Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

So said Einstein.

To be honest, I'm not terribly interested in whether our default reality is real or illusion, at least not for the purposes of this blog. I am interested in the shared realities deliberately created for us, purposeful illusions that hope to be persistent, known as MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games).

I'm a keen player of games, and for the past 4+ years I've been playing Dark Age of Camelot. My time there has come to an end, possibly temporarily, possibly permanent. As I explained over at Zora's Corner, this has been an upsetting process, and I am grieving for the loss of a major part of my life.

People often say things like 'It's just a game' and talk about games and 'real life' as being completely seperate things. But a game can become part of one's life, and if reality is what we can agree exists, as has also been claimed by philosophers, an MMORPG is lent its reality by the people playing it. If a couple of thousand people are sharing a virtual world, spending hours every week acting in it, forming and breaking relationships in it, it is real, if only in the sense that it has a real and sometimes profound effect on the lives of those playing it.

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