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The Hecitorial: Playing UO is not normal. Nor is this news.

Discussion in 'UO Sonoma' started by imported_Hecubus, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Last night I was woken from my slumber by my fiance’, who demanded I watch the latest episode of South Park on TV. I rubbed my eyes and for s econd there- I thought I was playing a familiar MMORPG I used to test in the Alpha and Beta phases.

    It was World of Warcraft. More specifically – it was a South Park episode that made extensive use of the WoW game, which was central to the plot of the episode. Last night- the kids of South Park delved deep into the oft-misunderstood world of MMORPGs, PK’s, powergamers, and developers.

    It was to me- clearly the most wonderful South Park ever made. Sheer genius I call it, precise, in-depth, and horrifyingly accurate. When the South Park kids are talking about “uber-pwnage” I know Trey Parker and Matt Stone really did their homework. Despite the overwhelming success of MMORPGs, it still remains a mysterious and taboo subject for much of our society. The South Park episode really captured the stigmas associated with the world of MMORPGs, its players, and its impact on our culture.

    Case in point- my fiance’. She woke me up to watch the show, and she knew I’d totally geek out on how well they did the show, and come to understand what they’re saying from the viewpoint of a career MMORPG player. But for her watching the show- it really only reinforced the old stigmas of MMORPGs and MMORPG players as being strange, juvenile, and antisocial.

    It really didn’t help my cause of a possible re-commitment to UO, a game I’ve been playing for over 7 years, and something all but absent from the early stage of our relationship.I had been retired for some time, only to be most recently re-energized into returning to the game. For her to watch that show, it raised flags within her own perception about what her relationship with me will be like in the future. Am I going to forsake all societally accepted forms of sociality- music, bars, dancing, alcohol, partying- required for my age, or am I on the fast track to being the powergaming PK depicted on the cartoon- slovenly, unkempt, and antisocial?

    For many of us, this is a stigma that we have carried for much of our hobby-oriented lives. I played D&D as a kid- with all of the social, religious, and cultural stigmas- not because I was an unpopular kid- like society likes to believe- but because I had (and continue to have) a rather active imagination and a creative desire to express it through my hobbies. I’ve led a fairly balanced life up to this point- I’m in senior management where I work, I play sports and used to date frequently before my long term commitment to my fiance’, and by most accounts I appear to be a well-adjusted, stable adult.

    Did you read what I just did? I defended my life! Why, oh why does UO and these other hobbies force us to do that to the outside world? Is it because we are required to have our families, our jobs, and our “adult-type” enjoyment as standard, non-imaginative outlets? Are we just to let our creativity and imagination die at the ripe old age of 5 years- which psychologists tell us is our peak age for creativity and imagination? Are the only sociably acceptable outlets for adult imagination that which we get paid for (such as professional art, music, or thater/film)?
    And so this leads me to conclude one thing: I am NOT normal. That’s right- I am NOT a normal person. Anyone that has to tell you that they’re normal…they generally aren’t. I could sit here and tell you how normal my life is (well I already tried that…). I could get other forum members who know me or have met me in real life explain to you the reader and other people who don’t understand UO, Warhammer, WoW, and anything else ‘weird’ that I’m into that I lead a pretty balanced life, but who cares? I’m not normal. I use my creativity and imagination as an outlet from my everyday ‘normal’ life. And that’s ok.

    But another part of the hobby, or even Otaku- lifestyle, as the Japanese would refer to it understands the grim reality of the image of that powergamer guy in South Park, and how the South Park kids grew fat and unkempt in their quest to defeat him. Are there truths to these stigmas? Absolutely. Have I encountered people depicted like the ones on the show? All the time. ‘So what?’ I say. Okay so- some people who play UO and things of that nature don’t have lives. Maybe normal people pity them for not being able to land a date. Maybe they are disgusted by these people, and to some degree- rightfully so. So what? Do we think the guys who go to football games (and hey I love me some football!!) with their shirts off and faces and bellies painted in team colors- are weird? Yes we do. Do we think people who buy every tabloid and watch E incessantly are normal? Of course not.

    People who don’t have lives, don’t have lives. They will exercise their personal right to whatever hobby, fascination, or fanatical obsession they with to indulge. So I play UO- how is that hurting the ‘normal’ people? So Jimmy collects misfired staples and Jenny has a personal shrine devoted to David Hasslehoff- who does that impact? Maybe some of us have lives and others do not- the fact remains that UO, WoW, MMORPGs, and other ‘weird’ hobbies are all a matter of choice.

    People who don’t have lives could invest in activities that hurt our society, like recreational drugs or substance abuse. How is that any less ‘normal’ than logging on to a freakin’ game? Why does the former get glamorized and romanticized by our celebrities and the films they star in, and result in being slightly more acceptable in some cases than gaming? So- if I want to be normal, I could become a raging alcoholic. Then 8 out of 10 people would pity me, or berate me, instead of the 9 out of 10 that do that now based on gaming. Heck- if I were a movie star, I could rack in the DUI’s to the tune of “Oh poor, misguided, but GLAMOROUS movie star” vs. being caught on UO where it would be “Hecubus: weird, nerdy, and well on his way down from stardom!”

    What we fail to realize when we compare the social acceptance of wearing a cheese-head at every game in Lambeau Field vs. training your samurai to 110 bushido in 17 hours of straight gaming is this: no life equals no life. These activities are merely diagnostic of the core issue, and strictly speaking there is no one-to-one relationship between them.

    UO- just like any other hobby- contains people who have lives, and people who don’t have lives. Playing UO precludes me from any notion of being considered “normal” in our culture. Am I willing to accept that stigma? Well I always had, but it saddens me that it has somehow forced my fiance’ into an uncomfortable uncertainty about how she feels about it. It’s just not normal. It’s addictive and can (as it has in some cases) ruin a life if the addiction takes over a person. But exercising your imagination without being paid for it- in of itself- is not destructive. It’s just not normal.

    I am Jack's uber-pwnage.

    - Hec
  2. Froggmann

    Froggmann Guest

    Apparently not any more...

    This video has been removed due to copyright infringement.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I had a friend call me and tell me to download that episode... I watched it and laughed my ass off the whole time! I recommend all mmorpg players watch it. It's pure genius!
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    <font color="purple"> I was unable to see this. It sounds like it was worth watching tho. As to the normal thing.. hmm I am not normal .. nor have I ever wanted to be... I think you have to be a little bit crazy/ odd/ not normal to be able to make it through life.. so.. no ...not normal here.. and happily so.. Pax, Silk </font>
  5. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    'Normal' has become a tool for advertising.
  6. ironeagle19

    ironeagle19 Guest

    Kol, don’t let university polarize you too much now [​IMG]
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest