Minutia in the Machine

VirginWorlds had an interesting post entitled: “What makes us go Ding? Part 1 – Minutia in the Machine.

“…one thing that can be said without a doubt is that an enormous group of gamers has latched onto the MMOG model and isn’t letting go. More and more frequently, massively multiplayer online games are said to be far more than a casual diversion and are more akin to a lifestyle, a social outlet, and a massive project that is always underway. Due to the lack of winning conditions, the incredible depth of content, and the person to person relationships, no other kind of game commands a greater share of our time, our minds, and our emotions. Put aside that elaborate but shallow assessment and you will find that at the core of these games there are a handful of simple features that cause us all to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours immersed in these virgin worlds rather than the handful of hours we spend in other games, at the movies, or watching TV.”

It’s difficult to explain the attraction, to explain to non-gamers why you would spend hours and hours of free time (and not-so-free time, to be completely honest) in a virtual world. This is why I find MMORPGs to be so fascinating, and why I am dying for the chance to design my own.

I hate to tell you how many hours we spend playing every week. It’s not like being a drug addict; it hasn’t adversely affected job or relationship. I still ride almost every day. Does the housework still get done? Sometimes. Does it replace other activities such as watching TV? Definitely…and in a world of pap programming such as Big Brother and clones, house buying or decorating shows, and other reality-based drivel, that’s not such a bad thing. We still watch My Name is Earl, Lost, Invasion, Green Wing and other favourites, but we allocate TV time to only the shows that matter. I still read…just not as much (which has done wonders for my pocketbook).

Yes, it’s a big part of our lives. But it’s an active, mentally stimulating experience that involves other people…not a passive, non-creative experience. It’s healthy and enriching.

The future of the MMORPG experience will be very interesting to watch, and be part of.



2 thoughts on “Minutia in the Machine”

  • absolutely. Since “discovering” EVE-online I have massively cut down on what tv I watch, so much so that I could question whether I actually need one or would be better served by buying the DVD-of-the-series instead (which I will probably do anyway at some point). I like to think it has made my mind more active (and I’ve not used a calculator so much as since I was at school!) Although there are some days where I’ll hardly be IG at all, on other days it might be 12-16 hours …

  • We’ve done the same thing. We’re watching little TV, and have started renting series from Amazon, such as Hex and L Word. No loss there – there’s too much mindless crap on TV. I would rather be using my mind (and you definitely do that in this type of game) actively, rather than having something fed to me in a completely passive manner.

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