An entire experience designed as an altered reality. Sounds like science fiction, but drop yourself into Las Vegas and you will likely see the world from a new perspective. The full bombardment of your senses is real but nothing around you really is. You feel real marble inside palaces meant to emulate palaces in Rome. You walk under the Eiffel Tower to enter a casino and look up to see painted clouds. In this case the opposite of real isn’t fake, but rather recreated reality that defines the Las Vegas experience.

Consider the experience of visiting Paris, France, and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, touching the metal, smelling the grass, seeing the views. That experience isn’t trademarked, patented or protected in any form, to my knowledge. Now, when you consider an average American’s chance to walk under the “real” Eiffel Tower, the Las Vegas recreated version may inspire a visit to the real cultural icon in Paris. But, more likely it offers an alternative reality and what you’ve seen is your new reality. “Why go see the real Eiffel Tower when we’ve seen it in Las Vegas.” Does this equate to eating at a French restaurant makes you want to visit France? Maybe. But when does the altered reality become the new reality? When does a copy of an experience like the Eiffel Tower have an impact on how many people visit France? Or alternatively, if a replica of the Statue of Liberty existed in Tokyo, Japan, how would that impact travels to New York ? 

The design of experiences has been happening since the beginning of time, sometimes thoughtfully and others not as much. And, those that become iconic are often replicated by others. The Eiffel Tower is one of many modern examples. The Eiffel Tower is a designed experience and should offer certain rights and protections. Although authenticity can be felt by any average individual, there is a point where an altered reality impacts what is real. It would be a sad day when someone believes they’ve visited the Eiffel Tower after leaving the desert of Nevada.

No disrespect to the City of Las Vegas, you certainly have it going on, and I have seen your share of attempts by others to replicate the Vegas experience elsewhere.

Take a guess which version of the Eiffel Tower you are looking at here.

The experience of Las Vegas: What was your last memory of a family vacation?

Aaron Keller, Capsule