MMO anime series seem to be popular in this day and age (namely this year), what with both Sword Art Online and Log Horizon being very popular hits here and in Japan. In both of these series we have a populace of "real" people being trapped in an MMO RPG and having to survive or thrive in this world. In both of these series, we do see that the people in these predicaments often take the world as fake, but as time rolls on we do notice that they start treating it as real, through events of the story. However, how they do it is rather interesting
Now, I'm sorry because I am only a casual knower of things when it comes to Sword Art Online. I know the basic premise (which is unnecessary at this specific point) and this. Real people who die in the game, die in real life. How Freddie Krueger of them. The main interesting point that I can see here is the fact that death is real. That is the anchor of reality, no matter what you think about this world, that is the anchor tying you down to reality in this world. So, does death itself create reality? That being in a world at one point and gone the next is the formation of an undeniable truth or is it merely a virtual world that kills the real you. The world may be false but the consequences in it is oh so true.
The series that really has my love is Log Horizon, mostly because they treat the worlds as both false and real. The characters within the show know that they are in a MMO, and they pertain to the rules of the game, but when they realize that they are stuck within the world, they are unable to treat it as a game, because this is going to be their real world for a while, which is interesting because we never see the real world in Log Horizon (at least to the point where I am at) and thus this world is real to us. There is no duplicate world and there is no "realness," we merely see the characters as they are inhabiting in a fake world turning real, both through their actions and the actions of the game itself.
Other than treating the world with respect, the characters also realize that cooking real, crafting real and creating a government that real is crucial to thriving in this game. Unlike SAO, Log Horizon doesn't have physical deaths and thus the realness comes from the characters views. So, making these discoveries makes the world real to them. They are treating it as real and they are noticing that the world itself is making itself real by the introduction of consciousness into the "People of the Land" (as they are called). Who are actually interacting with the characters in non-scripted ways and have conscious thoughts about what the player characters are doing.
All these things alone would add up to some form of reality, but adding them together makes me question if a world similar to Log Horizon or Sword Art Online would be "real," or would it still be a copy of reality even after the fact. What do you guys think, give me your reasoning why their worlds are or are not real (cite your sources).