I remember at my eighth birthday party, I invited a load of my friends to an indoor play area to celebrate with me. There were ball pits, swinging ropes, crazy slides, climbing walls – all padded with softness, of course. Oh, and there were Super Nintendo consoles inside a hut with Super Mario Bros. 3 loaded into them. Unsurprisingly, I spent the ENTIRE hour-long session hammering World 1 – Grass Land on my own whilst the others frolicked sociably.

Me? Be sociable? Please…

Watching the home video footage back last year, my mother commented how I’d ‘live in those video game worlds if I could’, which started me thinking: would I? Would I leave behind this world of debt and sorrow and famine and war, for the colourful plains of The Mushroom Kingdom? Seems like a ‘no-brainer’, but – in the interest of science – I thought I’d do some proper research into the matter. Where would it really be better to live? In real life, or in video games?

Shopping for clothesShop3

REAL LIFE: OH the horror and hellfire that is clothes shopping! The perpetual back-and-forth between shops and clothes rails, queuing for the changing rooms where you undress and re-dress in a phonebox that smells like teenage insecurity, all whilst being reminded just how uncomfortable and unshapely you are by the goading mirrors that surround you like a capitalist coffin… Of course, some people like or even love clothes shopping, but when they finally do try their outfit on, they probably think they look similar to potatoes crammed into a condom… The sale rail is the only salvation, aside from the exit doors.

VIDEO GAMES: Stand still in just your undercrackers and skim through countless garments as you display them in all their glory, Sims-style, without once having to pull a tight top over your hairstyle and risk ruining it. Or jump over the WWE 2k15 create-a-superstar mode and zoom through the categories, perhaps opting for a glittering jacket and sequinned shorts, or a sheer vest with turquoise tracksuit bottoms. No queuing. No size issues. No deflated sense of body image.

WINNER: Video games.

Travelling long distancestravel3

REAL LIFE: The daily commute to work was fun, once upon a time. All of the new scenery, the different roads you could drive or walk down, the people you’d pass and acknowledge with a nod. But soon, when this new journey becomes one you’ve done twice daily for the last seventeen months, and you’re SO sick of being stuck at the SAME junctions, caught in the SAME traffic jams, and seeing the SAME people pass you by, a small tear finds it way onto your cheek. Then sadness. Then anger. Then all out rage. A court hearing. Prison. Dropped soap.

VIDEO GAMES: What’s that, traveller of the lands of The Elder Scrolls? You want to travel all the way across the map to a city you’ve visited before, but can’t be bothered to spend your time walking or riding there? Not a problem: use our ‘fast travel’ system, whereby the journey is skipped ENTIRELY! Not a citizen of such a realm? That’s not an issue either, denizen of San Andreas! Hop in a taxi, then just hit the ‘SKIP THE WHOLE FRICKIN’ CAR RIDE’ button. Hell, why not even pick up one of those portal guns from Aperture Science Laboratories? Standard travelling is for chumps, after all.

WINNER: Video games.

Making moneymoney3

REAL LIFE: You reach your teenage years, and the world rips away your Lego blocks and replaces them with a crappy BMX and forces you to do a paper-round – no matter the weather. Hurricane Hernandez could rear its raucous head and cattle could be flung at you from great heights at greater speeds, but BY GAWD you’re gonna get Mrs Whats-her-face her weekly newspaper so she can check her horoscope! After that, and after years of education, you get a job in a factory filling boxes with bog roll just so you can afford a second-hand BMX for your 13-year-old son Wesley, who has – in your opinion – outgrown his Lego and needs to start learning the value of money. Ugh…

VIDEO GAMES: Hey, Mario, where’d you get the money for that sweet Lamborghini?” Oh, it was simple really. He just walked down the street and THERE WAS A PYRAMID OF COINS FLOATING IN THE AIR, and a box that he could hit repeatedly WITH HIS FACE until he was so loaded, he no longer needed to be a plumber, but spent his time tripping out on mushrooms and abusing little turtles in a magical kingdom. His mate, Sonic, too. Apparently, he found tonnes of golden rings scattered around everywhere. Just went along and picked them up, tax-free! He even decided to invest in some speech therapy lessons, and adopted a really annoying American accent…

WINNER: Video games.

Carrying thingsCarry3

REAL LIFE: We have two hands, a gob, and – at a push – we can balance things on our heads like deformed, walking coffee tables. So, like the clever little gnomes that we are, we invented pockets, backpacks, carrier bags, and hats with drink-holders. Come at me, weekly shop. Bring it on, large quantities of Post-it notes and A4 documentation. Have at thee, six-pack of Special Brew. We totally nailed this one… except for carrier bags. No-one can trust a carrier bag.

VIDEO GAMES: Silly humans. Who needs polythene bags and embarrassingly coloured rucksacks when you can carry a remote-control Nikita missile launcher, SOCOM pistol, FAMAS assault rifle, AND claymore mines in your pockets alone? Solid Snake doesn’t nip to Tesco, that’s for sure. He can carry cigarettes in his stomach, if needs be! Or, do things the Hylian way and line your tunic with bombs, arrows, seeds, a slingshot, a bow, a hookshot, a boomerang, a remote control insect, a stick that blows wind, a stick that flips stuff upside down, a stick that sets fire to stuff, a giant cog you can stand on, several musical instruments, a sledgehammer…

WINNER: Video games.

Making big decisionsdec3

REAL LIFE: Okay then, I’ve got a big meeting at work today that will decide my future in the company! I hope I don’t mess this up…

So, they fired me. That’s okay, I’ve still got my girlfriend – I just need to find the best way to tell her I can no longer afford to buy her jewellery. I hope I don’t mess this up…

So, she left me. That’s okay, I’ve still got some food in the fridge to survive on whilst I look for a new job. Though, I don’t know how old this cheese is. I hope this doesn’t mess me up…

VIDEO GAMES: A typewriter, AND a room full of ammo and green herbs?! Are you trying to tell me there’s a boss in the next room, Resident Evil folks? Better save, just in case: that way, I can reload if something goes horribly wrong. Failing that, I’ll just use the sands of time and rewind the last 10-15 seconds and ensure I don’t get mutilated and die. No sweat. None whatsoever. Eeeeasy…

WINNER: Video games.


THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE IS: Video games. Hands down.

What a wonderful place to be! And I’ve decided I’m going to go there now. I’ve spent the last hour attempting to climb inside the memory card slot of my Gamecube, but to no avail. I can’t shut the lid on my Dreamcast once I’m inside, either. This is proving more difficult than I thought, but I’ll keep trying… see you once we get there!

Can you think of any other parts of video games you wish were real life? Or can you think of any part of real life that video games just can’t beat? Let us know in the comments below.

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