I was a very angry child growing up, although as an adult I really have no idea as to why. I do know that I tended to blame everyone and everything for what was wrong in my life, rather than try to do some inner searching as to what was going on. I had, and held onto a lot of anger and resentment for my adoptive parents for many many years. When I was about 15 and they placed me in a boys home because they could not deal with my outbursts. I became much angrier as i felt like I was being abandoned once again. But as far as I can recall I was never physically violent to either one of my parents, but who knows if there might have been from when I was much much younger. I got my ass beat just like any other kid in the 80’s. Now before you abuse advocates and nay sayers get all uppity, let me explain. Yes I called it an ass beating, which is exactly what the term means. I got spanked. I was not physically abused, I only got spanked when I deserved it, and believe me I deserved every one of them. I also should have been spanked many times and wasn’t. A lot of the problems with kids today is that people scream abuse because children are getting spanked. I am not entirely sure how we go from a society where disciplining children through spankings, goes from the right thing to do, to suddenly being abuse. Ya okay, how hard and how long you spank a child could be considered abuse, but to basically take it away from current parents is ludicrous. Anyway, now that I have managed to climb onto a soap box, let me continue with my post. I was angry at the world with no reasonable explaintion. I hated everything and everyone, but to this day I have no idea why. About the only person I did not hate was my little sister. Yes I did the typical older brother role and gave her grief as any older sibling should, but in my eyes it was my job to try and protect her no matter what.
So I have this idea, as I enjoy writing and creating interesting things to read. I thought that I would open up to a sort of collaborative type project in which we get some involvement with others. So my idea is, create a story with characters, locations, situtations provided by a large group of people.
What I want from you, if you have a character idea, give me a name, age, some background, whether they tend to be somewhat good or bad, anything you can think of that will help develop them.
If you have a location that you have created, tell me everything you can about it, weather, landscape anything you want.
If you have a situation you would like explored give me every possible detail you can about it.
This is totally for fun and I think an interesting idea. If you contribute something that is used, you will get full credit for it, and who knows it could turn into something. Let’s get inspired and have a good time creating
In 2007 I had decided to make a move to Spokane, WA to be with my girlfriend at the time, and attend ITT Tech so that I could become a video game designer. As luck would have it, that never panned out neither did the relationship so I moved back to the Tri-cities in 2009. I got my old job back but ended up being laid off a few short months later. I went through a period of self loathing and was unsure of where I wanted my life to go. I had heard from a friend of mine who saw an ad for Charter College, and they were offering a course in Network Security for computers. I thought, alright I will go check it out as I have an affinity for computers and how they work. I called and set up an appointment to speak with the admissions lady. We spoke for about 45 minutes, and she showed me around their campus. Now the “campus” was actually just a building that was housed in part of an unpopluar outlet mall that was slowly dying. The most active “businesses” in this outlet mall were a gym, church and Charter College. I was having some internal conflicts about attending this “school” as I had also been considering the local community college. The final selling point for me was the admissions lady stating that I could finish an 18 month certification program in about 8 months. I was convinced so I signed my life away and started attending two weeks later, one of the biggest regrets of my life. I will get more into that in another post.
Online and Real World Identities
I pour my coffee, slide into my comfy cloth office chair, reach down to my left, push a button and listen to the sound of my computer boot up as if I had miniature jet spooling up its engines under my desk. My twenty eight inch 1080p monitor glows to life, my fifteen button mouse gently pulses blue as Windows boots up. I slide on my 7.1 surround sound Logitech G930 wireless gaming headset as I launch Ventrilo and World of Warcraft. I am Deadsniper, a Tauren hunter, readying myself for a day of questing, PVP (player versus player), and whatever other shenanigans I might figure out.
I am a gamer. I have played World of Warcraft almost as long as the game has been out, with the exception of an eighteen month hiatus. I got into the game pretty hard core for a while, often playing for up to eighteen hours. World of Warcraft (WOW), is an MMORPG, (Massive multi player online role playing game), that was released November 23, 2004. I started playing January 2005. Initially it was just a simple curiosity, since a few of my friends were playing it at the time. I tried it out and instantly enjoyed it. It allowed me to quietly escape my humdrum life, and live as a bountiful character in a fantasy realm. Now, I have always been intrigued by dragons, wizards, and warriors and such from an early age. Playing this game, allows for me to have a more interactive relationship with my childhood fascination.
