Monday, May 3, 2010

WoW, Where has the Time Gone?

So I used to have an interesting roommate. This was a kid who was captain of the geek squad. No exaggeration; he had failed to leave his room longer than five minutes.

Since the day he moved in he had worn the same ragged red T-shirt and olive green khaki shorts. To my knowledge, the guy lived off caffeinated soda and chicken fingers. As I passed his room every day I would poke my head in to see what kept him glued to his computer screen. I don’t even think he noticed that I dropped in, he was so captivated by the game he played. 

After a few days of poking and prodding I finally found out what kept him kicked out of socialistic reality. It’s a game called “World of Warcraft.”
Now forgive my ignorance when it comes to the culture of video gaming. Growing up in a communist household I was banned from anything Nintendo-related. Mario and Luigi were about as welcome as the KKK in my home. So when as a sophomore on campus I was invited to a “Halo” party, my interpretation of it was far skewed than what it actually was. The idea of a throng of college-aged guys loaded up on Mountain Dew and gummy worms playing a first-person shooter game into the next day for some reason didn’t appeal to me. 

However, video-gaming has continued to grow and take over the digital and fantasy worlds in this day and age, especially the game “World of Warcraft.” From what I’ve heard this is a game that is the cat’s meow when it comes to RPGs. (For the latecomer, that stands for role playing game. It’s OK; I had to look that up just for this blog.) Apparently the makers of the game envisioned it to be one of the most successful games ever created with the hopes of possibly 1 million gamers registered for it. Now that’s one heck of a lot of time sitting on your butt glued to a TV or computer screen.

A buddy of mine said it appeals to gamers for specific reasons. 
“The reason that I like it so much is the fact that it is such a realistic game,” he said. “Yeah, it’s based in a fantasy world, but it is so actual that you really feel like you are in the game.” 

Realistic, I can buy that. I can see what he means. I mean, I’m usually casting spells on a three-headed dragon all while riding a winged griffin across a purple sea on campus. Realistic? Yeah, I see where you’re coming from. 

Going along with this “real-live” action-packed, digitally-created world is the online version of the world that is beginning to be a trend all over, where each person can create what are called Avatars (not the nine-foot tall James Cameron alien creatures) and then live a real-live simulated life online. 
The thing that gets me the most is that you pay actual money to be involved in this. Say you want a new digital car: It could cost you about $25-40. If you’re looking to up your appearance as a female, throw down around $125 for a J-Lo body, full digital D cups and all.

The thing that is most outrageous to me is the idea of purchasing online real estate, which people do. The fact that someone is paying real, bona fide, hard-earned cash for a group of ones and zeroes online organized as imitation Internet real estate is a joke. 

That same game-addicted buddy said: “I had a buddy of mine in high school who actually spent about $250 a month on this kind of stuff. He had no life except for the Avatar and digital world that he created for himself.”

Am I wrong to think that video games are making a pathetic attempt at taking over the world? Well, at least the online and video game world currently. In reading this, are a bunch of die-hard avid gamers going to create an Avatar for me and then torture me digitally until I admit that being a gamer is truly an ideal lifestyle? I’m shaking. That’s OK, though, I just bought a double-headed battle axe and a magic staff with invisibility powers for $30 each online, so bring it on…

What do you think?


  1. I would have put $100 down that "RPG" was the military acronym for "Rocket Propelled Grenade" but then again, I am just some silly redneck from Idaho :) Good article. I wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Brock, I LOVE your writing. You have a gift.

  3. Why do you this, so hard to read. I already can't read good, and then you do this.

  4. I think you're absolutely right. Some people turn to gaming as an escape from life. These same individuals may be socially inept or awkward and therefore turn to an alternate world where jobs and appearances don't matter. It is a place in which one can make friends be flashy and feel "welcome." Perhaps the best thing you can do is invite the person to be part of reality?