Game for a laugh

FIFA 19, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 are all video games. Anyone with teenage children will already have known that as will lots of middle-aged blokes who should know better. Let's presume the FIFA one is about football; that leaves us with the other two. My best guess is that they involve lots of shooting and, erm, well a bit more shooting probably.

Anyway, in the UK gaming sales - largely driven by these three beauties - have made it an industry worth 3.86 billion pounds according to recent reports which is more than music and video combined.

This seems like a surprising statistic at first glance and then you remember the last time anyone bought a record they paid for it with guineas or florins or something so even the tai chi meditation comfort leggings business is worth more than music is these days. Still, 3.86 billion pounds is a hefty amount and is certainly keeping swathes of frenetic thumbs busy on IKEA sofas up and down the land.

I've never played a video game in earnest unless you count that tennis one from the nineteen eighties where the objective was not to let the bouncing dot past your 'player' i.e. a moveable short white line. It was quite good fun as I recall but I suspect that if a fan of Call Of Red Redemption Black Ops Head 4 was presented with it on Christmas day they might become inclined to some real life violence and bash the giver over the bonce with a turkey drumstick.

Where will it all end? Well, surely something involving holograms will be the next big thing. This means that in the not too distant future, you'll be able to play football at Wembley and nutmeg a flailing Sergio Ramos just outside the box before rifling home a last gasp winner, all from the comfort of your own kitchen in Barnsley.

The line between reality and virtual reality is becoming ever more blurred in our quest for new - to use the buzz word of our times - 'experiences'.

The question is how much further we're prepared to take all of this and what the consequences of the whole process might be.

Meanwhile, I'm still not convinced that a virtual cup final alongside Lionel Messi at the Bernabéu is a much more worthwhile 'experience' than a game of KerPlunk with your annoying little sister.