By: Chelsea Christensen & Whitney Asante

My friend Peter is a murderer. The guy I’ve known since the first grade has taken a life. He proceeded to tell me in cruel and grotesque detail about whom, how and why he killed his boss to become the current mayor of… Wait, riiight. I forgot. Pete also plays The Sims too.

Video games allow for people to explore different parts of the person that they are without the fear of reprisals or consequences. In Pete’s case, he trapped his boss in his closet and made him cook food in there till he either fried or was suffocated. No cops, no questions, only a ghost of his former supervisor haunting the house.  In The Sims, he’s remodeled an entire community and lifestyle into his ideal conditions. Everything from his dream career, to living in a literal ‘bachelor pad’ with all of his buds from high school and beyond. In this world, the flaws and imperfections of reality are no longer uncontrollable, but at his command. It’s within these realms that my friend can explore the full scope and scale of his imagination and ambitions of political dominance.

In this travelogue, we will further explore the “second life” that people seek within the virtual landscape. We will also investigate people’s avatars and their habits that manifest in this world. To begin our understanding, we look back upon Peter. As a gamer, Peter doesn’t only play The Sims, but has also explored the popular game World of Warcraft. Read the rest of this entry »

The interests of identity and online gaming are quite powerful in some regards and quite meek in others. If one were only to look at the ludological argument within gaming, one would look at these games as simulation of actual interactions on an alternate plane. This plain can vary, projecting real life in some instances, to being latent with demons, goblins, orcs, and elves. It’s within this plain of existence that humans have crafted beings that are extensions of their very selves. These identities are the very means by which they will interact with their world and the millions of people within it.

My friend, Peter Lee, was one of the millions of people that forged an identity within this virtual world, World of Warcraft in this case. He based his avatar on the opposite of what he thought would be the standard. He desired to make an avatar that was extremely distinct and at odds with the norms and the conventions of society. My friend became a female necromancer. This female manipulator of the no longer living enjoyed the sense of community and the overarching story that was being acted. The prospects of teamwork and comradeship made the world teem with possibilities! There were communities here, a sense of progress, that you were improving, it was a world unto itself. So my friend left. Read the rest of this entry »

The topic we want to explore is how virtual reality affects actual reality. It might be interesting to compare and contrast the arguments supporting the virtual world as a tool for personal expression, learning, and its economic advantages, and

the arguments against it, claiming that virtual realities and identities are causing disassociation and other cultural problems of our society and generation. One really interesting quote found in a review of two books addressing virtual worlds entitled The Computer Made Me Do It, written by William Saletan, would spark a good argument: ”If reality is inherently less attractive than games, then the virtual world won’t save the physical world. It will empty it.” Read the rest of this entry »