Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I'm Such A Geek

It's a bizarre manner of getting from Point A to Point Z, but I -myself- am strange and unusual, so this is another interim, which won't address the manner of video games which I've been spending copious amounts of time playing, lately, in my unemployed state. However, it does have to do with video games, and -at this rate- I'm never going to get around to talking about movies again. Actually, I will, but that'll be when I summon the rage that was my reaction to the movie Identity. Fucking Mangold, bastard.

Anyway, somehow I went from reading about Peter Molyneux's next opus, The Movies, which is actually going to be a video game about making movies, from the creator of Black & White, which wasn't much of a game beyond the Tamagotchi-factor. From there, I ended up reading about a guy who got banned from The Sims Online (which I'd always regarded as a glorified chat-room), because... well, it's retarded, the actual reason, but it pointed me to the Alphaville Herald, which is essentially a blog that reports upon the seedy underbelly of a Sims Online community known as Alphaville.

It's totally fucked up. For example, here is an article about a girl -who actually turns out to be an adolescent guy in real life- who runs a series of brothels or some such thing. ... In a game in which the closest you can get to actual sex is talking about it. Now, that struck me as being completely and utterly fucked-up beyond all recognition (actually, genuinely fucked-up, not a shameless plug for FUBAR). Anyway, it got me thinking about how much I detest people who play these games like Everquest and such, where that's all they do, and then they just eBay out the stuff they picked up in-game, to sell for actual real-world cash.

It's no longer virtual-reality, folks. It's emergent reality, and the line between you and the Matrix has just been blurred that much more. Me, I think it's sick that there are people who can buy groceries and pay their rent by playing these games, but that's mainly, well, because I'm not one of them.

My fascination with this stuff, I guess, goes back to about ten years ago when I was playing this text-based sci-fi game called Hemlock. Why it was called that is completely beyond me, but there were about a hundred registered (and most of us were certifiably insane) players, and it made for a nice little community. Basically, it was small, it was persistent, and there was someone to hang out and play with at all hours of the night. Since the player-base was so small, you actually felt like an important member of the community, which is a feeling that gets utterly lost in Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, et cetera. I'd pay $12.95 a month to play that text-based game again, but not any of these new ones. They're just not personal enough.

Which then brings me to Second Life, which seems fairly interesting, if not all that graphically pretty. On its face, it seems a lot like The Sims Online, but without Big Bad Electronic Arts running the show. I'm tempted to give it a whirl, but I don't have broadband at my house (which it basically needs), and my friend's computer is stuck with a six-gigabyte hard drive right now, since he somehow destroyed his thirty-gig over the course of the last week. I don't know how, but he did, and at first he thought it was a stick of RAM that was causing his problems, so he threw it against a wall, which ran him back another sixty bucks to replace. Dumbass. Anyway, for lack of storage on his computer, I can't really try it out. But I want to.

So, after a couple more clicks of the mouse, I ended up at Terra Nova, which is a blog site about this Emergent Reality sort of thing. I'm a geek, so I started reading this stuff, and I figured it was worth throwing a link to, even though maybe three people a day read my site, and two of those are probably completely and totally accidental. Terra Nova doesn't read as that geeky a thing, but more like a commentary on the geekiness of the Massively Multiplayer arena. For those of you who have never tried these games, even the commentary probably reads like stereo instructions. I especially enjoyed the commentary on inflation in Everquest, basically because I'd like nothing more than to tell people who make money by playing these games to go jump in a lake. Note that I mean a real lake; not one of those in-game ones where you might get attacked by a Level 22 Kraken or something.

I'm just going to stop now, because I hate my friend's keyboard. I doubt that I'll comment further on this particular issue unless I read something fairly humorous.

AIM: therbmcc71
ICQ, MSN, Yahoo: Yeah, right, like I use those.

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