January 20, 2011
Read; weep. Nothing to add.
World of Warcraft is definitely not for someone facing the end of three decades of marriage. Yet I am all of these things as well as a Darkspear Troll mage, with my home in the Barren Lands, a savanna populated with livid pink T-Rexes who wear blue necklaces and matching earrings. I am Level 21 (out of 70), just high enough to get out of the newbie playpen and die suddenly as I stray past cave bears or mega-spiders. /snip/
In many ways, “WoW” was weirdly evocative of what I faced in life. I was newly alone and, like my avatar, dependent on the skills I had, not the ones I wished for. At each turn, I seemed to be facing new dangers. Often, I died. But I rose again and again, finding within myself a bedrock strength that even this calamity did not erase.
My son and I learned “WoW” together. While he commandeered the keyboard, I sat beside him, to help him choose a path…My son has a generous, intuitive spirit. Though I’ve done my best to seem normal, like a weather vane he reads my moods. For weeks, I walked like the Undead through the routines of family life. I felt as gaping as the creatures in Undercity, a “WoW” metropolis, with their chests ripped open to expose neon-colored hearts….Then my son would invite me to play, his voice shiny with intentional cheer. I would find myself with his arm curled around my neck like the tenderest, toughest vine. His fear of what was happening to us moored me to earth. The end of love is a voyage to an unknown land, with mysteries and dangers that I had to learn to navigate…
So here are my “WoW” lessons, thanks to my son:…
Nope, sorry! Click here to behold Robin Kirk’s amazing essay in its full, gory, glory.
November 23, 2010
We enjoyed this ruefully sweet essay by Sofi Papamarko in today’s Salon.com, in which she gets sucked into The Sims as an alternative to her — she felt — stalled single universe, which appeared to be late in delivering her standard coupled-up fantasies:
It is impossible to overstate how astonishingly easily my dream life came to me, how addictively its rewards added up. At the beginning of the game, for instance, I was given a charming little house in a nice neighborhood. Given! It was handed to me! I didn’t have to scrimp or save or deal with real estate agents or even apply for a mortgage! Landing a terrific job was as easy as showing up to the town hall in a pair of tight leather pants. I told my boss a couple of jokes and was instantly rewarded with a promotion and a healthy raise. In real life, my neglected tomatoes wither on the vine, despite my best intentions. In the game, I harvested huge, succulent crops after watering them no more than twice. I became a master angler and a gourmet cook, whipping up red snapper and catfish gumbo as if I were the secret love child of Nigella Lawson and Bobby Flay. Everything was easy.
And then I met Walter.
Ooh! Read the rest to find out how virtual Walter — and Bernie, and Jack — help Sofi discover that her reality is pretty fantastic, after all.
March 31, 2010
This idea, as it turns out, is maybe not as good as it first sounds. (It sounds good enough, in fact, that apparently user demand has shut down the site for at least two days going.)
[GameCrush is] an entirely new interactive social gaming experience allowing gamers to meet, match and pay to play online games with other users (PlayDates). GameCrush is the only online service that allows gamers to choose a companion to spice up their favorite online games. Both Players and PlayDates define the experience they want- either “flirty” or “dirty”, choosing from some of the most popular console titles and casual web-based games.
On GameCrush, players can find their perfect PlayDate through browsing their profiles and chatting live with them. Players can then purchase a live one-on-one private gaming session, complete with two-way video and text chat.
OK, skipping over the “flirty or dirty” part — I mean, how many of us ignore red flags at the outset? — it seems kind of genius: meet and get specifically match-made, with someone with similar interests, while doing exactly the thing that in some cases, um, keeps you from getting matchmade! But, as Postbourgie.com notes, it’s not quite that innocent: “On GameCrush the Players are male and the PlayDates are female. There are about 1200 profiles registered thus far of women recruited using (you guessed it!) a Craigslist ad. They’re also paid. Each PlayDate keeps 60% of the cash she earns. Players can also rate their PlayDates:
After a session you can rate your PlayDate on her hotness, gaming skill, and flirtiness. The highest-rated girls will receive preferred placement on the site. GameCrush is assembling a team of its most highly regarded PlayDates called JaneCrush, which would be positioned similar to Ubisoft’s Fragdolls in that members of JaneCrush will generate content for the site like blogs and editorials.
Hooookay. now it’s starting to sound a bit more like GameGeisha. Postbourgie continues: “It seems like it has the potential to walk the line between being a relatively innocuous social service to something a bit more…distasteful…For the most part the PlayDates are just girls who want to play and get paid and guys who want to flirt with an attractive girl while enjoying a game. And as my blogmate R.A.B pointed out, if this had existed 10 years ago he would have been a much more happy and well-adjusted adolescent, so the benefits may outweigh the possible pitfalls. Even so, I can’t help but wonder when Rule 31 and Rule 34 are going to kick in and it all devolves into ‘Show me ur b00bs! </fap fap fap>’. Is everything all good or am I just being hypervigilant and seeing possibilities for sexism and general ickyness where there are none?”
Echoing one of Postbourgie’s commenters, I’d say, option C: Seeing possibilities for sexism and general ickyness…right where they are.
March 30, 2009
Ask Lynn, Breakup Girl’s alter ego’s advice column at MSN.com (powered by Match.com), is now being updated monthly rather than weekly, so now you’ll get two new letters each month…
1. Warhammer Widow feels like she comes in second to her beau’s gaming — but then, so does paying his car insurance. Eeep!
2. Confused and Hurt, who is not a virgin herself, has a boyfriend who said he was. That is, until he finally admitted that she wasn’t his first. This is both confusing (why lie?) and hurtful (the lies!).
October 28, 2008
You may have heard that virtual gaming worlds can engender real-life economies. As it turns out, virtual breakups — and, more to the point, virtual revenge — may also have real-world consequences. As PC World/The Washington Post reports:
The line between virtual reality and its flesh-and-blood cousin blurred a little this week as a 43-year-old Tokyo woman was jailed for murdering her virtual ex-husband’s* avatar.
After she suddenly found herself divorced in “MapleStory,” a popular 2-D side scrolling MMORPG, the unidentified woman used her ex-husband’s ID and password [which, the AP notes, she had gotten from him when all was well in both worlds] to log into the game and kill him off. Call it Death by Deletion.
When the man discovered his beloved avatar was gone, he contacted authorities, which led to the woman’s arrest. “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning,” the woman told investigators. “That made me so angry.” The AP reports that the woman had no intention to carry out violence in reality.
The charges are “illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data,” which carries a sentence of up to five years in jail or a fine up to $5,000.
I’m not saying anyone’s justified in killing anyone, except perhaps a Pirate Octopus. But yeah, before you dump someone — anywhere — it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a talk. No man, after all, is a Maple Island.
*From Wikipedia: “Players may participate in in-game marriages at the town of Amoria. Guests may be invited to the wedding, and the marrying couple will receive wedding ring items. The wedding ‘ceremony’ requires the completion of various quests. If a premium wedding ticket from the Cash Shop was purchased, the player is entitled to have a party after the ceremony. In Amoria Dungeon, players can fight exclusive monsters. The KoreaMS version of Amoria has been altered to remove the training grounds and the Chapel area, leaving only the Cathedral. MapleStory currently does not allow same-sex marriage.”