The Home Invasion

To the Editor: I read your article on gaming as a family and now I know that I am not alone. My husband and I have a guild in World of Warcraft that our children (eight and six) belong to. When we are not able to play with the kids, then other members of our guild play with them. We have the children of other members guilded as well, and take pride in the fact that we are a very family oriented guild. My son learned to read by the age of four without stepping foot in a classroom through online and console gaming. My daughter gets help with math and reading as we browse the auction house for an item she likes. Their enjoyment of the game gives me a great bargaining tool for enforcing other house rules with homework, chores and ensuring active, outside play.

I have read your magazine for a while now and look forward to each issue. You comment on and highlight often ignored topics on other gaming sites, for that I am grateful. There is more to the gaming world than “leet” gear and I applaud you for bringing that face of the gaming enterprise to light.

-Katherine M.

To the Editor: While Allen’s article was interesting, I found it a strong argument for not allowing dual-gamer couples to breed. Apparently, mental retardation (in the parents, not the kids) is the result. Where are those parents’ brains?

Feeding their 12-, nine- and three-year-olds Cokes? Letting them stay up until 9 p.m. playing totally inappropriate games? Letting them play WoW unsupervised, except to tell imaginary guild friends that the kids are online alone and to watch out for them? Playing Halo and Battlefield Vietnam with a six- and three-year-old? I don’t know if this level of stupidity qualifies as child abuse, but it’s close. I hope local Child Services organizations start paying regular visits to those households.

Some combinations of people should be sterilized when they get married, as they don’t have the combined common sense to do a decent job of raising children.


To the Editor: [Re: “The Third Generation”] The article is going in the right direction, but misses one important point: The average working male doesn’t have the time anymore. Games get more and more sophisticated, and difficulty levels are upped so that the teens and students get some buck for the money. While during that time in my life I spent most of my time solving LucasArts Adventures (from 4 p.m. to late at night), nowadays (being forced to do quality time, and enjoying it, with the family and increased hours spent at work), all I have is an odd hour round midnight.

So, no WoW or Call Of Duty, but something simple like a race game (but not Wipeout Pure) or a kids game is all that will do. Boss Fights like Krauser in Resident Evil 4 finally put a stop to my excursions. Unless the consoles take this into considerations and re-insert cheats for these situations, all I will do is not buy them. If a review says ‘Too simple, you’ll be through in 20 hours,’ now that’s a candidate!

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I am looking forward to the NextGen of graphics, but there is a strong argument for jump points, multiple difficulty levels and a KI that lowers requirements when it sees you’re not up for it. And if I get a different ending or less goodies: so what? At least I got one…


To the Editor: I would like to comment on “Real World Grief” by Allen Varney in issue 19. The first sentence runs: “Individualist anarchism, a political philosophy hundreds of years old, has now been conclusively discredited by massively multiplayer online games.”

In my mind, it is more feasible to have it run like this: “Individualist anarchism, a political philosophy hundreds of years old, has until now been conclusively found to not work in current massively multiplayer online games.” I agree that the new sentence is a bit awkward, but it helps me in identifying the main components, which stop anarchism from working in current games.

The first ingredient to the tincture is the players itself. Human beings are a curious mix of genes and upbringing, and science is not certain so far which one has the greater effect. A mind brought up on violence and having learned to associate violence with pleasure, will crave that form of gratification, and not another. So, when we talk about people not being able to live in an anarchistic, peaceful, self governed, mutual respect governed society, we need to keep in mind that we are talking about current people.

The second ingredient of our analysis is the games themselves. If you look at the current assortment of games, most are built on competition, which is no wonder as they are built within the boundaries of our current culture. Their rules, their environment, their system of rewarding and punishing the player is not built on anarchist principles, so it is not much wonder that anarchism will plainly not work.

Additionally, the virtual world also has some specifics, the real world lacks, namely a higher degree of anonymity, a higher predominance of short term goals and needs, and a lack of data from sensory channels. The visual channel is available, but only gives us substitute images, which programmers and artist put into the game. You cannot see that someone is lying to you from the face of his avatar, you often can see it in real life. Or maybe not see, maybe hear … or maybe sense it. Studies show that a validity of someone’s communication is determined by nonverbal behavior by 90%, which means that when presented with contradicting meanings we rely on our senses and not on the content of the message which is presented to us for evaluating.


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