Monday, April 10, 2006

are you kidding me?

Online games replace monsters with sex
Explicit virtual playgrounds give new meaning to 'multiplayer'

This strikes me as strangely funny, in a bizarro-world sort of way. If life has got you down, if you aren't scoring with the ladies (or men) in reality, you can practice your technique and boost your ego with a virtual pick-up scenario. There have to be npc's in it to make up for the gender imbalance in the playspace - because I have a sneaking suspicion there will be more guys playing than girls. If so, I wonder just how 'easy' this game is. Are the npc's programmed with emotional baggage like the real players? Are there npc's who will turn your avatar down if you aren't in their preferred ethnic/age/etc group? If your name is Dan, will that infuriate the rebound npc girl who was just dumped by her cheating bf Dan and will she throw her virtual cosmo in your virtual face?

While certainly a creative marriage of technology and entertainment, I'm not convinced there is a viable (or at least successful) business here. There are a few obvious stumbling blocks to this new 'adults only' gaming becoming a successful entertainment medium. For starters, what woman is going to play this? Sure, there is the excitement of the flirting with someone over the network, the hookup, etc, but women aren't generally known for being avid porn viewers. And I can't really imagine the point of a point-and-click game where you've just taken off your shirt not because you are upgrading your armor, but because you are making out with some other character. Does the shirt disappear into your inventory or get thrown on the floor in a crumpled heap? How much is graphical versus text based? Do you control character climax? if so, how weird is that? Is there a big O button to click? Are the game controls simple enough for one hand operation? (oh come on, we all know you would have thought of that on your own eventually.)

I suppose if you are involved in a lot of chat-room sex this could take things to the next level by adding a visual component - some of these games are already available as text-only offerings. You'll now have a little idealized character you can pretend is you, hooking up with people who are pretending to be their little idealized characters, and the whole world is thin athletic and pretty and there are no repurcussions for visiting the make-your-own porn room with a guy you just met at the virtual bar this evening. I'm just guessing, but I'm pretty sure they won't have virtual gonorrhea or virtual pregnancies in this game, any more than they would have virtual premature ejaculation or virtual erectile dysfunction. Because the beauty of virtual reality in a computer game is that it isn't reality at all - it is an ideal state of being you can project. It is, for all intents and purposes, the Matrix. It is getting to be whoever you want people to see you as. So what if you are home in a dirty sweatshirt and old track pants eating ice cream straight from the carton? The people on the other end of the game think you're a badass hot chick in a vinyl catsuit and long coat.


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Blogger Tony said...

Why? I think you just answered your own question.

"The people on the other end of the game think you're a badass hot chick in a vinyl catsuit and long coat."

-- Tony

8:11 AM  
Blogger Elphaba said...

true, but I can have people think that for free over IM if I want. :)


9:48 AM  

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