Experiences on the Front Lines of User Interfaces and Web Development

A Life Worth Living?

People do stupid things. People make stupid choices. I of course am one of them. But tonight I would like to focus on people that choose to devote their lives to a video game. An article on several gaming websites (http://www.pro-g.co.uk/news/17-01-2007-4522.html) talks about how a guy slept from 2pm to 10pm the night before World of Warcraft's expansion game was released at midnight. He then proceeded to play for 28 straight hours without stopping. I suppose he stopped for bathroom breaks, perhaps some food in between mouse clicks. The sad part is, he had about 35 other people helping him in a quest to reach the highest rank in the game. He got that rank after 28 hours. The game had been released for barely over a day, and already someone was able to conquer it. It took planning, team work, and lots of time and determination.

But for what? What does a level 70 mage character get you in real life? Besides perhaps some cash if you decide to sell it (which is a whole other topic I get go on about), it get's you nothing! Think of the coordination and resources that were used for this guy to get that level. What if those efforts were focused towards something productive, something that would help others out? This massive online gaming community doesn't do any good for the needy, the poor, the hungry. If half of the people that log on and move animated pixels around the screen would all stop and for one day put a collaborative effort into helping out society, can you imagine the results?

Why doesn't this happen? Why is it so much more tempting to play an online game, than to hang out with real friends in real life? Why devote 28 straight hours (or 53 straight hours, in the case of the young man that died while playing Starcraft in Korea last year) of your life to such a thing? It's addicting, for one thing. It's a community, which in this modern age seems to be lacking in most people's lives. It's a challenge, to conquer evil, to beat other players, to see what you can achieve. If people were offered guaranteed community in a place where everyone shares the same desire, much like in a MMORG, I wonder if people would flock to it. Does this world crave acceptance and community? Can't we channel that desire, that need, into a more productive and worthwhile community? One that fights together against evil, but not monsters with huge amounts of hit points, rather the kids going hungry in third-world countries, the genocide and civil wars going on, and the homeless that have no where to go.
comments powered by Disqus