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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: A Deep Sadness with Culture

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67 posts found

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16297

OP  10/18/13 4:23:07 PM#1

There is little argument that MMO players represent a microcosm of the world at large. Occasionally, however, gaming becomes an escape from the forces that shape our lives. In today's Devil's Advocate, we take a look at culture, gaming, sadness, escapism and more. Check it out and then leave us our thoughts in the comments.

I’m not quite sure how today’s Devil’s Advocate will turn out, as I’m taking a different approach to writing this today. Instead of having an entire plan in mind, I just simply wanted to talk to the readers about something that came to me in between writing for and my day job at

I feel a deep sadness inside as a result of the combined workload that I have. This isn’t because I have to write a lot, but because all the writing and monitoring of responses on my written work makes me see gaming culture as a subset of the human condition and the culture of the world.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: A Deep Sadness with Culture

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 2/22/06
Posts: 1503

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the priviledge to do so as well.

10/18/13 4:37:08 PM#2

No matter what we do in RL, there are key moments in our lives when we have to re-evaluate and change, if needed, aspects of our perspective of life. 

GL in all you do.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/18/10
Posts: 1191

"I am not the light, or the darkness, but the twilight in between"

10/18/13 4:42:57 PM#3
The "real world" is highly overated.
Still, I hope you find what your looking for.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 402

10/18/13 4:44:42 PM#4
You are an empathetic, reasonable and intelligent man and I enjoy reading your column. Don't be gone too long.

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2280

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

10/18/13 4:50:27 PM#5

Right now, I'm reading Edward Castronova's Synthetic Worlds.  One of the main themes of the book is how people gravitate to MMOs is because the real world is so unsatisfying.  In reality, you can work and work and work, and never see it go anywhere.  Here in the virtual world, work is rewarded.  In reality, people face discrimination.  In the virtual world, everyone is equal.  In reality, you are stuck with whatever fate has given you.  In the virtual world, you can be who you want to be, and do what you want to do.

And you know, Castronova makes a good point.  I don't think any one of us who dove into these things headlong did so because life out there was interesting, rewarding or satisfying.  A lot of us came here because of some tragedy or stagnation in our own lives.  I sure did.

What made me break from MMOs is when they became just as problematic as the real world...maybe even moreso.  The CoH shutdown, the cash shops, the discrimination in the form of voice/non-voice use, the callous indifference players have towards e3ach other in the new games, the hatred of playstyles all made me realize that "hey...this MMO world is far more problematic than the real world."

"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/10
Posts: 1362

The strong are sometimes wrong but the weak are never free.

10/18/13 5:00:54 PM#6

"The game is just a game but the players are real people."

True also of forums, posters and writers.

I don't always agree with your conclusions but you always bring up topics of substance and worthy of discussion. The problem is that while much is said, little is discussed.

All die, so die well.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2197

10/18/13 5:10:59 PM#7
Originally posted by Beatnik59

Right now, I'm reading Edward Castronova's Synthetic Worlds.  One of the main themes of the book is how people gravitate to MMOs is because the real world is so unsatisfying.  In reality, you can work and work and work, and never see it go anywhere.  Here in the virtual world, work is rewarded.  In reality, people face discrimination.  In the virtual world, everyone is equal.  In reality, you are stuck with whatever fate has given you.  In the virtual world, you can be who you want to be, and do what you want to do.

And you know, Castronova makes a good point.  I don't think any one of us who dove into these things headlong did so because life out there was interesting, rewarding or satisfying.  A lot of us came here because of some tragedy or stagnation in our own lives.  I sure did.

What made me break from MMOs is when they became just as problematic as the real world...maybe even moreso.  The CoH shutdown, the cash shops, the discrimination in the form of voice/non-voice use, the callous indifference players have towards e3ach other in the new games, the hatred of playstyles all made me realize that "hey...this MMO world is far more problematic than the real world."

i think your realization here is once again tilting to the one-sided. gaming worlds are not worse. they contain the same human beings as the real world does. and while it may seem that people act out more in gaming worlds i can assure you i have seen my share of acting out in the real world.


im not defending virtual worlds over real ones. instead i am suggesting that the inhabitants of those worlds are all, currently, human beings.


i did enjoy the suggestion you pointed out in Castronova's book that in the real world your work is more often than not unrewarded. in virtual worlds you put your labor in and in some fashion it is directly rewarded. the real world prefers to separate you from your labor. it tends to make the fruits of your labor a product that is completely disconnected from the time and effort you put into it.


we are of course speaking very generally here. there are surely exceptions. but overall i think this is a good point to think about.

"There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse


Novice Member

Joined: 6/14/12
Posts: 82

10/18/13 5:11:24 PM#8

Hey, man - don't worry too much, if you're feeling bummed out about seeing all these negative events going on in the world. Turn the TV off and game for a little while. Reinstall something you enjoyed several years ago.


Nietzsche said something about staring too long into the abyss, that it stares back at you. If you're constantly immersed in news related to tragic events, you'll get bummed out. At newspaper organizations, reporters that are assigned too long to depressing projects are given time off. I assume web-based news organizations have something similar.


I know I've enjoyed your articles, and hope to see more of them.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 1317

10/18/13 5:23:55 PM#9

Great article & insight.


It is sad. Three simple words to describe the calamity that is this microcosm we continue to entertain ourselves in.


