If gaming became a reality, how would you fair?
It always starts the same damn way, it is never safe to play a new video game especially not a virtual reality game. They just always seem to lead to death or trouble. You have classics like the .Hack// where a mysterious virus in the game was killing players in real life. Now you figure that they would have learned their lesson after one incident but then there is .hack//cell and .hack//liminality and .hack//roots and several others. There is even a map to help figure out the timeline of all these plots revolving around people continuously diving into this game that is killing them.
The theme of the death in a game evolved slightly from just a few users dying to the death of everyone who plays it. You get the super popular series Sword art Online that I talked about before where tons of users were stuck in the game where death in the game lead to death in real life.
One series that tried to capitalize on that popularity was Log Horizon.
In it the players of the game Elder Tales were all mysteriously unable to logout and were stuck in their virtual world. Various changes occurred in relation to skills and stats but overall it was still the game and like most MMORPG’s (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) the game didn’t have a clear ending to escape wasn’t as straight forward as it was in SAO. The biggest difference between the two series was that death wasn’t the end. Every-time you die you just reappear in the church reincarnate point just like the regular game, this lead to people devolving back to their baser instincts and showing the ugly side of humanity.
It is typically the cliché of these types of stories, you enter the world, you fight to survive, you are special or have a special power that no one else has. You get tired of it, but then every once in a while you get a little gem, a sparkle that changes the game. One of those is The New Gate.
A series that takes an odd turn from the norm. The premise of it is that an online game that had turned into a death game, was now releasing the tens of thousands of players that had been dragged into it, thanks to the efforts of Shin, one of the oldest players. But after he had defeated the last boss and freed everyone, he was swallowed up by a strange light and found himself inside the game world 500 years in the future. So instead of being stuck in the MMO and trying to survive like in SAO, the story takes place after everyone was freed from the situation. The main character is stuck in what seems to be the game with the changes that followed the time that passed and his exploits of the past are now legend told to kids. It is an interesting spin on it since he is seriously overpowered by having end of the game stats and he tries to keep humble while enjoying himself in the world and figuring out the cause of his predicament.
Though he is not the only humble hero with overpowered stats, in the series Overlord you have a similar issue occur. The story begins with Yggdrasil, a popular online game which is quietly shut down on its last day. Our protagonist Momonga decided to stay until the last moment in his beloved game and wait for the force logout. Unexpectedly, the server did not shut down and Momonga is stuck in his skeleton body and got transferred to another world. “The powerful Overlord” now having no parents, friends, or place in society, this ordinary man strives to take over the new world the game has become. This story was a great manga which is still ongoing with many interesting and often hilarious twists and has recently gotten an anime. The first two episodes look promising and seeing the reactions some of his servants have animated is an unexpected delight. The series has a perfect blend of fantasy, action and comedy and is well worth the watch and the read, especially if you are tired of the same old stuck in a game type stories.
Dark horse: A bit of a different take that I recently found is Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Daisshou – Outo no Ichinichi Hen, yeah that is a mouthful. Suddenly a high school student Subaru Natsuki was summoned to another world on the way back from the convenience store. The biggest crisis of his life being summoned to another world and no sign of the one who summoned him things become worse when he is attacked. But when he is saved by a mysterious silver-haired girl with a fairy cat, Subaru works with the girl to return the favor. When they finally manage to get a clue Subaru and the girl are attacked and killed by someone. Subaru then awakens in the place he was summoned and notices the ability he gained “Returns by Death” a helpless boy that only has the ability to rewind time by dying. not your typical hero story I’ll tell you that. You know how weird it is to see a ‘hero’ dying by being stabbed during a mugging? Then returning to the start point in a way that reminds one of Majora’s mask~ It’s like groundhogs day with death.