It’s just a game

Aside from being a WHM/SMN/BRD/BLM 75 and a linkshell leader I’m a ‘real woman’. So yes, beating that dynamis zone, levelling that sub-job and finishing that mission are all things I experience. I’m fairly competitive and driven, which is why the gaming aspects appeal to me but the reason I guess I’m rarely if ever bored of playing is the community.

One of the things that annoys the hell out of me is when people try to distance what they want in game from the community it takes to achieve it. I get pretty focused sometimes into achieving something in game and every now and then I have to take a step back and remember the people around me.

One phrase that annoys me is

it’s only a game

No, no it isn’t. If you mean, it shouldn’t be taken as seriously as your home or work life yes, I agree. However if you mean you can do whatever you want because you do it for entertainment, then I think you’re wrong.

This ‘game’ isn’t something we do in isolation. Just because we login from a console or machine isolated from most if not all the other people we chat with online doesn’t mean they’re any less real or that your responsibilities to them are vastly different and yet people behave as if they are.

OK, you’re not required to take your online friends down the pub for their birthday. You don’t have to drop your sack-holders at work (there are parallels) or take your choco for a walk to pick up some milk.

But there are some things people need to remember:

  • The person you chat to online is a real person just like you
  • The person online you hang out with has a wider range of feelings than /smile or /fume
  • Everyone who plays this game is paying the same amount every month
  • Just because you can hit the off switch, doesn’t mean you’ve also turned those people ’off’.

I’ve found a lot of people, particularly incredibly competitive individuals don’t trouble themselves with the niceties of getting along with people or crediting others with any other function than to get them what they want next.

The distance that the net provides is a good thing and a bad thing. For some people it remove barriers, enables them to open up and share things in a way they couldn’t do face to face. For others it’s just a shared interest or challenge. Some people like to create complete fakes of themselves – compulsively lying to everyone.

People behave to one another in a way they wouldn’t do face to face. In ways they wouldn’t be able to if they met that person in real life. I understand why but just sometimes I want to /slap a few people I know and get them to listen to themselves.

Maybe I have an idealistic viewpoint, but I get incredibly frustrated with seeing people treat each like crap just because they think they can get away with it. What tends to happen is it comes around to bite them on the backside eventually. People are treated as ‘disposable’ – we can always get a new DRK or SMN or w/e – but they’re not. In the end, each server community is limited in size and it gets all too small once you’ve been at 75 for any amount of time.

The reason I posted this is something I read recently brought back to me a conversation I had with someone I used to be close to ‘in-game’. People kid themselves if they think that every emote they make, or line they type to someone will be taken merely as a form of entertainment.

As for friendships outside of FF – you do meet people you think you ‘click’ with. Fact is though, until you move it beyond the screen and out there in the real world in some way you simply can’t trust that what you think you are feeling is real. But I do think that people can connect very well in game in some circumstances and that it’s a valid way of making friends or even finding partners. Treat it as the initial spark, not as the whole package. Talk to them on the phone, meet up (safely) if you want to and take it from there.

Whether you like it or not, the community is the stronger part of this ‘game’. People are part of this ‘game’. So do me a favour and step back and remember that from time to time.


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Categories: Online Life


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One Comment on “It’s just a game”

  1. reccaa
    July 7, 2009 at 07:32 #

    Very nice post and true…

    My favorite part about the whole post is “it is just a game”… that line pisses me off so much as people use it as an excuse to fuck around and waste people’s time around them saying: “it is just a game, don’t take it seriously!”…

    One lesson to be learned from this post is NOT to forget that you are playing in a community.. with people.. who have feeling. We should not isolate ourselves from these facts.


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