I was reading this article in an Australian newpaper yesterday, and I suppose I’ve been ignorant of just how far the gaming world has become…it told of people entering virtual worlds… there are 5 million worldwide regular subscribers to online games of these sort… In the game “Second Life”, not only do they pay a subscription fee, but they actually buy “virtual gold” called Linden dollars to help their progress in the game… what’s the point?
A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars. This habitation usually is represented in the form of two or 3D graphical representations of humanoids (or other graphical or text-based avatars). Some, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users.
Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an internet-based virtual world launched in 2003, developed by Linden Research, Inc (commonly referred to as Linden Lab), which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007. A downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called “Residents“, to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another.
Â While Second Life is sometimes referred to as a game, this description is disputed. It does not have points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy, or most of the other characteristics of games, though it can be thought of as a game on a more basic level. It is a semi-structured virtual environment where characters undertake activities for the purpose of personal enjoyment.
In all, more than 8.9 million accounts have been registered, although many are inactive, some Residents have multiple accounts, and there are no reliable figures for actual long term consistent usage.
A 13 year old boy has jumped from a high-rise building in order to join his gaming friends in Heaven, falling 24 stories to his death and leaving behind some notes. The Tianjin boyâ€™s parents told reporters that their son was heavily addicted to gaming, and was behaving like somebody taking drugs. On one occasion his parents found him in a cyber cafe, having not eaten in 2 days.
While I am sure computer addiction exists, I am equally as sure that the people who most suffer from it are missing something in their lives. Itâ€™s sad to read about something like this, but worse to think that families around the world donâ€™t look beyond the symptoms to what may be really causing the problems in a young personâ€™s life.