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Solo Social Gaming September 15, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Games.
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Multiplayer gaming over a network was a novel concept when it emerged, but could anyone have foreseen the future of online gaming? Professional competitive leagues and massively multiplayer gaming are the distant descendants of games like Doom, and massive games in particular are a fascinating concept. The key, according to both the developer mentality behind the games and the players themselves, is the social component. Even in non-roleplaying games, the shared illusion of a virtual world compels more people into addictive play styles than any kind of video game in history. Is it the competition or the camaraderie that drives the hardcore? What about the players who don’t seek out the social aspects of multiplayer gaming? What is their reward?

Many people might not understand the behavior, but I know of several World of Warcraft players who pay their monthly fee for the simple joy of sculpting their character in an endless grinding treadmill of work, using other players to complete goals and nothing more. Is it an obsessive compulsive behavior? Escapism? I think it must have to do with comfort, and a controllable, predictable world. After all, very fiew single-player games have the muscle to sink as much time into it as a massive game might. I can’t help but wonder how many lonely massively multiplayer treadmill gamers might be cured of their habit by injecting Animal Crossing into their life.

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