Virtual Worlds


From the time I was a child I enjoyed games. I grew up on word and card games, moved on to pen-and-paper roleplaying games and had a substantial collection of designer boardgames which I wrote about previously. The challenge with those kinds of games is that they all require someone else across the table. In many cases, particularly for roleplaying games, they also require a substantial amount of time investment for all the people involved in the game. (It’s a huge time sink for the game master in particular.)

Enter the computer, and all the games that have come through since the heady days of the dedicated consoles through the current incarnations of game machine. In parallel, you have the PC master race, descended from its ancestors in the green-screen CRT age. When I can’t get a group of friends together, and that is far more true today than it ever has been, I turn to videogames to manage depression, stress and the outside world. This is my most-favored escape.

I need to make mention of the virtual World of Warcraft. I’ve enjoyed various online worlds before, from the beginnings of Ultima Online, a bit of Everquest, a bit of Second Life. Nothing really stuck until I got a job that required me to study World of Warcraft. The office paid for my account and subscription for six months. Like so many games that give you an alter ego, this one is no different. It’s that the world around your avatar grows and changes, and you’re thrust into new stories. It’s always a battle between good (you) and evil (the other side). Most times, you win.

I’ve scaled back my play these days, to fit my current circumstances. The nice thing is that the alternate universe remains, fortunately, because it is shared by enough people that the company that runs the world continues to support it. There was a time that I didn’t see that world for over two years. When the depression started crushing my psyche again, it was there to return to. I’m grateful for that little corner of that digital universe that’s mine, with all the friends I’ve made that are now real-world friends. In the future, when the world disappears, as all of these virtual worlds eventually will, I will remember it fondly.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 9, 2015.

“We all have things we need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?”

9 thoughts on “Virtual Worlds

  1. You missed the Arcades! Fantastic way to support the shift from boards to PC games. Being a 90s child, board games weren’t as prominent due to Arcades and well Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 was the first console I remember ever playing. According to my brother I was only 3 years old which isn’t great but I don’t know, I just remember playing Robocop on it.
    World of Warcraft never really caught my attention mostly because I was aware that it would be far too time consuming. I already spend enough time in front of computers as it is, I would be 100x worse.
    So… your job is making me very curious. What exactly do you do that involves getting free WoW subscriptions?

    I should have been born in the 70s just to experience the 80s.

    1. I was a teen in the glory days of the Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat/Tekken era, but I didn’t have the passion for the game (nor the hand-eye coordination) to be good at those games. I’d usually play side scrollers, racers or light gun games if I spent time at the arcade.

      I’m old enough that I got to play the original Asteroids and Missile Command (and later Pac-Man) at a pizza parlour. Those are good memories.

      I spent some time in an online content company, whose portfolio included online game publishing. We wanted to see if we could get a partnership as a payment gateway for Blizzard games, primarily WoW.

      1. Ohhh this is very interesting! I’ve considered moving towards that industry upon completion of my current certificate.

        Those three games you mentioned right there were my childhood alongside many others mostly from Mega Drive and eventually PS1 and of course PC!

          1. You’re in tech. You must have a way to remember all of the passwords with minimum security strength. 😛 Besides, if you forget, reset!

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