Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Adventure in the Coat Closet

So I did the tutorial and logged on as Guest.

When I entered the mansion I felt an immediate sense of paranoia...not that I was going to be textually raped...maybe...but over not revealing too much information about myself, about not compromising my real identity. It was very difficult initially for me to comprehend the freedom that comes along with being nameless, faceless, and traceless. 

When I finally finished the tutorial and committed the commands to memory, I found myself in the Coat Closet by myself so I used the @user command to find out how many people were allegedly around. The report read 106 players and I suddenly felt not so alone, but at the same time incredibly awkward because I had no idea how to find them, or if anyone was in the closet with me. I left and explored a good 75% of the mansion only to find one or two other players who were either sleeping or had been staring into space for 20 hours...I felt alone again

Ultimately I found the MOO to be a cool experience, but very boring because of two dominating personal traits: I am an extremely visual person and I am excessively moral.

Maybe I'm just lazy, but reading all the text was very cumbersome to the point where exploring rooms and objects became a confusing and time consuming burden, now this may have been heavily influenced by me pushing a certain button and ending up in a secret room with no apparent exit for a good while and had not a kind player named Brew helped me out, my opinion of the "game" would have been even lower. 

I ended up in Coat Closet again with Brew and Devil-Bunnie where the two entertained me with the actions of previous visitors from my class. I mentioned the article to which the two both responded "its a stupid article" and how the victims easily could have ended the situation. I found this very intriguing how the victims in the article actually allowed themselves to lose control of a situation thus emulating a "real-life" situation.

We then got into a conversation about the class again where I declared that as a gamer, I felt it was intrusive and annoying to ask questions to which Devil-Bunnie responded "I don't know why they come asking us questions, its not like we answer truthfully anyways." Whoa. 

Then it dawned on me that I was having a very difficult time dissociating my real self from my textual avatar, any and all impulses to do something wildly un-me and inappropriate were immediately subdued by my moral code. 

The paranoid feelings, I realized, revolved around a fear that my identity would be misinterpreted, that I would be mistaken for somebody I wasn't because I consider my identity to be my conduct around others. Unlike a video game where my character has a function and an objective separate from your person, in the MOO your function and objective is your person. 

To be Real or not to be Real, this is the question. And is the only differentiation between Virtual and Real technological?

No comments: