By Kathleen Townsend
From virtual reality video games to the cognitive worlds of murderers, digital worlds are a staple in fantasy and mystery anime.
Some virtual worlds bring fantasy to life, while others are just a thin veil over the physical world, or augmented reality. All of them, though, are fascinating, albeit not very normal human-friendly. With danger at every turn, these virtual worlds can be tough places to navigate and even tougher places to survive in.
Let’s take a look at five virtual anime worlds we’d have a tough time in.
id wells from ID: INVADED
The virtual worlds of ID: INVADED are wholly unique and definitely scary. Called id wells, they are worlds created from the cognition particles of murderers and their intent to kill. It is, quite literally, the personification of their deepest flaws.
Each id well is different. Some are surreal, disjointed messes, and others are crumbling cities blanketed by fire. But each project the world as only the murderer would see it, adding a method to their madness.
The twist? Only others who have killed can pilot a device that can dive inside id wells and their ever-changing depth. But more than just the murderer lurk inside. Victims—and soon-to-be victims—have virtual versions of themselves trapped within, too. OK, but the positive side to an id well is that they’re used to help a special detective unit stop crimes and take down serial killers before they can strike again.
Talk about a tough place to survive in. Die in the id well? Well, it’s time to reset. Being trapped inside a villain’s cognitive world is not exactly friendly. At best, you’re walking into the world of a murderer. At worst, you’re on your way to becoming their next victim.
Infinite Dendrogram from Infinite Dendrogram
Infinite Dendrogram is a VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online) game. Unlike other VRMMOs, Infinite Dendrogram doesn’t trap its players within its virtual depths or kill them in real life when their avatar is killed. But that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses.
This virtual world truly does feel like a real life medieval fantasy realm. In-game politics and world events progress in real time regardless of player agendas, creating an ever-evolving landscape. Coming back from death isn’t just the click of a button, either.
When they die, players are kicked out of the game for a full 24 hours, which equates to three days of in-game time. Logging back in means coming back to a very different world.
And amazing artificial intelligence means NPCs behave like real people, and, if they die, they’re gone forever. Even a fully-armored person running full speed into you is enough to put your health in the red and break several bones.
With the added threat of PKers and quests appearing very unexpectedly with hidden requirements, Infinite Dendogram is a world we would definitely have a tough time surviving in. At least with this one, we’d get a second try!
Darwin’s Game from Darwin’s Game
OK, so this isn’t as much of a virtual world as it is an augmented reality over on the real world, but nevertheless, we wouldn’t want to find ourselves wrapped up in it.
Darwin’s Game is anything but the simple mobile game with gacha mechanics it appears to be. Battles between players don’t take place within the familiar parameters of PVP mobile games, and once you’re logged in, there’s no way to quit. Instead, players physically fight one another using whatever weapons are on hand. The game only ends in death, surrender, or a draw. And there are no second chances.
Lose a match? You die. All that’s left behind is a block-like impression in the place where you died, marking your grave in the real world. Each player gets an ability called a Sigil that can help them or harm their enemy. But even then, sometimes it’s not enough to win — or survive.
The Wired from Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain contains the oldest virtual world on this list, and the one we’d definitely have the toughest time surviving in, hands down. The Wired is a virtual world that might look a little like today’s internet at first, but don’t let that deceive you. (Though, it probably would have been bad enough had it just been today’s internet, if we’re being honest.)
The Wired is downright terrifying, a place where different aspects of yourself can make a whole new you. The line between the real world and the Wired is entirely too thin, with one seeming to blend into the other constantly. What’s real? What’s digital? Is it another level of cognition, or is it exactly what it sounds like—a virtual world that might have gotten a little out of hand?
Either way, count us out for surviving in this one. Watching the series? That we can do.
Sword Art Online from Sword Art Online
From the popular Sword Art Online comes a virtual world of the same name. Sword Art Online was supposed to be the pinnacle of VRMMO gaming. Instead, it became a virtual world that trapped all of its players for years. Now that’s spooky.
A virtual reality game trapping all of its players on launch day is ominous sounding at best and horrifying at worst. Anyone who dies while trapped in the game will die in real life, raising the stakes from the jump. There are no checkpoints or revival points in this one.
With dungeons full of enemies and bosses, there’s no shortage of danger looking to stop players in their tracks—literally. On top of that, players can attack one another provided they’re out adventuring. The only safe place in Sword Art Online is in a town—exactly the sort of place we’d find ourselves camping out in.
Maybe it goes without saying, but Sword Art Online is a virtual world we definitely don’t want to get stuck in.
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