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this week


By Sandi Bhutella

I can admit when I go too far and I am admitting that I went too far with the MMORPG, or massive multi-player online role-playing game. Now that I’m out of it and have had my reality check, I’m realizing with the help of my mother and Oscar just how messed up I was. I was actually seeing things that weren’t there. I’ve heard stories about how people have totally lost touch with reality because of their massive involvement in these games, but I can hardly believe I got that caught up too.

MMORPG’s are a kind of gaming where an online community is built and everyone has a character. The world in which you play is always active (which means when you sleep, the game is still going whether or not you are there) and that’s why so many people get so addicted. MMORPG’s are extremely popular around the world and no matter what the game is called, most games share characteristics. Some of the most common characteristics shared with MMORPG’s are:

  1. Traditional play with quests, monsters, slaying monsters and colleting points or items
  2. A system for character development where characters can develop and collect points and skills, etc.
  3. An economy. Money, items for trade, weapons and currency are used and collected
  4. Organization of the players into guilds or clans
  5. Game Moderators or Game Masters who are responsible for keeping an eye on the entire game (although they do not have complete power)

The explanation of the games doesn’t really do them justice. The games are incredibly addictive and once you realize how much you can accomplish, the alliances you can form and the success you can achieve, it’s pretty easy to forget to eat your dinner or do your homework. The world isn’t going to stop while you take a shower so it’s easy to just kind of skip the shower and keep playing (I know, gross, I didn’t shower for a week – whatever!).

There are some people who have taken the addiction and obsession to the extremes. One man in South Korea died after playing an MMORPG for 50 hours! He suffered massive heart failure because he forgot to take care of his basic human needs while he was playing. A young couple allegedly left their infant child alone in their apartment so they could go and play an MMORPG at a nearby internet café. They were gone for much longer than they planned and their child suffocated and died in their absence. There have also been cases of sever depression caused by people becoming incredible obsessed with these games and others still of incredibly irrational and dangerous behaviour caused by mimicking some MMORPG’s that they like to play.

I’m so glad I retained enough of my brain to know when to stop. I guess to be fair I should also credit Oscar for stopping me from getting completely out of control with my behaviour. I’d hate to think what could have happened if I hadn’t gotten out when I did.

It’s tough being away though. I really want to play. Like, really, really want to play. I wonder what’s happening right now…


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