1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Dangers of Virtual Gaming

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Mathetais, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    Blood on the virtual carpet

    This article got under my skin a bit.

    As a Christian, I'm a big believer in "total depravity" and the things that happened (and probably are happening) in "Alfaville" illustrate this belief. With no "real" identities, minimized risk and no structure, people seek the lowest common denominator of human activity.

    I thought this was a good warning as we endorse and cover online gaming on this site.

    A question that needs to be addressed in the Constitution of any government (real or virtual) is that of leadership, administrative rights and placement of power. The SIMs opted for a very "liberal", democratic form of government ... and as you can see, it did not work.

    In a similar vein, I am reading the biography of John Adams and see a similar illustration when he visits Holland. The Netherlands and the US had very similar beginnings ... including a revolt from a global power, opportunities for trade and wealth, even a solid Christian heritage. What the Netherlands lacked was a strong executive. Real power was held by the burgomasters of various cities, while national power was slow and tediously processed through a "formal" executive and a weak parliament. Holland now is a minimal power seething with debauchery (yes, I'm Dutch so can say this).

    One of the central issues every person will need to answer in life is how they will respond to authority and what authorities they will recognize. For example, by recognizing God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, my life has taken a very particular tract. Other people recognize other authorities in the religious, political, vocational and familial areas of life.

    Yeah, I'm kinda rambling ... but I'm realizing that by nature I tend to "kick against the goads" of authority ... and that isn't good.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Gonzago Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think this is another case of academia underestimating gamers' (or viewers', for that matter) ability to distinguish between reality and virtualia. People are beholden to more than their executive branch, or their church, or their god. They are also beholden to their consciences.

    For example: I can't count the number of people I've capped in the head in Deus Ex, Hitman (1&2), Splinter Cell or what have you. I've played CE chars in BG2 and worn human skin as armor. I gated in a pit fiend in a crowded city square just for the hell of it.

    I pretty sure that I'm not capable of shooting another human being. I'm not too big on open casket funerals, let alone human leather. I don't believe in pit fiends. And when it rains, I don't say a little prayer to Talos.

    No, there are no consequences in the Sims...but that's the point. I'd bet good money that sim mafia types would wet themselves if they were ever face to face with a live mafioso. Same for the prostitutes and the swindlers and so on. They do the things they do because, and *only* because, they know they're playing a game.

    Incidentally, what would be the fun of playing a sim character that sits on its ass in a cubicle all day looking at spreadsheets? The Sims isn't wishful thinking...it's create-your-own-movie-star.

    After reading that article, my only criticism is that there are eighty thousand souls on the earth who would do better to go outside with some friends and a ball.

    And I think you're being unfair to your mother country. Your country is clean, people stay in shape by riding bicycles absolutely everywhere, your violent crime rate is laughably low, you're well educated and take excellent care of your sick. When you complain about a weak executive, I get the sense that your greatest complaint is that you don't have any nukes. I'm not slagging the States, but try living there with the other forty million citizens who don't have any health insurance. It's a great country, yes, but not quite everything you're making it out to be.
     
  3. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    8,658
    Media:
    88
    Likes Received:
    375
    Gender:
    Male
    Mat - it's interesting, but I believe that this is simply another outlet for people to do what they know they cannot do in real life. Think of this as either on-line Lord of the Flies or what would happen if you dumped a bunch of children into the wild with no adult supervision, but with food and shelter to survive.

    People will engage in certain behavior if there are controls missing. Most of the time, there are controls in the form of authority figures ranging from teachers to parents to cops. Create a power void and people will fill it as they see fit.

    Think of feudalism which was, in essence, organized thuggery. It held sway for centuries. What the Sims is doing is not adding to the present society, it is creating a new society from scratch. In that circumstance, you probably will start at the bottom of the barrell. I would be more interested in seeing what happens without EA's input. I would have enjoyed seeing that virtual newspaper flourish and see how the society developed. Oh well.

    Gonzago - Mat lives in Chicago.
     
  4. Gonzago Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    0
    Didn't know that, but I was going with that part of his post that said "I'm Dutch, so I can say this."
     
  5. Iago Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,919
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't get the Dutch reference, really. I'd say less-centralized countries do usually rather well. I'd even say that the Netherlands are an example for it.

