So... I'm just a little speechless...
Last night's episode of The Office introduced me to a new game (it's actually been around since 2003, I have since discovered) called Second Life. When Dwight first explains it to Jim, I thought it was them making fun of WoW and similar massive multi-player online RPGs. Wrong. This game is legit. In fact, just now when I got on the intraweb to search for it, I saw over 52,000 people were online playing it. Good heavens.
I freely admit to enjoying RPGs and also got very into World of Warcraft for a bit. For me, RPGs are rather like reading a novel: you get to immerse yourself in a world and watch as a character grows and develops. The main difference between them (as far as I see it) is that a book generally takes less time to finish, and is more effective at teaching principles or emotionally affecting the reader.
So, why do I--someone who freely admits to loving RPGs--feel like a game like Second Life is so lame? I think there are two main reasons:
1. There is a logical point to a RPG game. There are missions/quests to complete (which often require problem solving skills) and you get to fight/kill things. Who doesn't like that? From what I understand of Second life (based COMPLETELY on Dwight's statement on it), you are just playing a character in a game. You can also buy land. Sweet (hint, hint... sarcasm). I really am having a hard time understanding the point to a game like The Sims or Second Life.
2. If you feel the need to escape life, why escape to somewhere that is just as boring as the one you're in? You can't convince me that wandering around trying to find land to buy is more exciting than real life. I am making blatant assumptions about this game. However, I am quite confident in them. If life sucks enough for you that you'd waste hours of it pretending to be yourself in a world that you can control, I submit that the problem isn't life; the problem is that you're not doing anything about life.
My life is great. I am a truly happy person. Yet, I like video games as much as the next Joe. So, please don't misunderstand what I am saying. I'm not calling out video games as worthwhile to only those whose lives suck. What I am saying is that I can't understand why a game like Second Life would be appealing to anyone who is happy with their life. I can't see what it provides besides a chance to pretend to live. If anyone gets this and feels that I am way off base, then please let me know.