Confessions of a 30-Year-Old Gamer

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The author's avatar in the online video game World of Warcraft

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Of course, even as I write this, I'm not completely convinced. The anonymity of the Internet and digital worlds allows for amazing incivility. And in mid-November I watched one of the most devious acts I've ever seen in a MMOG. A guild decided to hold an online memorial service for a player who'd died in real life. In a macabre but heart-felt gesture, the player's character was accessed and brought out to a lake in an area known as Winterspring. A rival guild caught word of the event and ambushed the other players, killing the deceased person's character first and then killing everyone else in the guild. The rival guild then posted a video of the entire event online.

I suppose these are just the same kind of problems we deal with in the so-called real world—certainly I see my share of the same walking down any street in New York.

But even getting past that, I still have one problem of my own, one that I still haven't solved. My son is six now, and no longer willing to accept my proclamations unquestioningly. On Saturday evening, he is liable to wander into the room, stare at the screen for a few seconds and then ask questions—Who is that? Where are you going? Did you win?—that I am too afraid to answer. I still can't shake the old taboos, and part of me wants desperately to impute them on my son. I am clear on what's being recreated on this second earth. But in age of climate change and war, I afraid I might be teaching him to abandon the first.

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