The Truth Behind Online Gaming is Not Found in this Weeks Articles

What the Man Believes
Huizinga’s article, “Nature and Significange of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon,” is was pointless. He tries to argue some interesting points, among them the philosophical point behind play and that religious ceremonies are an intricate form of dress-up/make believe, but he ruins the article with a single sentence. “We are hovering over spheres of thought barely accessible either to psychology or to philosophy,” if those two fields can’t begin to expain this phenomenon, what makes Huizinga (a historian) able to explain it? He invalidates the entire essay with that sentence.

Pine and Gilmore’s article (“Welcome to the Experience Economy”) is interesting but it doesn’t mention online gaming at all. Its very possible that our economic base has shifted to a fourth level because we want to sell people experiences. Their theory makes sense. Well it makes sense to this untrained, only did so-so in college economics. (Remember the Lewis Black sketch from Black on Broadway: I took economics, and I’d explain it to yea’… but I flunked that course. Not my fault. They taught it at 8 o’clock in the morning. And there is absolute nothing that you can learn out of one bloodshot eye.” My college picked 8AM for economics too.)

Hinton’s article (“We Live Here: Games, Third Places and the Information Architecture of the Future”) was the only one that mentioned online gaming at all, and that was a self-serving attempt to draw in readers to read about his profession. But I’ll accept his “third place” theory as truth. I find it very believable that the physical hang out places are being replaced by virtual places online.

What I Think People Should Know
There are two types of online games: persistent worlds and random encounters. Persisent worlds are (for lack of a better word) permanent. Each time you log-in you have the same character in the same world. Generally the point of these games are to build up a character over an extended number of sessions. World of Warcraft is the biggest of these games. Random encounters are games like Quake. They exist online for so that people can play against each other. Each time you log-in its a different place and the characters are static.

I don’t view Second Life as a game. Second Life is the closest thing was have to a truly virtual world. People do business there, they make things, they meet people, its really more of a tool than a game. I’ve read a lot about it and I rarely encountered things where people say they “play” it, instead they enter Second Life.

Massively multiplayer online games don’t have to involve large amounts of social interaction. I play World of Warcraft with my two best friends in New York. The only time I chat with people other than them is to tell them to answer a really quick question or to tell someone to go away. I don’t think this takes away from the game at all.

Online games has their own language. I don’t want to understand it, but I catch snippets. I think words like “pwnage,” “leet” and “zomg!” represent the decline of the English langauage.

Playing video games is not a religious experience. For those who think it is, I suggest you walk away from the the computer/tv and go outside. Leave the Game Boy, PSP and laptop indoors.

Games are an experience. Something I was just reading put it like this “games put the player on a stage where the player is the only one without a script.” We play games because something draws us too the game and makes us want to play it. We want to experience the game. This is nothing different than wanting to experience the latest book, movie, cd, play or anything else cultural.

For a lot of people games are the new culturally relevant events. I will always remember certain video games for their impact on my life and I know a lot of people that feel the same way. My friends and I talk about games like they were real events, but people do that same thing with tv shows. Remember reading about the massive lines of people waiting for the latest Xbox/Nintendo/Playstation? When did people preorder the last Harry Potter book?

I guess I just want people to keep an open mind on gaming. Its here to stay and its a lot of fun.

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2 Comments

  1. exploringinteractivecommunication said,

    October 23, 2007 at 2:08 am

    If you think gaming should be fun and exciting and kept the same way it is then why do you think people keep on changing the concepts of the game? Where is the fun in that?

  2. jadimauro said,

    October 25, 2007 at 2:48 am

    I like your description of the two different types of games, I think it is really dead on and I think the problem with this weeks articles is that the people writing them don’t really seemed to have played the games.


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