In the luxury theme park that is “Westworld,” real humans interact with very human-like robots in what is essentially a massive game world. The world actually exists, of course, but many of its humanoid robots are mere playthings for the human guests.
It’s only “real” in the sense that you’re physically present — “Westworld” is otherwise a big video game, including quests and non-player characters and a sprawling open-world environment.
While we’re not quite there just yet in terms of modern technology, games like the upcoming “Wild West Online” offer a taste of what such a world might offer. You create your very own cowboy or cowgirl, and venture into the (virtual) Wild West alongside other human players.
In the game’s massive open environment you’ll find towns full of people living on the frontier, bandits up to no good, stores to buy clothing and weapons in, and — naturally — plenty of whiskey to drink.
“Wild West Online” is an MMO, which means it can only be played online with other live players.
Every time you turn it on, you’re automatically joining a server full of other actual people. Those people might be friends, joining up with you to take down a bandit; those people might also be hostile, so watch your back.
The game is far from complete at this point, but it’s available in what is called “Early Access” — a way to fund a game in progress, guarantee a copy when it is finished, and play it immediately. You can snag it for as low as $US19.99, or get even more stuff if you shell out $US59.99.
But before you do any of that, check it out in action right here: