Oh, I knew this was coming! I just knew it! And darnit for not blogging my predictions to prove to you that I really knew this was coming!
Clickable Culture has a story about Korean mothers helping their children powerlevel, because being a part of the game and being good at it means so much within the social circles of these kids! It has everything to do with respect and acceptance so if they’re stuck, affectionate mothers come to their aid! I swear…it’s not long before we’re going to be asked what we play and how good we are at playing in job applications and probably even for schools! I’m not sure if I think it’s a good or bad thing. I don’t want to force people to play games – and I kinda feel like that’s beginning to be the case.
Before Christmas I had a conversation with a very conservative and very important business man who incidently is also a father of a nine-year old (in all honesty I truely respect and admire this man, but he’s the exact opposite of hippie, if you get my drift). So we talked about what kind of games he could buy for his son, I suggested Narnia (because I knew both he and I were hardcore The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fans). But he looked at me sceptically and said “But my boy is smart! He gets things other kids don’t get!”, which kinda threw me off guard because even I was looking forward to playing Narnia! He continued to say something like, “No, I’ve been thinking about getting him World of Warcraft. I think it’s crucial that he develops cyber social skills and he will be quite challenged from a gaming perspective!”. This blew me away! Yes! If I’m explaining this messy, let me say it another way! This guy wanted to buy World of Warcraft for his 9 year old son because he found it crucial that his kid learn and know such cybersocieties! I was just flabbergasted!
I responded by telling him that my impression of WoW is that it’s more fun for adults. Kids just don’t find it ‘fun’ enough. I wasn’t going to discourage him with the usual humbug of cybersex issues and the fear of what lurks behind hidden identities, it’s just been my impression that the ‘fun’, the actual game design of ‘fun’ is more amusing for adults. Ofcourse I received some hurt fatherly pride in return! “No, seriously! My boy is soooo smart and mature for his age!”! So I shrugged and told him that I thought it was a great idea and that he should play as well! Great way to keep in-touch with his son when he’s on business travels (which is a lot)!
I don’t know what he decided in the end! I’ll have to ask him soon!
So what was my point exactly? I have no clue, my dear! It’s just one of those days where I’m blabbering my mind! I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s kinda scary when games are becoming so important in social status. There’s a part of me that’s saying ‘yay!’ but there’s a much larger part of me saying ‘Oh dear! What have we created?!’. Games should still be considered fun, a pasttime, a hobby! But I suppose we’re starting to move beyond that now, aren’t we?
Actually my nine-year-old LOVES World of Warcraft. I mean, she plays it very differently to me (like creating zillions of characters and playing them all to level six instead of getting one character somewhere interesting) but she’d play a lot if I let her. I’m mean though, I haven’t even let her install it on her machine. Actually I haven’t admitted to her that we COULD install it on her machine.As for cybersocialskills, tell your friend to just give the kid MSN and let the kid talk with classmates.