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The Book Talk Continues

by Cloud on Apr 06, 2014 at 11:35 PM}
So I've made it further in this adventure called REAMDE. Now I know, REAMDE is a virus that is running rampant in the MMORPG called T'Rain which is at the center of the book. This virus moves to your computer from the game while you are playing. It takes all your files, encyrpts them, and essentially holds them hostage until you pay ingame gold ransom to get them unencrypted. Unfortunately the virus has moved into a computer that is owned by some really dangerous organized crime folks from Russia. Now our heroine and others are trying to explain MMORPGs etc to people who have no idea what is going on. And for those who have never played a game it's hard to make them understand the realities of gaming in a virtual world. I know I have barely scratched the surface of where this book is going to go. But so far it is an interesting read and fun to delve into since I understand the idea behind it.

One scene that was interesting to me is when Zula is thinking about the fact that she has never played T'Rain because she was just never interested. But she has gone to work for the parent company to work with the mastermind geologist/designer of T'Rain and in order to work with/for him she must play the game. She speaks of the addiction to the game and never really understanding it but after having to play for more than 6 hours straight it had taken on new meaning to her. At this point I wondered is addiction the name that should be used? I guess for some it would be. Although I don't see the physical addiction part. I see WoW as my hobby. Some people spend their time gardening or cooking, I spend mine playing a MMORPG. This is not the first time the topie of addiction has come up in referring to a video game. I am wondering if the author is going to pursue this topic more or if it is just his opinion of MMORPGs.

More to come...


I am not a psychologist or anything, but here's my understanding of addiction and games.

Addiction comes in different forms. The most well-known is physical addiction, where a person's body becomes dependent on something to function. While I don't know exactly how one separates addiction from other types of dependency (needing insulin or heart meds to function), this is generally what we think of when we hear addiction.

There's also psychological addiction, where a person gets addicted to how something makes them feel. As games are usually designed to make us feel good, it's not surprising that people might get addicted to how a game makes them feel. While the person is not physically dependent on the "thing" in question, it can be just as difficult to break away. This is particularly problematic in situations where a person may be having major problems in "real life". If they're feeling bad and powerless in real life, then feeling powerful in a game may be particularly enticing, and there isn't a lot of reason to return to the "real world". This can easily lead into a vicious cycle, where by spending more time in the game, the person's real life becomes worse, thus encouraging them to leave the real world more and spend more time in the game.
I'm not certain gamers spend more time with their hobby/passion than do other folks. I expect that there is just that this is relatively new in our world so people are suspicious of it and need to malign it. Would a football fan be considered addicted? How about folks who watch a lot of tv?

I find the portrayal of Richard Forthrast very interesting. I'm almost done with the book (thanks to the audio version) so I'm going to try hard not to spoil anything. Certainly Richard, D-Squared and Devin have all had positive changes in their lives because of the game.

Would some one who spent 6 hours practicing music be cast in a similar negative light?

FYI--this is the second Stephenson novel I've read. I got interested in him. Wanted to know more about his background that might help me evaluate the reliability of the science, math, geology parts of the book. Turns out he graduated from my high school! This is almost like reading regional fiction for me. I live in Idaho now (although southern rather than northern).
I can't believe it! I finished the book and now I'm listening to it again! (and reading when I can sit down to read)!

I realized that reading Reamde makes me want to play WoW! Tells you something about the power of the game.

The "addiction" think kept coming to my mind in the last few days. I'm going to have to say that my previous post may have been just a tad bit "defensive." I'm certainly spending more time playing WoW than I ever thought I would. Like Cloud, it is taking over my free time pursuits. I'm still getting my work done--mostly. I do play it to relieve stress. As BlueAppaloosa says, doing so can sort of add to the stress. Here at the end of the semester I'm playing and feel like I should be evaluating work and doing the hundred other things that happen in April and May. (As well as getting ready for a couple of conferences.)

Ah well, so far in the year and a half I've been playing I've managed to get everything done! I just don't do some of the recreational things done that I used to do!
I occasionally feel guilty about time spent playing WoW and my family sometimes has looked down on it. But I've decided to equate it to my husband's interest in baseball which takes up a lot of time. One could say that all of our accomplishments in the game are not real, but baseball is also an artificial construct that only has value to the extent that we give it value.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” - J.K. Rowling

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