Friday, March 13, 2009

The End?

I didn’t have the chance to use this example during our social control talk but I thought it was a great little story.

Alright so the Goons banned up and invaded this unfinished MMO, “The Endless Forest.” The game’s in the name – players are a bunch of deer loitering inside an endless forest. There are few options in this game – the most you can do is rub against trees, sleep, run around, sniff other’s butts, and by nighttime watch some fireworks – usual deer stuff. But there are no goals, no missions, no levels, no chat.

So the architecture of the game had very little to offer. It’s certainly not a game, more of a virtual world. But there was no real language connection or an economic connection or even a creativity element! It’s just people being deer.

With so little to do, how can a griefer grief? They moo. The Goons spammed "moos" until the Endless Forest was a constant moo symphony. "Moo moo" all day and all night. The other players complained in the game forums and the creators stepped in. But instead of banishing these players to some secluded section of the forest (which they didn’t have), they ended the Endless Forest.

It’s like suiciding to stop name calling. Blowing up a store to stop loitering teenagers. Sinking the sub ‘cause a whale gave the stink-eye

So there’re the Goons, who didn’t take this world seriously; there are the players who took their forest too seriously; and there are the game designers, with no choice but to semi-kill their world. I don’t know if they took their world serious enough to kill it, or if they took it too seriously. I’m only certain that the internet is serious stuff.