Dear T.L. Taylor,
I enjoyed your article on Ever Quest and the connections between online and offline gaming culture. I am an avid gamer so it was easy to relate to the experience. I have never been to one of the conventions because I am not quite sure how to participate or who to be. When talking about the convention you mentioned how very few people used their real names even when discussing their lives offline. This was very interesting to me because these people were willingly blurring the line between online and offline. Many criticisms of video games say that they cause people to lose focus on reality and desensitization to violence. The people at the convention who would only refer to themselves as their game avatar were ignoring who they were in the online part of their lives to mainly shift focus to their online characters. While this is probably common for all conventions of this nature, it is easy to see how people can get so caught up in their avatar that they neglect the person they are in the offline world. A lot of people who play games like these enjoy the escape from real life to fight battles, go on quests, and solve puzzles. If you are not careful, the more and more you escape to the virtual world the easier it becomes to lose yourself in the offline world.
I was not shocked to read about how friendly people were when they finally met offline. In the gaming community I have found it to be very easy to make friends and connect with people even though most of the time you have no idea who they are or what they look like. Every time I start a new game that requires a headset it takes me less than an hour to find a person or group that I will end up playing with every time I load up the game. People seem to be more open to people online because they can really be whoever they want to be. They can be the bad ass avatar they created and bring it to life. But even when people refer to themselves and act as if they are the games character, they always seem to be friendly and helpful.