Tuesday, 9 November 2010


My keyboard, because it is part of an exceptional gaming rig, illuminates so that when I'm sitting here in the darkness, in a little bubble of electronic light, I can see the keys. This is very handy because before I worked out how to turn on these subphalangeal lights I used to type sentences that looked kuje thes whisc was very unfortunate. (And was breaking my backspace key - segue, do you use backspace or delete? I am a staunch backspacer but so many people I know use delete, which I think is weird, possibly because my little finger can't reach the delete key).

It also means that on the nights when I want to totally immerse myself in what's on my screen I can, with no ambient light to distract me aside from the ghostly glow off my hands and arms as I tap away at the keys.

Some of my favourite writing has come from darkness. It's ghostlier, lonelier. IT inspires me to think about what I'm writing and to look into my own experience and thoughts instead of relying on my vision. And that's something I enjoy very much.

The other thing the illumination is useful for is the very thing for which it was invented - namely, gaming. That is, staying up late and playing online roleplaying games... Nothing is as likely to get me the polite stunned gaze as the admission that I game. That is, assuming people have ever even seen game used as a verb.

Gaming seems to conjure up images of adolescent, tumescent boys without girlfriends who needed something to sandwich in between their rabid downloading of free porn and is often viewed suspiciously. Those with slightly more idea of what it involves will tell third hand stories of a friend's auntie's cousin who lost his job and wife and had to be surgically removed from his chair after three months of World of Warcraft.

So where does a 29 year old, employed, wife and mother fit in? Well research will tell you that I will fit in quite nicely. Although traditionally women gravitate more towards the Second Life/SIMS type games, they also play the combat games too. I like to believe that all do it solely for the enjoyment, but there's obviously an element of notoriety as well, as any female who's ever joined a vent channel in an all male raid will know. It's the easiest way to meet men you've ever seen.

I play because I've always played computer games. From PitFall and RiverRaid on our old Commodore 64 I've loved strategy games and RPGs. When we first got together 10 years ago Bingley and I used to spend many a broke afternoon playing Diablo II together, levelling our characters and finding new loot and relaxing in the same way that others will in front of the latest movie. The difference with a TV and a game though is that you get to interact. It's a choose your own adventure book that you can watch like a movie.

A few years ago now, Bingley started playing Everquest, I think while I was just starting medicine. The concept fascinated me, a regular computer game where you have to finish quests and find things to get to other things and defeat bosses (pretty standard format) but where you could play with other people over the internet. People from all over the world would be logged in to this little world, and you could chat to them while slaying a dragon and wearing plate armour.

The childish imaginative side of me loved this to bits. It's a dress up party that's totally opt in or opt out. The game we play now has so many facets that there truly is something for everyone. You can potter around your house and decorate, you can make things to sell, you can quest for shinies, or you can group with others and conquer ogres and trolls and mythical beasts. And you can chat away at the same time.

I've met people from Norway, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, England, Denmark and all around Australia from this game. After a stressful day at work where I'm wound up like a spring I can log on, blast away some gnolls and skeletons all the while chatting to an IT guy in Adelaide and an Engineer in Denmark. And I love that. It's almost totally replaced meaningless tv for me these days, because I love that interactivity. It's msn with dragons.

And yet the nerdly tag still follows me around, questioning my interpersonal skills and wondering if I've got a family sized box of cheetos next to me while laughing with a little snort and squinting through my coke bottle glasses. When the reality is I play mostly stretched out on our King lounge suite, with music in the background and my well adjusted children in bed.

Some people like to spend the evening with a glass of wine - me, I'd like a fabled set of spaulders with a spell reuse proc to increase my overall dps so I can top the parse thanks.

For fellow nerds, just in case you haven't watched this cult tv show http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Pwnage it cracks me up. And Bingley cracks up at the fact that I can follow the dialogue. Apparently it's a turn on to have a wife who can use pwnage in a sentence.

1 comment:

kalita said...

I think the problem with MMOs is the perception that nerds do play them. It is very rare that I will come across someone in WoW who is as geeky as me, and often when I mention even something as 'mainstream' to me as actual tabletop RPGs I am met with virtual blank looks.

I have played WoW for nearly 4 years now, but the stereotype doesn't apply for most people I've 'met' in game. And, as you know, lack of interpersonal skill carries over to the game, and thankfully it's even quicker to dismiss dicks online than you can IRL. I still play WoW because of the awesome people, and I'll admit it was great escape for me in the months after my daughter died.

Plus, it's my duty to educate these young padawans on their gaming heritage. It didn't just start with Warcraft, there was Diablo and Planescape: Torment, and Baulder's Gate, and Bard's Tale that was completely ripped off from original Dungeons and Dragons, and D&D borrowed heavily from LotR. I am not a nerd, but I am proudly a geek ;)


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