It’s Been A While.
I haven’t been here for a while. I took the summer off and thought only about myself and my family but not in that order. I also watched some TV, played some video games and surfed the Internet. Got outside a lot too but my baseball throwing buddy had a broken elbow all summer so we had to pick the safer alternatives.
I’m going to ramble on about some of my observations.
I now have a new understanding of “those people” who get totally immersed into the world of Massively Multi-player On-line Role Playing Games. The MMORPG or, to abbreviate the abbreviation, MMOs.
I used to look at Everquest players and World of WarCraft (WOW) players as a bit odd. You know…like pasty faced basement dwellers living on a steady diet of Red Bull, Pop-Tarts and Hot Pockets. Ten dollars or more a month to sit at a computer in order to pretend you’re someone else while going on virtual quests to gain virtual money and virtual fame and make virtual friends seemed like a pastime for people without any actual friends. I didn’t get it. But now I do.
When my youngest broke his elbow I looked for things that he could do that wouldn’t re-injure him. I was seeing some commercials on TV about Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Online (POTCO). I looked it up and, since it was free (HA!), I started an account for us and downloaded the game. I made my pirate and immediately started my first quest. Before I knew it, I had lost an entire night’s sleep, made new, albeit virtual, friends and had completely changed my attitude about MMOs and the people that play them.
Most of the players I have made contact with are parents just like me. People who have like interests and are just blowing off a little steam by thrashing around at skeletons, the evil East India Trading Company and various monsters and undead villains. And chatting about life in general. I have actually logged on and spent the entire time just chatting. Who knew you could have an interesting adult conversation while playing an on-line game? I sure didn’t.
But the free account didn’t feed the addiction because it is limited. Very limited. Ten bucks a month? OK…I’ll do it. I just have to remember to put it in the checkbook every month. But as I was playing I learned some things.
First off, POTCO really is populated with with people just like you and me. Mostly. There are a lot of kids there too and kids can be a little weird. First off, the avatars that you play with represent good looking people. wish I could look like my pirate. But after a while I started to realize that the boy pirates were hitting on the girl pirates. It’s as if they really believe that the people behind the girl pirate avatars look just like their on-line pirate picture. I actually saw a group of higher level players trying to get a crew together for a boss battle and a lower level girl pirate asked if she could join. She was politely told no. Her reply was, “Is it because you think you’re prettier than me?” I was taken aback by the logic and self-doubt that it must have taken to even make that statement. I found myself wanting to console the poor little pirate but I had to remind myself that the world of POTCO isn’t real.
I watched more TV than usual this summer. Cable networks run a lot of marathons. All I could think was, “Just how lazy are program directors?” I mean, even if the marathon in question is my favorite show, am I willing to spend an entire day watching reruns of it? How much thought is put into running a marathon? Try a little creative programming once in a while.
The other best show on TV…period.
Without it, life is just a little bit more dreary. Go Vols.
That’s about it. An uneventful summer and the start of a new school year. Changes are in the wind and, like always, some of them are good and some of them we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll be here though and hope some of you will be too.