[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #303 - 17 msgs

Baron Baron
Wed Apr 4 11:03:32 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

John Buehler wrote:

> I don't think that the single player experience really involves an
> awareness of the fact that the player is alone.  That's a
> multiplayer-centric view and isn't consistent with what players of
> single player games are after.  They are after some mental
> stimulation by themselves.  One of the very nice things about single
> player games is that there is no need to consider other people.  You
> play as long as you care to and stop when you want to.

It depends on the genre, John.  Some are intended as an individual
meditation.  No one, for instance, would say that the stylized images
on a deck of playing cards is aimed at helping a player of solitaire
forget he's alone.  Some genres, however, have to go to elaborate
measures to aid the illusion that the player has entered another,
living world.  Multiplayer requires no such illusion.

Multiplayer games are social experiences; solo games are not.  It's
that simple.
> Lord, I hope not.  I would hope that a non-fantasy environment would
> be the most important consequence of the wired home.  The more
> escapism available, the less we invest of ourselves in the real
> world to make it better.  Why bother when I can always 'escape' into
> a virtual world more to my liking?  I don't have to deal with
> reality.

You have an extreme interpretation of my comments, in my view, John.
Humans frequently require fantasy to gain insights into reality.
Mythology, for example, delivers cultural truth and values through
fantasy.  Some could argue that our contemporary religions do much the
same thing.

MMOGs may seem to be about escapism but they're not.  A solo game can
make you feel mightier than you are, but a multiplayer game is about
who you really are, despite all the wrappers of levels, skills and
such.  In these worlds people are judged simply by their conduct.  In
the physical world people are too often treated badly for irrelevant,
unfair reasons, and this can inhibit their ability to discover who
they really are.  So very often people, by their participation in a
virtual world, discover aspects of their character, as well as
abilities that have become nascent in the physical world.  Despite the
stereotypes of online gamers, this can help them live more fulfilling
lives in reality.

The notion of the fantasy is departure from this world, so that we can
explore aspects of ourselves that THIS world impedes.  What do you
think the stain glass windows in a church or a cathedral are for?

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