lain.and.stephenson >> Phantoma as GUI/Sensorial Interface

Phantoma is a new game that can be played in the Wired that is all the rage with kids today. It looks like the first-person shooting video games of today’s world. The player runs around dungeons and shoots opponents. However, these games serve a much more devious purpose. In Lain, the Phantoma game serves as a way to utilize the brainwaves of the players, and steal their energy. Normally, tricking players through a simple video game would not be so easy. However, Phantoma exists as much more than a video game. It is a GUI (Graphical User Interface), as well as a "sensorial interface." The GUI of Phantoma covers up the Command Line Interface (CLI) of the mechanisms used to hypnotize the players. If the CLI was visible, the game would not be realistic or easily playable. Therefore, players need to work with GUI in order to operate the game, while at the same time, are not aware of how the system is using them. In Stephenson’s In the Beginning...was the Command Line, he defines sensorial interface as "a user interface...more than just graphical" (Stephenson, 52). Indeed, a sensorial interface takes control of all of the senses, forcing the user to truly feel like he is in a game. Through this device, Phantoma is made more convincing. As such, players are more susceptible to the mind control process that ensues. If one feels like he is in reality, he will take it as reality, and unless he is met with "metaphor sheer," realizing that world is a hoax, he will stay in that world, and is subject to its surroundings and effects.

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