Massive Multiplayer Games
The world into which I awake every morning is more riveting than the games I saw in the Edlab Seminar today. Watching strange beasts run around is interesting—-even thrilling for a moment—-but I find the novelty wears off in a short while. Quests? Role-playing? Even a little R&R? An appropriate comment was made: this is trivial stuff. But...
It seems like these “gamesâ€? are as good a jumping off point as any other for educators looking to directly or indirectly influence the intellectual and emotional growth of people. Boundaries between reality and virtual worlds are clearly porous. If these massive multiplayer worlds are the future of entertainment (or daily life itself), then educators would do well to learn more about them. Much more. Who plays and why? Who doesn't play and why not? Why do players stop playing (if they ever do)?
More generally, we could ask: What captures people's imaginations? What is the relationship between imagination and fantasy? Is imagination somehow constrained by reality? Is fantasy a movement away from it? If fantasy is defined as (something like) a vision that is unhinged from expected/normative social (or physical) structures, then why are some people so eager for it?
Maybe the answers are obvious. Life is dull; the game is fun (it gives me powers I don't have in life). But the player is duped, right? The game is merely another lifestyle that allows him to see himself in a fresh way. — There's nothing psychologically unusual about this. It's a reprieve from the ordinary, bodily, and vocational demands of everyday life.
Hey, some fads last thousands of years. Game away.