Is it just me?

So I’ve read up on some of the ‘love’ articles that blossomed in the virtual world blogosphere (ok…that’s a bizarre choice of words) during Valentine’s. I’ve been in such a lovey dovey mood this week that I felt it was the perfect time to read about scrumptious love affairs that would let me fly away on a pink cloud of romantic dreams and regain hope that my sweet delicious prince would swoop me into his arms and take me away to a land of love and happiness.
But no no! There’s something wrong with me! I can’t wallow in this sweet delight! Now to be fair…I only managed to skim through two articles, Mark Wallace’s “Love in the Time of Pixels” and Wagner James Au’s “New World Valentine’s”, before I gave up on the whole thing. I mean it’s the same old story isn’t it? Find love in-game for there they see the ‘real’ selves because it’s all ‘virtual’! And then they meet up in real life and live happily ever after! Do they? It’s just so completely off track from my research in The Sims Online. I didn’t encounter anything but real intense heartache in there! I met people all the time who had found their ‘mate’ in TSO, met them in real life, moved to other person’s city or country….and not once did I encounter a ‘happily ever after’ story. They all ended in heartache! But then again…I have often played with the idea that TSO is some form of dating service…maybe the happy couples didn’t find the need to play anymore, so I couldn’t find them.
However, this made me think about most of the news blogs on virtual worlds. They’re very one-sided, aren’t they? There’s not a lot of objective journalism going on. It’s all pretty much the same story all the time. You know the drill, gamings great, look what gaming communities have created, what idiots the game producers are and idiotic people who don’t understand gaming, whining. Which is why I was so pleased when I read David Sirlin‘s Gamasutra Soapbox article, “World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things”.
I don’t necessarily agree with him. But it was so refreshing to see a true gamer coming with some genuine criticism of gameplay! Ofcourse, we don’t actually start these blogs unless we feel passionate about what’s going on! I’m not saying that we need to bring genuine journalistic integrity and objectivity into these blogs…but I am missing some criticism of what’s going on. It’s not all a bed of roses. And to be fair, these love stories were written in honour of Valentine’s Day, not exactly the occasion to look at some of the heartache issues. I just couldn’t read them without thinking to myself “Hold on! Surely this must be the exceptions and not the genuine rule!”. But then again, I’m far from normal!
As for love…well…I guess I’ll just have to start playing ‘Rub Rabbits’ which is SUCH a cool idea!! I can’t wait to try it! I really should start looking into some funding for our department to help with all this gaming research! Because my student budget just isn’t good enough!
But talking about love, I definately need to share this with you! Would you believe a guy I had just met approached me with a beer infested burp, a wink of the eye and an unstable hand on my shoulder with “You want to come over to my place for some Hot! Hot! Coffee?!”, last night?!

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