Dear Steinkuehler and Williams,
It has alway been very difficult for me to understand how people can become so addicted and so involved in video games. To this day, I still find it unusual how some people can spend hours behind the computer or their television and live part of their lives in a virtual world. Because these people are spending so much time playing these games, social capital and interpersonal relationships are decreasing and becoming more difficult to maintain for them, as you have mentioned. However, after reading your article, I have gain a bit of understand of the reasons why someone may choose to become so submerged into these games. You both bring up an interesting point that these MMOs can be seen as a a "third place". Usually we think of the third place being something like work, school, or even Starbucks, but now so many people are playing these games that it can be seen as another environment where they spend the most of their time. The reasons for this, I believe, is that they can create any image that they want (usually opposite or an inflated version of themselves). Like the article mentioned, "an individual's rank and status in the home, workplace, or society are of no importance". Whoever they are in the real world is totally irrelevant and in these virtual worlds they have, in essence, a chance to start over and become everything that they have always wanted to be. In many ways this is a very frightening thought because these world are mainly built on anonymity. You never know who is behind the computer screen. But on the other side, the people playing these games feel secure behind their avatars and the reputation they have built in the MMOs. Overall, I think the these virtual games are just for fun, but many people take it to the next level and even devote part of their lives to it which I think is kinda scary and weird. Nothing is more important in communication than face to face contact and everyone, even these gamers need this as well.