Things that get you suspended in TSO!

I’ve heard some ridiculous stories about MAXIS suspending people from TSO….but today I think I hear the best one yet!
Someone who runs an in-game store has recently been suspended because she was AFK (Away From Keyboard) most of the time. Apperantly some idiot player had complained to TSO about this….and she was therefore suspended! I say idiot player…but who knows….maybe those MAXIS dudes are just bored and wanted to create some drama, but if it is true, it definately demonstrates how incredibly boring the game is…that gamers start wining about such ridiculous things! This case also reminded me that I must take the time to actually read the User Agreement for TSO, as MAXIS referred to that in this case. You would think I’d gotten around to that!!! Urgh….I’m such a lazy git!
And for those of you who are interested….another suspension case has caught my attention. In TSO there’s a program in the form of a maid that helps you maintain your property. She basically just cleans and tidies the place up for you. It is a trend for TSO gamers to find ways of confusing the maid while building their property…quite amusing really. But someone took this a bit too far! They kept referring to the maid as ‘cunt’ and MAXIS didn’t like that very much so they enforced a suspension! Hillarious really…cause it’s a computer program….apperantly they have feelings too cause MAXIS referred to ‘rules of conduct’!

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A great laugh!

I don’t know if I should start rethinking my life style when people start sending me games about drinking a.s.o. But…hell…I’ll just keep laughing! Check this stuff out! I’ve been laughing all day!!! Thanks to Bamse (hun….we really need to find you a better name!!!).

Getting home drunk
Yes…it’s a game about peeing!

And these two aren’t games….but just hillarious!!! Make sure you have sound on!

Laughing baby

Hillarious!!!

Aesthetics of Play conferance

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this here yet!!!! On October 14th the University of Bergen is hosting an Aesthetics of Play conferance. The program looks great and the abstracts are really interesting!!!! Personally….I can’t wait to see and hear Espen Aarseth! Heard so much about him….and read so many brilliant things by him!
Also hoping to meet the right people to mingle with to help me figure out how to start a doctorate! Yes! It’s true….while I’m sitting here NOT writing my thesis….I’m dreaming of becoming a professor on the subject!!! Pathetic, aren’t I?! LOL!

Freedom to be who you want to be in MMORPGs

I’ve been The Sims Online free now for over a week and I sincerely needed that vacation. I got into the addictive side of the game and almost completely forgot about my thesis. Not playing however has given me thoughts to ponder about and I’m finally getting into the real spirit of analysis.
I tried logging on again last night and felt a pang of nausea hit me. I entered a room to make money and found myself in a TSO drama discussion. After 5 minutes, I just couldn’t take it anymore and logged off.
In the course of my gaming experience I’ve talked to a few players about their freedom to be who they want to be in the game. That they’re free from all of society’s rules and regulations about how to be and what to look like. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about!
My own gaming experience has been quite different. TSO’ers are extremely emotional. They are very easily offended and my own sarcastic humor has often put me in situations I don’t want to be in. Either I just throw a sentence in the air that is sarcastically complaining about my life and I get a whole lot of “Awww…what’s wrong? Do you wanna talk about it?”. Or I comment on pathetic conversations and I instantly hurt someone’s feelings.
So the whole ‘freedom’ thing about playing has infact been more of a social prison for me. I constantly need to watch what I say and do. Now I don’t know if I entered the game nervous cause I needed to make friends for research purposes or if TSO just isn’t the game for my personality? Or I’m just not a good gamer.

Ownership of play

DiGRA 2005, Changing Views: Worlds in Play has started and I wish I was there!!! One thing’s for sure though…..I have a lot of reading to do! There’s a lot of interesting papers written by fantastically brilliant people.
Of course the topic of virtual goods and ownership is a hot topic. To be honest, I’m getting kinda bored with the topic. It seems to me that once you get over the whole “Oh my! You can buy virtual goods for REAL money!” shock, you need to be a passionate player and hopefully a brilliant in game designer to really give a damn.
My thoughts are wavering off to a place I initially hadn’t intended to go. I had hoped to focus my thesis on governmentality and the virtual reality is reality concept. But I find myself wondering into a dangerous territority. The territory of defining MMORPGs as games. Try defining what a game is and what play is….and I’m sure you’ll find yourself confused. I dare you….!! ;)
I’ve been using Klabbers’ Taxonomy of Games (which is sadly missing from most of the research I’ve been reading on MMORPGs) to classify The Sims Online. He’s found a unique way of combining ‘a generic model of social systems – consisting of actors, rules and resources with Marshev’s and Popov’s semiotic theory of gaming’ (Klabbers, 2003). At first glance, i felt this Taxonomy did not help my analysis of TSO as I felt there was a whole level of communication play that was ignored. But Klabbers pointed out to me that there’s a meta game going on here, that deserves a seperate taxonomy. I won’t bore you with all the details I’ve come up with here….but thought it necessary to give you some background info.
I suppose my point in this post is that no matter what MMORPG you are playing there is one aspect of the gaming experience that cannot be preset by rules or game designers, the communication and the societies spawning from this communication. I therefore start to question who owns the ‘play’ aspect of these virtual worlds? Exchange of virtual goods and so on is all very interesting, but what about the sensorship and control of how a game is ‘played’? Can a game designer tuely own the play element of a game? But I suppose there are laws here as well….really need to fresh up on my reading….be back soon with more.

Gaming gets credit for higher IQ scores?

So it’s the first of June and I finally got around to buying the May issue of Wired Magazine (you’d think it would be cheaper). I came across an article written by Steven Johnson revealing astounding research that the world’s population has increased their IQ level even though there seems to be a decline in schools. After much to do about nothing (exaggeration of course) he writes:

” Over the last 50 years, we’ve had to cope with an explosion of media, technologies, and interfaces, from the TV clicker to the World Wide Web. And every new form of visual media – interactive visual media in particular – poses an implicit challenge to our brains: We have to work through the logic of the new interface, follow clues, sense relationships. Perhaps unsuprisingly, these are the very skills that the Ravens tests measure – you survey a field of visual icons and look for unusual patterns.”
Hell! I’ll be stuck quoting this guy all day, if you let me. But what it seems to boil down to is that our relationship with media and technology has made us smarter (if you believe that IQ tests can measure intelligence). It’s an ok read, (sorry, can’t find it on the web) but I keep wondering about social intelligence.
I was talking to a psychologist this weekend and she told me that they’re seeing more and more you people being affected by too much gaming. Specially when they’re about to enter the workforce (think I read an article in BT about that as well). She had an interesting observation or view about it as well. She told me that they suffer from some sort of God complex. They seem to think they can conquer the world, but when it comes down to it, they suddenly see that they have no skills to do this! And this leads to massive depression. I would have loved to discuss this further with her, but a bride craved certain attention as well, seeing as we were at a wedding.
Lack of social intelligence is not new to the gaming discussion. At this same wedding I managed to blurt out ‘Lol’ a few times and once I actually said the words ‘Rolling on the floor laughing’, which basically put a brutal stop to the laughter. But I, personally, have not thought about it from this direction before. It’s an interesting point…one I wish to explore further. Urgh! Wish I had a psychology degree now!