Friday 23 October 2009, 17:21
Editor's note: here's a first for the Radio 4 blog. A post by a fictional character. Kip Berenger will make his appearance in series 2 of Radio 7's Planet B, starting on 29 November. He spoke to lead writer Matthew Broughton:
I suppose you'd call me a heavy user. I'm going to say that up front -even if it makes me sound a bit geeky. But, I'm a big fan of virtual game playing - and Planet B goes further than any other. It's out there. It's serious. I don't want to sound over earnest. But my brain and I spend a lot of time in Planet B.
I'm totally comfortable in its 'virtual universe of infinite possibility.' It was that tag line that attracted me - that and "Planet B where you can be whoever you want to be." I was curious immediately. They were saying it was somewhere I could lose myself - and that's what happens with all the best games - total immersion.
Of course, what I know now, that I didn't know then - is that Planet B is much more than just a game. It's a wild wild place.
Planet B is made up of millions of virtual worlds - big and small - each different in nature and sophistication.
I love that I can hop from world to world. You never know what you're going to get - or how you're going to get it! My favourites have genre themes. It's like starring in your favourite films. One moment you're in a Western having a high noon gunfight with someone calling themselves East Clintwood - the next you're being chased by zombies - or having an intimate date with the most beautiful woman in the world. It's a ride.
Some of the harming games can be pretty edgy. I've been 'killed' on more than one occasion. It makes things more authentic. You're thrown out, and have to log back in and start again... There are cheats too. Experienced gamers can get ahead. I'm an experienced gamer and a good one. (I feel like a tool writing that last sentence - but if I don't blow my own trumpet no one else will.)
People talk about Planet B being 'dangerous.' Well... it is owned by a corporation, that has an iffy 'history'... and some people are not what they seem. Rogue avatars (avatars not controlled by human beings) can be unpredictable. And... You do hear horror stories about people dying for real while their minds are online... but I read somewhere that every year people die by drinking tea that's too hot. So what are you going to do? I'm not unduly worried. It keeps me on my toes.
I'm completely aware that Planet B is a universe created by architects and technicians - but, as soon as you upload your brain - that's it - the real and the virtual blend - and they've got you. You know... In a good way! (I think...)
Things have been changing recently. Keeps it interesting. I could live in Planet B full time. And maybe, one day, I will.
Kip Berenger is... erm... a character in a comedy drama series