Talking To The Inner Hero

My name’s Leigh and I play a MMOG (massively multiplayer online game).

These days this is nothing special, every man and his son plays Counter Strike, Halo online or World of Warcraft. Gone are the times when it was a past time talked about in hushed tones.

Halo Online Screen Grab

Halo Online Screen Grab

The one I play is a super hero based one called City of Heroes. Don’t worry, I don’t actually want to be a super hero flying around in spandex any more than the majority of people who play Halo want to be space marines. (Well, if I happen to be bitten by a radioactive spider and find out I can climb buildings and shoot web from my wrists I’m not going to complain.) I play this game because some of my friends do.

Each week, for a couple of hours, we all sit down at our computers, fire up the game and arrange a conference call on Skype. We spend our time doing missions in the game while laughing at each, talking about other stuff and generally catching up. If we weren’t doing it while we played this particular game we’d be doing it while playing another. If we didn’t play any online games we’d have the same conversations sat in a bar (except for the fact that we live in different cities).

For some people it’s all about the game they play, and I won’t deny that if the game was particularly boring we’d stop, but, for us, it’s as an excuse to talk without being bothered by child or partners.

A report about how teenagers consume media showed an interesting similarity in use. Games consoles connected to the internet are used by teenagers in favour of mobile phones when they want to talk to their friends. (See the report here.) For these young people it is mainly due to cost, but it led me to wonder how many more people will be using games as a form of social interaction with real life friends now that those games are not restricted to hardcore gamers. After all, sitting on the phone talking to a friend for two hours is not as acceptable as having time set aside to play a game with a friend. I could even be suggested that this type of activity is more acceptable than meeting at a friend’s house for a poker night.