Dear Ms. Taylor,
I thought your article was a very interesting bit of ethnography. The online gaming world is commonly viewed by the masses as a bunch of loners delving deeper into the abyss of la-la land. While your article didn’t entirely dispel this notion, it did encouragingly reveal to us that they’re at least making friends with others of their like. Joking aside(sort of), your adventure into the Everquest convention was both entertaining and enlightening in terms of how the boundaries between “real life” and “in game” are blurred for gamers.
One of the seemingly smaller details that you chose to emphasize was that everyone at the convention referred to each other by their “in-game” aliases. This was something that I found really interesting, and which lent your entire experience at the convention a strange sort of “meta” vibe. It also made me longingly think of the television show “Community”, the greatest t.v. show ever. They really enjoyed delving into topics like gaming, or meta-jokes. The show’s been placed on hiatus however due to poor ratings, further proof that this Country is populated by fools too idiotic to recognize genius. Oh the madness.
Sorry about that. Back to the topic at hand. Your experience at the Convention was something that made me think of my own experiences with the online world. While not a gamer, I do interact with people via social networks or instant messaging. You could argue that it is different, and of course it is, because there is no built in digital world which we can become enveloped in, and the absence of avatars cannot be overlooked since it is a hugely significant aspect of the gaming experience. I argue however that digital communication does mimic EverQuest, albeit to a much lesser extent. Something as simple as gchat for example is very much a case of going “meta” so to speak. Conversations you have with friends online, often carry on into “real world” face to face conversations, and the delineation between where the relationship begins and ends is often intensely blurred. Furthermore, someone with the discipline, energy, and cleverness that I do not have could probably make some compelling arguments as to how a person’s gchat name is similar to an EverQuest avatar in many capacities. It’s certainly something worth at least pondering.
Overall, I think you did a great job of bringing the reader into the world of digital gaming, especially for non-gamers such as myself. By the end of the article, while I wasn’t exactly reeling, I could feel and even relate in my own way, to the incredibly complex relationships we experience with technology that in spite of everything feels so bewilderingly natural.