    The problem with the internet is, there is no social control. People are "not real" and anonymous, there are no consequences for the action. Imagine this site without the benevolent eye of those ever just and always alert administrators. It would be a quite boring flame war.

    The problem with online-gaming and the game industry is, that there's not the easy buck in it as they expected. Obviously, they need to implement some "control", as there are many people who see the fun in spoiling the game for others. Therefore, they would need somehow to implement some control, people who observe that the rules are followed. I think it is not a coincidence, that Bioware has decided to make NWN to some "open-source" internet game. People interested can make there own stuff with their own rules and play in it. This way, gamers themselves can watch, that the rules are kept. And as those who play are the most interested, that the rules are kept while playing, they'll be watching good while playing or DM-ing themselves. And people with not-welcomed behaviour can be kicked out. The whole thing has also some decentralized touch to it.

    This way its back to conventional gaming on a table in a way, where cheating isn't a real problem usually (or you're generally in bad company, I guess). Companies not going that way, will have to hire people to watch or have to keep up technical to prevent cheats. Quite expensive. I think that can only be implented with pay-for-play on-line games like evercrack.

    And as WCIII player I say, I hate being called "NOOB" and finding out, that my team partner is "ibackstabyou".
     
  6. Sir Belisarius

    Sir Belisarius Viconia's Boy Toy Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2000
    Messages:
    4,257
    Media:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    [​IMG] Math - you suck! I posted the same article in here this morning...

    See! :p
     
  7. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    The dutch thing mostly comes from the fact that last night I was reading about Adams going to Holland to get a loan to pay for the Revolutionary War. So its on the top of my head ... it may not be the best example.

    Bel ... all I can say is, "DOH!" :slap: SORRY BRO!
     
  8. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Messages:
    8,252
    Media:
    82
    Likes Received:
    238
    Gender:
    Male
    Mat - Are you reading the book by David McCullough? I read that one last year. What a great book. And you are right, he doesn't have much good to say about the Dutch, nor the French, in matters of politics. But French culture during that time seems to be another matter entirely for McCullough. The shocker was his depiction of Franklin, which was not very flattering at all.

    But I've never played the Sims. I've heard it is everything the article claims that it is. But it doesn't surprise me that the tyrants went straight for the press.
     
  9. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2001
    Messages:
    6,117
    Media:
    2
    Likes Received:
    121
    I would just like to say that I think your depiction of the Netherlands is a bit off Math. I think it is on top 3 in the world both in GDP(hmm, I seem to have forgot the abbrevation used for gross national production thingy people use but I hope you get what I mean) and in living standard. Their lack of international power is probably due to tiny size and few national resources. You might not agree on their moral policies but besides that even you must see that they are an immensly succesful nation.

    As for the topic at hand I go with what some have say, the point of playing such games is to be able to be what you both cant and dont want to be in real life. I have no desire what so ever to be an adventurer who runs around risking my life all the time, thats dangerous! But I love playing such a character when there are no real risks for me. If I for some bizarre reason would ever play the Sims (which is unlikely as I think it is the stupidest game ever) I would probably try to do things I am unable to do in reality. As someone else said, where is the fun in playing a game where you work all day except for lunch break and a coffee break? Or a game where you study for an important exam?
     
  10. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Messages:
    8,252
    Media:
    82
    Likes Received:
    238
    Gender:
    Male
    Joacqin - The book in question only deals with Holland at the end of the 18th Century and I don't feel it should be representaive of Holland today, which many feel is an enlightened and tolerant country second to none. Even then in 1774-6, Holland was at a sort of crossroads between its zenith during the 15th-16th centuries, when it won its independence from Spain, and its modern period today. David McCollough goes out of his way to speak of Dutch "tolerance" and its "Golden Age" as well as its astonishing ability to craft a great amount from so little land area and natural resources.

    Edit: Of course, Mat may be reading a different book.

    [ January 18, 2004, 03:26: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
     
  11. keldor Gems: 5/31
    Latest gem: Andar


    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0
    When people in academia, including psychologists, are telling us that online gaming is more than just a harmless little escape from boring reality, I think we should listen. If you were an 'expert' in a particular field and a bunch of laymen simply dismissed your arguments as some have done here, I imagine you'd feel outraged and frustrated at their ignorance. A judge in the real world has already ruled that virtual labour and possessions have a real-world value (and I agree with this decision, although the ramifications baffle me); virtual criminals are making real-world money from virtual crimes. Hands up those of you who didn't read the article?

