Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Playing Mass Effect while reading Ready Player One

First, this book has completely drawn me in and if it weren't for work I would spend all day reading it. Maybe it is supposed to draw you in so completely and that got me thinking about how video games are a source of escape from the monotonous nature of real life. In Ready Player One, the virtual universe, OASIS, is the number one played or accessed online program--period. Wade spends almost all of his time logged into the OASIS, either attending class or conducting research that may lead him to a clue regarding Halliday's Easter Egg. I am currently only a little ways into the book but so far the way the OASIS is said to immerse users into the virtual world reminds me of how I feel when I play Mass Effect. A lot of the time I feel like I am the one running around doing the quests, not the avatar Shepard. I will start playing and then, after what feels like maybe 10 minutes, I will look up and see that hours have gone by. Like Wade with the OASIS, I feel like Mass Effect has given me a place to spend my time doing things that are actually worth doing and far more entertaining and engaging than my day-to-day life.


Most other games that I have played, such as the Halo series and the LotR games feel more like what they are and lack the feel of being inside the game and a part of the story. The only other game that affords me the same "measure of immersion" as it is described in Ready Player One is the MMORPG World of Warcraft a.k.a WoW. WoW has created a universe that is so multi-faceted in regards to the shear number of quests that are potentially available as well as the amount of different activities that a player can participate in that no player is the same. Unlike other games, there is no "end" in the normal sense because there are a million different tangents that are available yet not required. Once I heard of someone who wanted to see if she could level from 1 to the max level without ever killing anyone or anything. This was always my reminder that, though WoW is no sandbox, players are free to do anything and everything they want. I often traveled down to the Caverns of Time for the view while i chatted with friends or waited for a queue to pop. Because of this diversity, people become their toons and vice versa. Sometimes I even catch myself signing the wrong name on things, instead of Taylor Morgan I will sign Rolyat the Hallowed.

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