A Virtual Suicide Brings Up Discussion On Virtual Obsessions

from the come-back-to-reality dept

Salon has a long article discussing a recent fake suicide in online game Everquest. The story is pretty interesting in that someone created an entire person behind a character, who never really existed. However, from there, the article begins to discuss obsessions among online gamers. It’s not exactly clear where the leap begins. The “fake suicide” wasn’t necessarily someone who was obsessed with the game (though, they did play a lot). Instead, it happened due to a bizarre thought that the “dead virtual person” would help during a real life divorce trial (yeah, it’s a twisted story). The whole question of obsessive behavior within an online game is a completely different issue.

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Comments on “A Virtual Suicide Brings Up Discussion On Virtual Obsessions”

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Ryan says:


While I haven’t know anyone that obsessed by the game, I have seen how it can become very addicting, and I do think it’s a problem that should be addressed. Sure, I’ll certainly concede the point that you can find people in almost any activity who’ll be obsessed with it, and that Everquest can be enjoyable, healthy, and help build relationships in a different manner. But you always have to remember about the anonymity, and I think that this story really drives that point home – all you have to go on is what someone tells you. Plus there’s the whole angle that this isn’t just an activity, like cross-stitching, but a whole new world – it’s one of the things closest to virtual reality we have available to the masses right now. In fact, that’s the concern – it is a new reality, and it’s not so virtual to some.

I thought that the story of the guy whose relationship fell apart even more when his girlfriend started developing a virtual boyfriend was one of the best examples. I’d like to draw a small line between this and shows like Survivor – people are interested in living, or at least seeing into, others’ lives than their own today, and so that is what’s being facilitated. However, in the end, you are yourself, and you have to deal with it at some point.

As a sidebar, I do have one friend who plays pretty often who has started complaining that the game does seem like it’s being taken over by the people who do obsess (spend hours and hours a week playing), and will sometimes attack without an apparent reason. The relationships built can be strong – I don’t contest that, I’ve met some great people on-line, but I personally believe it is still no contest with a ‘real’ relationship and dealing with a ‘real’ person.

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