A few years back, when my son (the artistic one) and youngest daughter still lived with me, they would go onto this website where they played text-based role playing games. I honestly didn’t allow video game consoles into the house because I knew what a time suck they were, and everyone shared the same computer so they only had so much time to work on their homework and whatever free time they had. Eventually we were gifted a second computer, but because we were rock poor, that was a huge gift. I mean, we didn’t even have cable, choosing internet over cable in our “luxury must have” expenditures.
Anyway, this website… I forget the name, had these things called avatars — like our little avatars here, only more dynamic. The kidlings could earn virtual coins, I’m not sure how, on the website and “dress” their avatars in the latest and greatest costumes. My youngest daughter soon got bored with the whole thing but my son stuck with the role playing and the whole avatar thing for many years. He’d draw pictures for people on the site and upload them for virtual coins. I know there were other ways, but it was some time ago. Anyway, at the time it blew my mind that the people on the website place actual value on the costumes their avatars had. I mean, if the site went down and people lost the costumes they’d “bought” over the years, people would get genuinely upset. The first time my son got pissed about losing virtual coin because someone welched on a deal, I was like, “But, you didn’t actually lose anything.” I mean he still had the drawing he made, and it wasn’t like someone had offered him real money, right? But to him, it was as if someone had offered him the real deal. And he was angry.
What the prompt brought to mind was an article I read not too long ago that talked about this very thing. People who play video games, or games online, or who play any kind of games can and will get upset if they lose all of the points, items, virtual money or whatever that they’ve accumulated during the game. It’s as if they’ve lost real items. Build a city and “the gods” of the game decide to burn it down? That’s going to make someone angry. It takes time and investment to build a city, and no one likes to see time wasted, even if it’s wasted building virtual cities in lands that only exist in the cyber world. It’s part of our nature. Well, most of us will feel that way. I throw away more stuff online and in real life than anyone I know. But hey, we’re not all built the same. Still, I see on the Nexus forums all of the time statements like: “I have this save game that has this level character with this leveled armor, and these leveled weapons, as well as these leveled skills, and I don’t want to lose that.” Not because that save game is worth anything to anyone but the person playing it, but because of the time invested into it. Whereas if I see something shiny (a new mod) and I have to start a new game for it and I really want to try it, I’ll probably start a new game. I don’t really care about my old save games. I delete them as soon as I start a new one. Like closing a book and moving on.
So anyway, I mentioned a few posts back that I’ve been watching videos and knitting. The videos that I’ve been watching are of someone else playing Skyrim (and now Fallout 4, because I finished his Skyrim play through). Why watch someone else play video games? Well, because he’s amusing and I learn new things I didn’t know about the game. I mean, with a game like this, there are so many different ways to play it. I learned a lot watching him play his way. Like, Damn I didn’t know that was there. Or Wow, I didn’t know you could do that. kind of things. It was a little frustrating too because there were things that I knew that his character obviously didn’t and I was all, Why didn’t he do that thing that was right there? But it was entertaining and educational. And it’s not like there’s anything on television worth watching… What does this have to do with the prompt? Everything. This guy (or his character really) is a hoarder. He will pick up anything and everything until he cannot move, and then he will agonize over what he has to drop so he can move again. It’s amazing to me. And two minutes later, he’s picking up even more stuff and bam! he’s overburdened again. Now, I have no room to talk because I become overburdened myself all of the time. But I don’t agonize over what to drop quite so much as Gopher‘s character does. I just start dropping all of the stuff I know I’ll find again any ol’ place. But like I said, everyone plays the game differently. Things have more virtual value to his character than they do to mine. His “let’s play” videos were the first thing that came to mind when I saw the prompt. Everything has value to his character. Everything. Okay, maybe there are a few things he leaves behind… but not many. ^_^