. How hard might it be when almost total escapism is a headset away?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of VR headsets and of corse I walked away from Sony’s event messaging all of my friends stating that I’m getting one as soon as it comes out. But I’m currently very aware of my addictive traits and would set limits to my gaming use in the future (moderation is key kids) but not all have the same self awareness or the ability to control themselves. For example an Alcoholic can’t control their addiction at all, therefore have to abstain from alcohol full stop in order to survive, but to learn that they are an alcoholic they tend to have hit a rock bottom in their life. What concerns me a little is the rock bottoms that might be hit while completely engulfed in a virtual world. And will there then be a VR Addictions Anon system in place like their should be for Facebook etc?

I am confident that most people using these headsets won’t be so careless, most will enjoy it much like they do the odd film or theatre experience. But we know that there will be more than a couple parents too busy wanting to feel like they are in a World Of Warcraft / Game Of Thrones kind of world than the one in which they are to monitor their child, change its nappy and such. Not to mention the mental health triggers that could cause serious panic attacks and more in horror games.

I mean, to be fair these things are already common place. We already see the overweight adults on the bus neglecting their child in order to play Candy Crush. And the Dad’s who would rather smoke weed and play Fifa or Call Of Duty than take their little ones out to the park. The warnings are already there, just the thought of giving these people complete escapism, where they can artificially change their whole image, lifestyle, surroundings, rules and more….it scares me a little. Because these people are the parents of the future generation that we will have to trust with our lives and political choices when we’re old.

I love video games, but I’m very aware that in the past (like some readers i’m sure) they were a tool of escapism. To avoid stress, boredom or displeasure in life I would just pick up a controller and zone out to a world where my actions were gaining “rewards” and praise much easier and faster than in real life. I mean, don’t even get me started on my VR headset and porn concerns! I feel like now would be a great time to start studying marriage counselling because they are going to be raking it in with POV VR Porn.

All I will say is we're all becoming far too desensitised by media as a whole (not just video games) when you can see footage of a drone on the news gunning down real innocent lives and think "that looks just like a level in a video game" it makes you wonder, what might the consequences be for a generation that could have a problem distinguishing the difference between VR and reality?

Our brains’ reward systems are being rewired these days to want easier, faster and unrealistic fixes of achievement, entertainment, arousal and such. What might we feel entitled to (rather than earn or deserve) in reality when in the alternative artificial worlds we habitat we're encouraged to be careless gun wielding homicidal car jacking maniacs that can have sexual experiences with whoever, kill at will and obtain almost anything all by sitting on our asses?

GTA-Rich

I don’t know the answer, but i’m sure we can “Just google it” one day.

Shout out to Offworld and FeministFrequency for bringing social awareness to gaming.

Black Onassis is the new project of former Kasabian member Chris Karloff. As a founding member, lead guitarist and one of the chief songwriters for Kasabian throughout their swift ascent to global fame, Karloff admits it was a kick in the teeth to leave the band back in 2006. But now he’s joined forces with NYC musician Nick Forde as well as a host of special guest vocalists to enjoy some new-found creative freedom.

After his departure from Kasabian, Chris left his native home of Leicester, England to move to New York City – a completely different change of pace. Still feeling the burn from the separation, he used that, along with the influences of his new home, as inspiration to form something different. Something that gave him a chance to express himself more freely and be as openly creative as he liked. Karloff’s signature dance laden songwriting has endured with a subtle sonic shift as he is now able to freely express his own compelling influences, from the stylistically metropolitan symphonics of Parisian house, krautrock and trance hypnoticism, to the classic sound of those acts which have become emblazoned in music history – all firmly anchored in interesting melodic structures and delivered with professional musicianship. Karloff has carefully constructed an album that expertly mixes psychedelic guitar rock with propulsive, throbbing electronic beats.

"'Electronic music to me is surprisingly soulful, there is a warmth that comes from the simplicity of sounds, something inconspicuously expressive and emotional", he says. "Growing up it was everywhere. Artists like Vangelis, Kraftwerk, The Prodigy and Tangerine Dream were massive influences on the songs I wrote with Kasabian, and even more so now. But rock music has always played a massive role as well, and I'm inspired by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Primal Scream and Nirvana. I try to fuse these two worlds to create the kind of music I want to listen to".

Karloff creates this sound with help from NYC musician and good friend Nick Forde (bass, keyboards) and rather than opting for a traditional lineup with a lead singer, they chose to work with guest vocalists. Lines went out to Liela Moss of The Duke Spirit, Morgan Kibby of M83 / White Sea, Ben Gautrey of The Cooper Temple Clause / Type Two Error, and friend Steven Young of The Black Marquee.

"Working with multiple singers makes writing every track a unique experience, a new musical adventure” says Chris. “A voice can change the whole dynamic of a song, and it's really freeing and feels limitless to write without being constrained by the vocal abilities or stylings of one person."

When it came time to start playing live, Black Onassis knew their unconventional lineup could pose a problem. To compensate for the fact that they would be touring with no singer, the band incorporate a huge visual element to the show. As Chris explains, "The fusion of sight and sound is the perfect marriage in terms of stimulation, and we wanted to put a lot of thought into making it an overall experience for our fans." The band teamed up with filmmakers and visual artists to put together a presentation that is tailor-made for each song. The result is an extreme and elaborate visual and sonic environment that floods the senses and takes people on a 60 minute journey through the album.

The project has already drawn critical intrigue. ‘Innocence Blitz’ had NME heavily tipping the project as one to watch, while Mojo featured the band only at their early stage in eager anticipation of the debut. Having taken the necessary time to nurture it independently, Chris Karloff and his new band of brothers are ready to officially release. Desensitized comes out September 23rd on their own label Minus Man Records.

Debut Album ‘Desensitized.’ Released September 23rd on Minus Man Records.