    Clearly this is something we'll be hearing more about in the future.
     
  12. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2001
    Messages:
    6,117
    Media:
    2
    Likes Received:
    121
    You have a point there Keldor, but that argument can be used in the other way around as well. When it comes to gaming and online communities it is we who are the experts. I dont mean we should discount what the "real world" experts say, but look at this way. Who do you think have a better knowledge of how the Mongolian society works? A worker at a factory in Ulan-Baator or a sociologist in Boston?
     
  13. Troll Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate


    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Bejing ruling was madness. I'm going to read the NWN EULA to see if every theft and murder that has been committed on ALFA has created culprits that are now liable for criminal prosecution. (Seriously though does anyone have a link to the full story on that case?)

    The media moguls don't want to eradicate depravity from the net, they just want to figure out a way to make us pay more for accessing it.

    Come to think of it, I don't believe God wants to eradicate it either, and he certainly makes us pay more for accessing it with that whole eternity of damnation thing.
     
  14. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chadnos asked
    Yep, that's the one. And his snapshot is in the late 1770's-1780's. Probably not an accurate view of the culture at large.
     
  15. Gonzago Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think the argument that the Dutch are "seething with debauchery" really flies either. Yes, there are hookers and drugs in the Netherlands. But there are also hookers and drugs in the U.S. It's just that the Dutch are honest about it.

    And if that doesn't convince you, keep in mind that the American pornographic industry is bigger than the entire Dutch economy.
     
  16. Sir Belisarius

    Sir Belisarius Viconia's Boy Toy Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2000
    Messages:
    4,257
    Media:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    [​IMG] Math - I hope you're happy. My thread got locked! :p
     
  17. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG] I'm getting alot of flak for my Dutch bashing ... please remember that I've admited that to be a weak illustration.

    Bel ... sorry. It's official ... all those broken noses and concussions did cause daime bramage. I'll be getting that fixed.
     
  18. keldor Gems: 5/31
    Latest gem: Andar


    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joacqin, in many ways, the sociologist in Boston would (although he would, if he is worth his salt, interview the said factory worker and his ilk)! What you have said is one of those things that sounds sensible but in actual fact isn't. Most people do what they do without any thought for the sociological, anthropological, psychological, biological, et al. implecations of their actions or being. It is precisely for this reason that study in these fields comes about. Gamers in a gaming community would be experts at *gaming*, not at all in sociology and the possible impact of their pastime on society at large.

    Mathetais, don't back off from your comment about the Dutch if that is how you genuinely feel. Many people are liable to respond to your comments in a knee-jerk, politically correct way regardless of their experience (or lack of) of Holland.
    I myself have seen evidence of terrible goings on in Holland. There are drug ghettos and areas rife with debauchery e.g. the red light district. There are residents fighting with petitions to get new legislation to stop the open use of drugs etc.
    If what you write is your experience, stick to your guns mate!

    [ January 19, 2004, 18:41: Message edited by: keldor ]
     
  19. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the encouragement! Honestly, though, its all pretty much second hand stuff. I've heard radio folk bragging about the "fun" they have there, older people who immigrated lamenting the current immorality, and some other second hand stuff. I probably should do some more looking into it.

    I mostly backed off because the illustration (Holland) was taking away from the main point (the need for strong executive power). :) :good:

    Have Wooden Shoes Will Travel!!
     
  20. Gonzago Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    0
    I certainly didn't mean to suggest that there wasn't debauchery in Holland...just that debauchery is universal. It's human nature. It's just that the Dutch had the brains to legalize it, tax it, and keep it under control, at least insofar as such things may be kept under control. The word 'utopia' means two things: "paradise" and "non-place." "Nobody's perfect" applies to the community of nations as well as to people.

    Back on topic...the study of this web game in particular is certainly not without merit, provided it remains contextualized. It's as close as sociologists can come to "lab conditions" which cannot be countenanced by any acceptable scientific ethic in a non-virtual setting. I would be interested to read any conclusions that such studies might draw, provided that the nature of the milieu were taken into account.
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.