Troll Culture

Like most of you, I cannot get this election off of my mind. I have not been able to focus and write these blogs like I usually do without glancing at my social media every five minutes to see if some new, terrible act has been committed in his name. There is also a part of me that still wants to believe that this cannot be happening, and, despite this dread, I cannot help but know that it is insignificant compared to the legitimate fear that is felt by my black, Muslim, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, Latinx, etc. friends. This lack of focus lead me to conclude that I have to write on something related to the election, but also related to video games.

Enter the troll. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, think of I-r0k from Ready, Player One. They are someone who enters the online community and intentionally stirs up trouble or negativity in a variety of ways, only to sit back and enjoy people’s reactions. They can be innocent and fun, like the infamous Ken M. of Facebook. His comments are often briliiant in their stupidity, and, admittedly, it is a little fun to see people fall for the bait and “feed” him, only leading to more laughs.

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However, there are certainly parts of the internet that are less friendly, and, here, there are much worse people with little regard for social customs or common decency. I would rather not include a picture of some of those comments, as they are incredibly hate-filled, ignorant, and generally unfunny. These sorts of trolls either believe in the validity of their racist, homophobic, misogyny, etc., or do not care enough about these issues to see the impact of their words.

Given this election, I expect that the online community is in for an increase in the number of these sorts of trolls. How do we respond? Do we “feed” the troll and oppose their hateful words? As someone of privilege, I see that words have power, and this is the response that I want to take, but online arguments are extremely unproductive. I’m still very much confused, and there are much larger issues ahead as well. Would love to hear y’alls thoughts.

 

Achievements in Video Games

 

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An example of what an Xbox One achievement looks like when earned. Source

Achievements are a huge part of video game culture.  Almost everyone who owns a console or Steam has earned at least one, and many gamers stake their gaming reputation on how many achievements they’ve gotten or how hard the ones they’ve completed are to get.  There are multiple websites and videos designed to help gamers complete their achievement list for the games they’re trying to complete, and there’s even an entire YouTube channel called The Completionist geared around, among a few other things, collecting every achievement in whatever game they’re covering that week.  There’s no question that achievements help give gamers a goal to work forwards when playing games, especially for open-ended games or match-based games where there might not be that much drive to continue playing the game without them.  However, are achievements really helpful to gamers, or do they merely distract players from the important parts of gaming?

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Castles and Dragons

For all of the good features of today’s world, people still find mythical places in different time periods to be fascinating. This is reflected in the plethora of different worlds in which our video games and movies take place. Whether it be thousands of years in the future or millions of light-years away, everyone has a place from a video game that they would like to live in. For me, this world would be that of Middle-Earth, the setting of The Lord of the Rings Online and every other work in the LoTR collection.

This world appeals to me because of its inherent simplicity. Life in a decentralized, technologically unconnected society such as this one would allow a person to truly live like they wanted to, without the societal pressures of “being successful” and whatnot. There is no law to follow when the authoritative structure is no disperse, and one is governed by what he feels is right, not what someone else told him was right. Without a societal hierarchy that one must necessarily fit into, it is possible to devote the mind and body to whatever pursuit seems right. The satisfaction of really making one’s own way in life, fully depending on yourself or a few relatives for survival sounds enthralling. Essentially, existence is simpler and therefore allows more time for intellectual or physical gain.

Would it be a shock to live in a world with no Facebook or video games? Maybe. I know some people that couldn’t imagine it. But I think that a simpler world would be more fun, and there isn’t a better simpler world than one with all of the mythical aspects of the Dark and Middle Ages that allows one to spend their time as they wish and has no outward societal pressures.

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