Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Shame of the Game

Some time ago, when I discovered artistic screenshots in WoW, I sent a few to my family members.  I was excited to be using the same principles for artistic photography to record something I enjoyed so much, and I was becoming interested in machinima, as well.

The response was not what I expected.  My father sent out an e-mail to the family, stating that our family did not need such time-wasting activities.

I suppose I should not have been surprised.  I had been taught growing up that role-playing games were evil, more or less, or at least, an inappropriate activity.  When I had asked why, it was answered that some people get too involved in them and go overboard.  (This is true, but it is also true that a good percentage of players do NOT get too involved and go overboard.)

I did not argue with my father.  But to avoid causing my parents any more stress and concern about me, I stopped talking about WoW to anyone in my extended family.

That was several years ago.  I'm pretty sure that one day or another, it will be discovered (probably through my children) that I still play, and I will have to face my parents and justify my activities.  (Fortunately, I have more arguments now . . . everything from learning about economics and social dynamics to practicing leadership skills to developing a "can-do" attitude . . . Not to mention the benefits of writing this blog (or my silly poetry!) or the emotional satisfaction of being recognized for accomplishments . . .)

I confess usually feel awkward about mentioning to other people, as well, that I play, and when I do, it's either apologetic or defiant.  I think part of that is because I'm not a young college student and so presumably should not be taking the time.  Another part may be because of the reaction of my parents.  And yet another part is because I know most people would not understand what on earth I was talking about or think I was being irresponsible.

But you never know . . . I found out unexpectedly that one of the regular customers of my company--a man who is driven to succeed in the IT test world--has played a warlock.  One of the few other WoW players in my company told me that in a recent exercise, she passed by one of the customers during downtime, and he was leveling his Blood Elf on his laptop.  And one of my more mature acquaintances in this business, who comes from a rather exciting government background, has a group of friends with whom he gets together on a regular basis to play Everquest.

Maybe someone should write a book someday on the secret gaming lives of ordinary and exceptional people . . .

Which brings me to The Guild . . . In August, they posted a Bollywood-style music video which addresses some of these feelings.  I only discovered it today, but it has made me laugh so much.  They've pulled in just about every single Bollywood cliche out there, but more than that, I can identify with a good deal of the sentiment.  I guess it makes me feel less alone.  Game On!

I think I'll go home at lunchtime and run my dailies . . .

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