Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Snowly: Requiescat In Pace

The Metro, ever-bountiful source of vaguely comical or bizzare stories to keep me bemused on my journey to work, has yet again come up trumps. Today I read about a young Chinese girl who had died after a marathon session playing one of those massively multi-player, online computer games. Extraordinarily, her fellow gamers then held a virtual funeral for her character, Snowly, at which they each took turns to eulogise her.

Now, I'm not so silly as to think that that 'to die after doing something' is exchangable with 'to die because of doing something'. There are millions of high-intensity players on these games and so I suppose the possibility exists that one of them might die whilst involved in it. Instead, what I find amazing is that people were able to bond suffisciently in playing that they felt they knew this character enough to want to mourn her death. Moreover, that the game is complex enough to permit its users to mimick the social rites surrounding death within the game is simply staggering. These would seem to be true virtual worlds, and I suppose it is scarcely surprising that people get caught up in their intricacies. The tasks that have been created to challenge gamers are no longer amenable to completion by a single player on his own. With teamwork a prerequisite to success, the players are reliant on pacts, themselves the product of complex social interactions. By extension, this demands huge chunks of time to be devoted to the game - chunks of time not dissimilar to those one might expect to spend at work. Since one must work to be able to afford to play the game, I can only summise that the these chunks of time are what would otherwise be devoted to 'real' social interaction or sleep. Either way that does not a sound particularly healthy exchange and it's no small wonder, therefore, that the Chinese government is planning to pass a law forcing software companies to build in limits on how long a someone can spend playing their game. I suppose the one counter point here is that for some people the game may constitute their only social outlet and their fellow gamers their only true friends. It's a tragic thought that leads me to wonder whether it could be that more people attended Snowly's virtual funeral than attended her 'real' one?


Blogger Jessie said...

well, thank you so much for the english lesson/comment. i really see no point to using punctuation when the only eyes im aware of reading it are my own. and i dont mind, so why should it matter? besides, i type as i think it, and so you have to add that into the equation.

who are you, anyway? do you usually go around commenting on random journals? i almost feel violated. but not really. it wasnt half as bad as penis enhancement or people trying to sell me things, being that i dont have a penis. or money.

8:48 pm  

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