I was setting at my favorite table at Firestorm Café and Books the other day. As I was drinking my coffee I felt like I was in an episode of Star Trek or maybe one of the Star Wars Trilogy. A couple of tables over, some guy was playing World of Warcraft (WOW) on his computer. The ‘zaps’, ‘boings’ and ‘whistles’ from his computer sounded like what it was – something from another world.
I got to talking about it later that day with another friend and was surprised to learn this “World of Warcraft” is not only popular, but apparently very addicting too. Seems like 11.4 MILLION people world wide play this game. I did a little research online and what I found kinda surprised me.
The average player is male and in his 40s. He works 40 hours a week and spends another 40 hours – or more – playing WOW. Marriages have broken up over this stupidity, relationships tanked, jobs lost and children and pets left to die of heat prostration in closed up cars.
So why this fascination with a game that costs each of it’s users about $15 a month to play? Simple. They don’t have a life. At least not in the real world. They’re so busy trying to capture land and explore their virtual world that they can’t see the trees right outside their own window in the real world.
How do people get this way? Hell if I know. My friend went on to tell me he has a roommate that plays WOW – religiously. His roomie comes into the apartment everynight and doesn’t say a word – not a hello, a goodbye, a kiss-my-foot or anything. He just goes straight back to his room, closes the door, turns on the computer and settles down into a metal folding chair for another night of alien attacks.
I’ve met the guy that rents a room from him. He’s 44, balding and a nerd. He can’t carry on a decent conversation – unless it has to do with WOW — and he is habitually late for work. The only time he interrupts his efforts to save galaxy-whatever is to order a pizza and coke. The next interruption happens when the delivery guy knocks on the door. Then it’s back to a lame game that has millions addicted and shelling out $15 a month to live in a fantasy world when they could live in the real world for free.
Maybe it’s a control issue. Maybe they’ve just gotten to the point that the real world is – to them – so uncontrollable that they have to set with eyes fixed on a 17 inch world where they have some semblance of control.
Whatever it is, I kinda feel sorry for them. If they would just push back from the screen for a few minutes and walk outside, talk to neighbors and stroll around the block, they would see that they can have more of a life than just what you get for $15 a month.