The immenseness of the game, abilities, and things to do truly satiated my desires of knowing fantasy life. After several years of playing WOW, I had a conversation with my dad where we basically were discussing how things were going for each of us and I mentioned playing WOW. There was a slight awkward silence, my dad sighed and proceeded to lecture me about how it was unhealthy to play these types of games, and that I needed to socialize more. I was the obligatory good son and verbally agreed with him, all the while screaming in my mind that he was an idiot and didn’t know the first thing about WOW. What he didn’t realize then, nor does he realize now, WOW is a mecca of socializing. According to Carolyn Mehlomakulu, a family and marriage therapist;
“I have had clients who were shy or socially anxious when interacting with others in person, but online they were able to be more outgoing and confident. Others may be overly accommodating or always nice in person, but online they feel safe to be more aggressive or express anger.”
It is akin to the older days of chat rooms, Much like today’s IMVU or the older IRC Chat, except now it is a three dimensional experience, with additional ways of interacting. Granted I may be sitting at my computer alone; however I am socializing much like you would do at a bar or a park, by having simple conversations. Most commonly my gaming friends and I use Ventrilo, a VoIP (voice over internet protocol), which allows us to converse by speaking rather than typing messages. I also have friends who live near me that also play WOW and we socialize just as much, often even going to one another’s homes to play together via a LAN (local area network) party. I have played with the same group of likeminded individuals for the entire time of my WOW “career.” We all have each other’s phone numbers, often talking outside of game about everything but the game.
My hunter, or avatar, or toon as is most commonly referred to in WOW, is essentially my alter ego. I chose this particular character due to the fact of having a “pet”, an animal that is able to assist me in my endeavors, and because they use weapons from afar, very much like a military sniper. I can attack, defend, and kill from a distance. This allows me to either be helpful to someone if I feel the need or by simply griefing, (intentionally disrupting another player) someone.
There’s more to someone’s identity than a social security number, passport photo and set of fingerprints but it’s difficult to define exactly what else it is. Is it what the public sees or the inner self? Some would argue that virtual identity is a truer reflection of self than someone’s image in the real world. (Chan)
My character is not me, nor how I define myself; rather it is an extension of who I am and who I can be. I can choose to be helpful or not, much like in the real world. How I in turn play my character each day I am able to, is really dependent on my particular mood. Most often I tend to play merrily on my way, doing things I need to, occasionally helping out others in their endeavors. But, there are times where either a bad day has happened, or someone in game happens to rub me the wrong way and I do my best to unleash an online fury. Along with that though there are also times where I get my ass handed to me and I quietly go away and go back to doing what I was doing. Playing MMORPGs for me can be very therapeutic.
“Jumpstart Therapy Centre in Mumbai (Prabhadevi and Navi Mumbai) which implements video game therapy to treat children suffering from developmental challenges like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Dyslexia, ADHD, Learning Disorders, and Intellectual Challenges. (Khedekar)
I can wreak havoc virtually with zero consequences, and feel much better about life since I have gotten out my frustrations in a positive manner.
Before judging people who invest a great deal of time in virtual worlds, consider that in 2006 a woman became a real life millionaire by investing two and a half years in a virtual community and parlaying that into actual cash.
Anshe Chung, the virtual land baroness, has apparently become the first millionaire in Second Life. That’s millionaire in real U.S. dollars. Her real-world persona, Ailin Graef, figures her net worth based on her substantial in-world land holdings, cash in “Linden dollars,” which can be converted to real cash, as well as virtual shopping malls, store chains, and even virtual stock-market investments in Second Life businesses. (Hof)
I am not saying that it is healthy to live your life completely in a virtual world, but I am saying that it is an opportunity to possibly experience things that you can’t in real life. Take time for yourself, enjoy the things that make you happy, and if you are a gamer, don’t forget, go outside once in a while, your body needs sunlight.
Anderson, Craig A., and Brad J. Bushman. “Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior.” Psychological Science . Vol. 12, NO. 5, Sept. 2001: 353-59. Print.
Chan, Michelle Jana. ”Identity in a virtual world” CNN 14 June 2007. Web. 5 March 2013
Hof, Rob. “Second Life’s First Millionaire” Business Week 26 November 2006. Web. 5 March 2013
Khedekar, Naina. “Game Therapy – Treatment through video games” Tech 2. June 2012 Web 13 March 2013
Mehlomakulu, Carolyn. “Can video game be therapeutic?” Creativity in Therapy. 1 October 2012. Web. 14 March 2013