Monday, June 22, 2009

I Am Amazed. This is Amazing.


The video seen here is not for the faint of heart.

I love video games. Love them. If you were to tell me tomorrow that due to an electronic field encompassing my body, I could never play another video game again, I think my reaction would be pretty clear.

I would move on with my life.

Despite my admitted love of this time-consuming and ultimately worthless hobby, there have been several periods in my life where the desire to play them has left me altogether. No frustration, no getting wrapped up in other things, no other outside element to blame it on; I just simply did not want to play anymore. Life kept right on going, and I got outside and saw real people more often. Sometimes it'd be a few days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months would pass before I got the urge to pick up a controller again. There was more than enough to do in the real world to satisfy me.

And naturally, like most children, there were times when video games were taken away from me by circumstances not necessarily beyond my control. My general reaction was to mope for a bit, then (if not grounded somewhat more severely) go find some real friends to play with.

I'll quote my friend Paul on this; "I have never been angry enough to stick a remote in my ass."

This kid flips out at the idea of not being able to play World of Warcraft any longer. This tantrum is unlike anything I've ever seen from a house where I grew up with two much younger siblings. He's beating himself with a shoe! Why would anyone do that under any circumstances? He didn't just find out his parents spent the money he had saved for college on hooker and coke. His mom cancelled his Warcraft account - meaning she was probably paying for it - and, I don't like to speculate, but likely because he was spending way too much time on it. Based on the visual evidence provided by his enterprising younger brother, I can safely say he needs the break.

Video games are more prevalent now in our culture than at any time before. They're making more of them with increasingly complex worlds to explore, and the graphics are improving all the time. They can be addictive. They're a lot of fun.

But have we really come to this?

Maybe I don't know the whole story here. A lot could be happening off-camera. What I do know is that no video game, not even the addict-spawning World of Warcraft, should so dominate a child's life that he literally strips his clothes off and physically beats himself when informed he cannot play it. You can't blame Blizzard - it's their job as a game developer to make a really good game. You can't blame the parents entirely. Maybe they should have stepped in sooner, but clearly they've recognized the problem and took steps to remedy it. Really, it all comes down to the people playing. Exercise some moderation. Video games will come and go. It's not the end of the world.

Except for this kid. Unless he moves somewhere where there is no internet.

Game Over.


Dennis said...

If you think this is bad you need to read up on Everquest, 10-13 game related suicides have been reported worldwide. There was even a scam where female members of a certain large guild (basically groups of people who play together constantly) were performing sexual favors on the leaders of the guild for in game loot/guild advancement. It's a strange world we live in.

I'm an avid gamer, and I agree with this post. There came a point in my hardcore Everquest days, when I realized it was interfering with my then budding relationship with Jescie Bohbot. I quit shortly after, and rarely look back. Except for my short stint at Fort Apache, but that was nothing compared to what it was.

Gaming is a nice escape, but when it starts to eclipse real interaction, there's a problem.

Matt Lindeboom said...

I'm really wondering whether or not this was staged. The remote in the ass was, well, bizarre.

Wow I am... yeah.

Jason Heat said...

I also watched this and had to think it was staged - the timing of everything seems a bit too 'perfect'

David Pratt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Pratt said...

The thought that it had been staged crossed my mind, but two things keep me from invalidating it entirely.

1) The way it is set up is ridiculously embarassing for the kid in question. Being put on like it is, presented as real, I can't imagine an apparantly junior high/high school-age kid willingly subjecting himself to being seen that way.

2) Dennis's comment points out the validity of the video regardless of source. People are dying, killing themselves, and engaging in illicit sexual activity for video games. Staged or not, the video is far from inaccurate.

Jstone said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Matt/Jason.

I mean i've done weird shit in a tantrum but the hiding in the closet and the remote up the ass. The seemless transition from little brother, to tantrum, and back to little brother. Its like they have stage cues. And the fact that you hear some guy yell and then suddenly the whole thing stops. Suspicious.

PS- my confirmation word for this post was "subjewuw" just strikes me as weird

Sera said...

Pretty sure this is 100% fake. Though the remote control thing is hilariously inappropriate. People DO act like this though... every joke has a root in truth somewhere.

B.Graham said...

ugh epic FAIL.

I know a person who shall remain nameless, who, for at least six months, cut off all contact with the parent who shut off his WoW account. He also did not attend the wedding of said parent. This may or may not have had to do with said shutting off of said WoW account, but I have my suspicions.

Stephen said...

Coincidentally I just started playing World of Warcraft (or WOW for short) about a week ago, just to try it out. I'm on day 6 of my 10 day trial period, and I'm already overwhelmed, as it's the first massively multiplayer online game I've ever played.

From what I've seen so far, WOW is massive in scope. Think of the seemingly limitless freedom supplied by the cities in the game Grand Theft Auto, make the playable world even larger, and then add millions of people to interact with, and you've got WOW.

The main problem I have with the game is that it's fair to summarize it as a bunch of virtual errand running. I'll get a message, or some cargo of some kind, and a character will tell me to get it to someone in another town. Then I run to said town, meet up with the recipient, collect payment, and that's it. Other missions are basically orders to kill a bunch of bad guys.

The intelligence required to play WOW at the introductory level is limited to managing the abilities of your character. There are only so many items you can carry at one time, so logistically proficiency and attack strategy are the only things a WOW player needs to think about.

But my biggest problem with the game is that I've died a lot. I've died at least 100 times. But it's not because I'm bad at the game. It's because there are no consequences after you die. If you lose all of your health, you reappear at a nearby graveyard, from which you have to walk back to where you died, which takes about 45 seconds. You keep all of your items and abilities. It's an incentive to seek dangerous situations. If I run into an area that's challenging, I can die, revisit the area as an invulnerable, invisible ghost, and scout the area to get a better sense of what's to come, and prepare accordingly. I look for challenge in my games, not repetition.

I would say that the biggest draw to the game is the adventure aspect. Exploring new worlds is really fun. Another factor to consider is notoriety. As you go through the game you increase in level, which is a basic ranking system. As your level increases, starting at 1 and progressively increasing by 1, your power increases. So far my level is at 12, the highest level players I've seen are at 80. But going from 11 to 12 isn't as easy as going from 79 to 80. It becomes exponentially harder to increase your level the higher your level goes. I get the impression that there's a stronger sense of competition and community in the higher ranks.

In the end, I can see WOW for what it is, not simply a home away from home for gamers to retreat to, but an entire world away from the real world, where an involved gamer could simply get lost. And if you were a gamer and down on your luck in the real world, maybe you would get lost there on purpose.

David Pratt said...

Final Fantasy XIV has been announced for a 2010 release date. I was a huge fan of Final Fantasy XI (as the book I've been writing about it - 523 pages long at the time of this comment - is testament to) and am eagerly awaiting the next FF MMO.

Of course, if everything goes the way I want it to, then by the release date I'll be too deeply embroiled in studying to even think about picking up a video game.