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this week


By Oscar Churniak

A couple of years ago a man in Shanghai won a sword in a video game called Legend of Mir 3. He then lent the virtual sword to a friend of his who sold it to another gamer for 7200 Yuan. The man who “owned” the sword was so upset with his friend’s betrayal that he stabbed him to death. This is one very extreme example of somebody who has seriously blurred the lines between fantasy and reality.

I don’t have a problem with video games. I play a lot of video games, including the kind that Sandi recently got so addicted to. I think that they are a great way to waste a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s when the love of the game becomes an obsession that problems can arise. Take Sandi’s new gaming personality – he’s pretty much all but stopped functioning in the ‘real’ world. He speaks, breathes, eats and sleeps MMORPG’s.
Continuing along with our story about the man who killed his friend over a virtual sword… prior to killing the man, the above mentioned man first tried to go to the police and take legal action against his friend for selling his property. The case was thrown out because the object was not real property. As strange as this may seem, this is not the first time that people have been sued over video game weapons. The argument is that real time and money went into acquiring the virtual objects, therefore the item is viewed as tangible. Courts don’t see it that way though, and neither does most of the real world.

I like my feet firmly grounded in the real world and no matter how much I may enjoy a video game now and again, I’m certainly not going to let it take over my life. It’s like my dad always says ‘all good things in moderation’. It’s never a good idea to get too absorbed in anything, that’s when you run the risk of losing control and acting irrationally. I think Sandi almost lost his grip on reality.

 - Oscar      



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