Prolonged exposure to VR headsets.

I am currently trying to write down the ideas for various books.
The reason being that I am going to focus my education on the act of writing literature. (Do not fear, I will focus on English as well, so you won’t cringe every time I write here.)
Now that we are over with that, I would like to know what the effects of being exposed to using a vr (virtual reality) headset, in say, possibly one, two, or three years, as being unable to take it off.
Even if hospitals were able to keep you alive, would there be any adverse side effects, or something of that nature?

Edit: also I ask this question, as I assume it is different from a comatose, as I looked up on this board on the effects of said thing, however I imagine it is different.

I remember an episode of Red Dwarf where they were ‘plugged in’ (using electrodes rather than headsets) to a game called “Better than Life.” In essence they became part of a VR world where they could do and be pretty much anything they wanted. Better Than Life (game) | Tongue Tied | Fandom

The game has apparently been outlawed because one plugged in, people would starve (or more likely dehydrate) to death, since VR food and drink doesn’t work.

I imagine that in the situation you describe, the patient would be totally delusional and live only in the VR world, while being kept alive medically.

BTL required the user to wilfully exit the game. If they didn’t they didn’t leave, so it was even more insidious.

A C Clarke’s The Lion of Comarre holds a similar idea, however in this the users/dreamers were kept alive by the surrounding AI based robotic city. One user was woken, and was convinced they had been suddenly afflicted with a terrible delusion/halucinations - they had been in the system for so long. One that had not been inside for so long simply demanded to be allowed to go back to the dreaming.

The other obvious fictional view is The Matrix. Snow Crash provides an interesting intermediate view of what might be possible.

But we really have no idea what the answer is. But given the plasticity of the mind, it is probably reasonable to imagine that some so immersed for a long time could be basically insane if they left. Much would depend upon the nature of the virtual reality. In VR land you could have arbitrary super powers. Leaving that behind might be expected to be rather more traumatic than leaving behind what amounts to little more than an extended holiday.

Oh darn, I was thinking it was going to be a pre-teen or teen novel!
I liked the idea of an mmorpg where the players could not log out, due to that feature being removed, and having something forcing the user to keep the headset on. So I guess my question would be more around the lines of, would they be weak after the fact, or would they still be able to move, and think straight, or if they would get brain damage.
Sorry for not being clear.

Nobody is forcing the players, but the situation is also explored in Ready Player One, including how does the protagonist deal with the possible medical problems.

I think far from VR being a temporary escapist fantasy forevermore I think it’s just a matter of time before the human race spends most of their time in such environments.

Because, firstly, a virtual world could ultimately be more varied than the real world, once you have thousands of humans / AI generating content for it.
It will ultimately feel more real than the real world – if we have direct neural implants, then one could generate vision, for example, much clearer than is possible by focusing light on to a retina.

And there is no reason why virtual worlds cannot be social, and you couldn’t do your job or whatever from within there.

Put all this together and you could imagine a time where we spend most of the time hooked up, and periodically when we need to log out, we’ll find the human body torturously sluggish and with poor senses of a pretty boring world. Less going on than most virtual worlds, but not as peaceful as the chillout worlds.

My daughter spent part of last summer binge watching some shitty anime that had just about exactly this plot. Can’t remember the title…

Since this requires speculation, let’s move it to IMHO.

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It’s called Sword Art Online and yes, it isn’t very good. I haven’t watched it myself so I’m not sure exactly how they handle their real life bodies (if I remember a summary right, one was in the hospital for something unrelated anyway?)

One thing is, if they’re not moving their real-life bodies they’ll end up with bedsores and muscle atrophy. Eventually they will be unable to walk or perform daily tasks due to nonuse of their bodies. They would have a lot of physical therapy recovery in front of them when they come out of a stationary VR experience of a few years. This isn’t even talking about the possibility of simply forgetting the real world, or having an acute mental shock from being taken out of VR that could give them any number of temporary to permanent psychological effects (blindness, deafness, etc, like conversion disorder).

It has already been done? Darn.
Thanks for the help anyway.

So? If “it’s already been done” was an objection, Shakespeare wouldn’t have done a lick and Lope would have gotten stuck by his 200th piece or so… Then again, we would have been saved from thousands of horrible romance novels, which is a definite plus.

Yeah, the plot device of “if you die in the game, you die in real life” or “you have lived your whole life in VR and don’t know what the real world is like” or “you are trapped in VR. How do you get out?” have all already been done before. But they’re so simple a concept that there should be nothing stopping you from doing your own take on the subject. After all, it’s all been done before. “Heroic last stand at a narrow pass”, “He’s kind of a jerk at first, but her love makes him whole again”, and “Superhero wrestles with the reality of power and responsibility” as examples, have been done hundreds (thousands!) of times but they still keep making more stories about those subjects, no problem. So don’t let it stop you. If we did, nobody would write anything. Your personal take on a story is what matters.

Tad Williams Otherland series is the best I’ve seen on VR worlds. The series is very good despite the fact that Williams understanding of how tech would evolve is for shit.

This theme is also explored in Book 4 of the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale - “The Reality Bug” - that takes place on the planet Veelox. I don’t remember the details, it has been a long time.

There are actually several traditionally published western novels, hundreds of East Asian web / light novels and probably of fan fictions similar to what you’re describing.

There’s a growing genre called LitRPG featuring protagonists who are playing video games, often VR.

Some examples… Ready Player One, Play to Live, , Best Rated | Royal Road , in descending order of quality.

The topic has been covered in a number of media. In addition to the ones already mentioned:
-Ghost in the Shell (anime / films / manga)
-South Park (S18,E7: Grounded Vindaloop)
-Futurama (S2,E13 A Biclops Built for Two)
-Strange Days
-Johnny Mnemonic
-The Thirteenth Floor
-Tron films
-The Repo Men
-Total Recall
-Dark City
-The Signal
-The Truman Show
-Star Trek: TNG

The factual answer is “no one knows” because a) no one has been plugged into a VR device for years and b) no existing VR device is capable of simulating reality such that you can’t tell the difference.
But based on the various fictional accounts, possible affects are:
-Inability to tell the difference between “reality” and “VR” (probably less so if you know you don’t have superpowers in real live…harder if you do;) )
-Starving/dehydrating if your physical needs aren’t taken care
-General physical atrophy
-Addiction to the VR world over the real one
-General paranoia about what is “real” and what is “fabricated”
-Depression / anxiety
-Difficulty developing relationships with others
-Memory loss
-Memory gain
-Death (if your particular VR rules mean you die in RL too…which sort of defeats the purpose of VR IMHO)
-PTSD (if your particular VR rules mean you don’t die in RL)
-Delusions of grandeur
-Messiah complex