August 21, 2003

God in the console

If you're a spiritual person and a computer gamer (even an occasional one like me), you need to check out Tom Loftus' article God in the console at MSNBC.com. Very interesting moro-ethical and theological implications of the time we spend in virtual worlds. Unfortunately, he doesn't touch on the "next big thing" in gaming: massively multiplayer reality (as in "reality show") role playing games like There and The Sims Online (and, to a lesser extent, A Tale in the Desert) where the focus is on living a quasi-real life in a quasi-real place and developing a quasi-community. (Loftus does briefly mention EverQuest as a mission field -- and from the looks of it, Norrath really needs Jesus -- but he misses the deeper point of why we retreat to these shared worlds in the first place and the significance of our actions when in them.)

Quote: "The average game player can sort out the difference between killing something in a game, and killing someone in real life," said Thomas. "But do they think about the cosmological implications of pretending to be someone in an interactive world created by someone else?" (game reviewer David Thomas, quoted by Loftus.)

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