Virtual Life and Death

Portrait of a fallen fantasy midfielder... 2055-2077.

Portrait of a fallen fantasy midfielder... 2055-2077.

Injury and fatality in sports is not too uncommon.  Not only do they often have inherent dangers from strain and physical contact, athletes have these short shelf-lives where they peak and battle time as much as any opponent or advesary.

When Meta Olympia was first conceived, these notions were factored into the profile of players.  It's a probability-based world, so anything is possible and one event can, invariably, lead to another; and everything in the fake world subscribes to these rules of fate.

Recently, the simulator spat out an insanely aggressive week of play, week 20 in the MAFL.  12 injuries across 4 matches with a full range of severity.  For the really bad ones, we decided create formulas that helped define the injury and how it would play out, like whether it gets better or worse and when a player is fit to return to play.  In the case of the Comets vs Immortals match, however, Yamen Warren was involved in an incident with 9-rated injury.  It isn't a 'death' score, which is also possible in the Simulator, but 9 certainly up there.  So much so, we couldn't leave it as just a generic duration of incapacitation.

With a little research on head injuries, factoring in this is the future with more advanced medical services and  also recognizing that colony conditions, though good, less akin to metropolitan hospitals of Earth, we came up with a probability for death which was higher on the first few days and then the risk rapidly trailed off due to the miracles of medical science.

Rolled the dice...  virtual gods gave him a thumbs down: Death.

Wow, really?  As an editor, I wondered, is this a good thing?  This would mean scratching a player off the roster that I invested in generating and having an artist illustrate his headshot?  Do I really want this to happen?

Well, the whole ethos of this project was built around non-deterministic outcomes.  It was about finding out if fake news could be legitimate and somehow meaningful news.  Believing in this, the results are king, so Yamen died with the works; full-blown sobbing parents and a league reacting by postponing the season's final matches, and funeral processions. 

It was pretty weird in our little virtual newsroom.  Many of our contributors remarked how 'sad' this was and if it really even happened.  Weird, indeed... it's not real.  But that we don't control it makes it something a little more convincingly real than had it been a subjective decision.   

We are all spectators to the Meta Olympia world.

It is moments like this where I feel some kind of validation that this could, indeed work, that if the parameters are set just right, stories are born on their own and our job is to nurture them..

The Meta Olympia experiment plays on, one day at a time, 60 years in the future.