When you see an acronym do you spell it out, or do you try to pronounce it the way it's written? Personally I like to try to pronounce it, so when I talk about M.M.O.R.P.G's I'm talking about mmmorpgeh's... mmorpjeh's... mmmorpguh's?
Well what I'm really talking about are Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. Of course you knew that already though right? If you didn't, you might not know what a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game is, so let's start there. A MMORPG is a video game which is played online massively... role-playing multi... it's an online game where you can play with others in a virtual (usually fantasy) environment. Many such games like Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft require you to create a character which you then improve upon by gaining experience, earning money and acquiring items within the virtual world. This is done by completing quests and killing things and killing things some more.
MMORPG's have become a social and anti-social (yep apparently that makes sense) phenomenon over the past decade. Game addiction has been compared to an addiction to gambling or even alcohol, as cases of divorce, job dismissal and even death have been tied to an excess of online gaming. In Shanghai a player was convicted of murdering another in real life over a disputed piece of virtual property after an attempt to involve the police failed. (They don't have laws which cover virtual property) The question of virtual property itself is creating economic interest, as these virtual items can sometimes be sold for real money on auction sites such as eBay.
With millions of players online worldwide (an estimated 30% of the population of South Korea is registered), MMORPG's are becoming more and more relevant each year. So what do you think? Do you play? If so, then which game? Will virtual life replace real life in a dystopian future ruled by robots?
Or, as in Conor Kostick's Epic, maybe a MMORPG will control every facet of real life: your school, your job, how much money you make... until a rebel teenager upsets the balance, of course.
Also, don't forget to check out some of our real life resources on virtual reality. Mmorpgeuh!