Dear Constance Steinkuehler Dmitiri Williams,
I thought your essay on MMO’s as a new “home” was a very interesting one, particularly in light of the fact that I know many people who spend a large portion of their time immersed in these types of games. My old roommate was an avid player of World of Warcraft, and before that Counter-Strike, and in the latter game I know he was on a team. With his team members he would spend hours socializing in chat rooms, which in a sense reifies the notion that the game can act as a type of pub or coffeehouse as you mention in the article.
Furthermore, I am not entirely ignorant to MMO’s and have played the game Counter-Strike firsthand a few times with my roommate. Having had this experience, I have a working knowledge of the game and am therefore able to acknowledge firsthand that the game can act both as a place of socializing, or as a “bowling alone” experience. If one is on a team like my roommate was it most definitely can act as a place where people can interact and hang out. However, not being on a team myself, if I did choose to play without my roommate, it was in a more pseudo-social manner.
Finally, I must admit that my roommates experience did appear to get more “hardcore”. I cannot confirm however if his relationships with his teammates began to wane due to a more competitive and sports-like “militant” approach that you talk about in your article. It makes sense however, since the more intense and serious a game gets, the less fun and frivolous the atmosphere is bound to become. Lastly, I can also confirm that the game did indeed act as a way of connecting people to each other, especially from different cultures. I have chatted and played with him and his teammates a few times, and one of his teammates was believe it or not from Iceland, and I enjoyed talking to him a great deal if only to learn about the different traditions and customs of his Country, especially in respect to how popular the video game was over there.