Coming out of the Closet

Over the past decade or so, society has become drastically more accepting.  Our community has taken huge strides towards eliminating the stigmas associated with being game.  In the Dark Ages, so to speak, it was not uncommon, and perhaps even expected, for openly game people to be beaten up and mercilessly teased just for their life style choices.  Now, however, there are gamers almost everywhere you look.  We are no longer afraid to wear clothing displaying our game pride or to discuss our culture in public.  Even the government is beginning to support us.  Long gone are the days where we gamers were forced to hide in our basements, to lie about our nature.  We have Game Pride now.  I myself am openly game.  I am or have been a member of many gamer community groups, such as LOTRO, WoW, COD, FIFA, etc.  I have gone to various gamer events.  I’m not hiding from myself, nor am I hiding from my peers.

Some people are GAME. Get over it.

However, there is one threshold I have yet to cross on my path to being completely out as a gamer.  I have yet to come fully out to my parents.  They have their suspicions.  The late nights locked up in my room, the suspicious muffled sounds, the scrambling to conceal whatever it was that I was doing moments before they walked in the door.  The truth is, my home is my favorite place to be a gamer.  Why go to all the trouble of going out when I can just bring that world into my bedroom?  This leads to some awkward confrontations with my parents, unfortunately.

“What were you just doing in there?  What was that voice I heard?”

“It was nothing, Dad.  I was just…watching YouTube.”

“Are you sure?  Because that sounded an awful lot like that Cole Phelps character.  You know how I feel about how much time you’re spending with that boy.”

“Daaaaddddd, come on.  I don’t spend that much time with him, it’s not like that.  I’m not…obsessed.  He’s just a good friend, someone I can go to when I’m feeling down or just plain bored.  He’s fun.”

A disappointed, all-too-knowing look, and he leaves me be.  To be honest, I doubt they would care that much if I told them.  They probably already know.  They’re just from a different era.  I do things outside the gamer world, I really do.  In fact, none of my friends are a part of the game life style.  But when I get some alone time, when the world slows down for an afternoon or so, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.  I love my friends, and I love the life I have on the “outside.”  There’s just something about the game community that draws me back time after time.  To be around that many like-minded people is liberating, and I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent there for anything.

So here goes.  Mom, Dad:  I game.  I live it, breathe it, love it.  I game, and I’m proud.  So the next time you see me shutting the shades in the family room on a sunny Saturday midmorning, don’t sigh and walk away.  Accept the fact that this is who I am.

I am a gamer.

-Deathly Hallowed

A Modest Proposal: For Preventing End-Users from Being a Burden to Coporations or Their Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through the virtual streets of the internet, to see poor subscribers to online games who occupy a prodigious amount of discussions on many a prestigious forum endlessly gripe about “rights” to which entitlement should be granted by subscription to such online games.  These complaints substantially deteriorate the quality of the great internet environment in which so many participate.  These complainers, who know nothing of the law, who want nothing more than to sew unrest, and whose silver tongues are laced with poison of co-creation and open source, are a grave threat to profit; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these “End-Users” sound, useful members of the internet, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many hours upon this subject, I believe I have come up with a useful solution.  The title of “End-User”, though possibly accompanied by respect and prestige in their respective virtual realms, where meaningless prizes and titles may be won toiling  away for hours on end, necessitates a particular lack of physical activity or productiveness in reality, typically resulting in a certain lack of physical shapeliness.  For casual End-Users the effects may be less pronounced, however still present.  While this lack of physique may be scorned in the mainstream media, I embrace those of this physical stature as pivotal in my proposal.

I have been assured by a very knowing colleague of mine at Blizzard, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled.  And I have undertaken extensive research that shows, coincidentally, that the physical stature of a frequent and habitual End-User is remarkably similar to such a child, and that preparation of such sustenance is indeed delicious and nourishing.  This natural resource we have yet to tap is just waiting for some industrious type to come along and procure its obvious benefits.  Any corporation willing to undertake the following method would effectively crush any dissention, provide sustenance to the families of America and increase its customer satisfaction ratings by untold exponential results.

The first step to be made by any ingenuous corporation would be to encourage their End-Users to willingly, or ironically by agreement in a EULA, submit themselves for beta testing or other promotional activity requiring the End-Users to relocate themselves to a testing facility owned by the corporation.  The corporation should make the End-User feel either that he is being included in a special event, access to which would give him something he thinks he will be able take home and shout in the virtual streets, or, for those less enthusiastic End-Users, that he has an obligation beyond challenge in court to participate in this event by the signing of the EULA.  Once relocated, the End-Users of proper stature for the preparation of nourishing food can be immediately taken care of.  The End-Users of a less desirable fitness (those casual End-Users previously mentioned), however, can be contained in the facility and made to play the game, spending time and money on the game while they ripen to the proper physical stature.  Those corporations that are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) can use the inedible parts for other handy uses and flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.  The corporation will be able to sell any excess food that its workers and their families do not consume.

Any corporation willing to follow these humble recommendations will most certainly find itself in a sea of profit and will swell with pride at the customer satisfaction ratings it receives.

Tyler Gilcrest

(Jonathan Swift + Satire = Win)

Toads are Terrifying

by: Calvin Patimeteeporn (Calvirth)

While I would love to describe th intricacies of the Epic Book 1 and Prologue, I can’t because of my horrible LOTRO skills. My inadequate skills of gaming has severely hindered my advancement to higher levels in the game and I apologize for not being able to reach these quests. However, I have a great substitute topic:

Why is this game SO. CONFUSING?

Today, I realized I have more than one sack to place my items in. I also realized that I can eat a numerous amount of food to regain health (morale? I dont know what to call it). I realized that I can, in fact, change weapons and sell items. All of this happened either today or yesterday. Did I mention I’ve been playing for a month?

Yes. A month.

Within that month I’ve discovered the wide variety of objects that can harm or kill me. Bears, wolves, man-eating spiders, and toads. YES. TOADS. How something so small can withstand 20 blows from an ax completely astounds me but I guess Shire toads are extremely resilient. I’ve also been called “n00b” in this game, or even better, completely ignored by other gamers who approach me and then quickly run away when I say, “Hi”. This world confuses me so. A frog can hold up a fight against me but when I fall from a manageable height I am left limping. Or how other gamers interrupt my fight with beasts to land the final blow. Or how it is only when I have very little health left do I fall off a cliff and into a wolf den where I am basically ripped to shreds by “Snarling Wolf” and “Wolf Leader”.

Besides my own frustration with the game, the virtual world of LOTRO that I actually HAVE experienced is amazing. The feeling that I have the entirety of Middle Earth to explore is real and the game designers attention to detail is amazing. It gave me great pleasure to walk around the Farthings and visit famous pubs, or even recognizing characters from the first book.

However, I am fully determined to reach the appropriate levels to enter these quest. Otherwise I would let down my avatar, and Calvirth will not stand for this.

Hear this Toads of The Shire! YOU WILL FALL BEFORE MY AX! I SWEAR TO IT!