I can go on about how gaming has changed over the past decade and further back my theory with references to the selfishness that is "Generation Me", but in the end it no longer matters. I am old enough to see the problem from the outside looking in, and wise enough to realize there is nothing I can do about it.


The same traits that plague the ills of the world have invaded my beloved MMOs, and there is nothing I can do about it.


The same bullies and degenerates that have stained society for decades now inhabit the digital domain under the guise of screen names and anonymity, and there is nothing I can do about it.


The blame can be framed onto just about anything with the proper use of words and "Google Facts", but the simple fact is morality as a whole plays a backseat to elitism, and there is nothing I can do about it.


But can do something about it, and did just that with this wonderful column called  "The Devil's Advocate."  It will be sad to see it go, even just temporarily, but at least there is something I can do about this, I can simply say thank you. Two words often taken for granted.


Thank you for providing insight into the gaming community we all have in common.

Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to provide meaningful content.

Thank you for taking a risk and examining the often controversial topics associated with this hobby we all love.

And thank you for sharing your talent Victor.


A lot of us give a bad rap due to what seems like an unfair ban system, but they are simply trying to conduct some sort of civil discussion about games while maintaining a business model that allows them to draw in the talent needed to run a successful commercial website. It's not an easy job, some of the disruptive comments in the past topics from this column prove that. These same disruptive individuals have no idea the harm they cause themselves and others by mere words typed on a screen, nor do they care. It is similar to what goes on in the real world, except on here they hide behind screen names and cleverly disguised indirect insults in hopes of not getting banned just so they can continue their disruptive streak, and when it does come to an end, they simply create a new account.


How does that old saying go? "No one is racist until they get on Xbox Live"


Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/14/10
Posts: 1980

10/18/13 5:30:47 PM#10
I think a lot of people can understand and connect with you on this article.  The problem is that what matters can change and morph constantly.  Try to find a happy medium I guess.

Wa min God! Se æx on min heafod is!


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

10/18/13 5:31:47 PM#11

A thoughtful article so I'm going to weigh in thoughtfully. 


It does you no good to worry about world peace or hunger.  These are abstracts thrown out by people with political agendas to build power and promote their own ambitions.  There is nothing you can do for world peace, world hunger, or to save the planet, other than act compassionately and sensibly in your own little part of it. 


You think you are conscious of what happens in the world because it comes across your desk, but that is actually an illusion you create in your mind to feel miserable at the world for some reason.  If you didn't watch the news and be bombarded by negativity, the only change you would feel is a growing optimism because day to day, person to person, life is not so bad as is portrayed in the media where we are constantly bombarded by stories and images filtered through partisan bias.


Now in regards to the internet, it is neither more honest or less so.  We represent the most vile and enlightened, the most cynical and most idealistic.  We are all extremes and everything in between, which is to say, not really representative of real life interaction where human beings must self edit their thoughts and words or suffer the consequences, in whatever form they take.  Because worst of all, much of the internet feels anonymous, which seems to embolden some to greater extremes.


I think it's good for you to step away.  You will most likely find yourself feeling a little better about life, real life, and not the one you imagine is happening in the world. 


And if you step away permanently for your own mental health, I think you'll find the world goes on regardless of whether or not you take a stand or roll over.  People will still wake up hungry in parts of the world.   There will still be wars.  There will still be racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and all the other behaviors we have of interacting with one another, because it's in our nature, and when you push back against that, it's perfectly natural to feel frustrated.  In fact, I think that is part of the problem, but as I said, I don't know you.


Take care, and I hope you find some peace of mind.




Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

10/18/13 6:47:20 PM#12

The world, so vast and tiny, full of screaming in the silence.  Be well and heal.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/13/10
Posts: 2131

10/18/13 6:58:48 PM#13


I have been and sometimes find myself back in some of the places you have experienced.Stepping away...taking a breath...experiencing some quiet can sometimes bring clarity.In my life I have a wife who I can share my thoughts...and it helps.

God bless you.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/28/11
Posts: 672

10/18/13 7:17:51 PM#14

Best article I've ever read here. It kind of reminds me of Jerry Maguire ;)


There is a lot of rubbish on the internet and in various threads, but I just realize the bitterness is coming from people who are suffering in some way and seek to justify the various grievances they carry. By forgiving (which is a direct expression of mercy and compassion) we can let go of our grievances and become lighter and happier. It benefits ourselves, but also makes the world better, I believe. 


And I do agree that it is far better and wiser to become a master of forgiving (ourselves and others) than a master of debate on the internet.

  User Deleted
10/18/13 8:03:31 PM#15
I simply read this article and read enough of your other articles, I can see where you're coming from. I hope you can ultimately follow your heart and not your pride.

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/25/11
Posts: 559

10/18/13 8:15:58 PM#16

I enjoy your articles.  There will always be tension, both in mmos and life.  I work in the medical field and see people crippled and impaired from mild to severe.  I am more empathetic now than I was before, and I think it is a good thing, even if I share more of people's pain.

psalm 27


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/16/10
Posts: 4

10/19/13 12:07:22 AM#17

Great articles.  Keep up the good work and take the time to clear your head of anything that's bothering you.


Good luck in whatever you choose.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/06
Posts: 35

10/19/13 1:19:59 AM#18
Rather new to gaming - no time until I retired.  Will check out Rappler for news.  The regular networks are absurd - like Brian William's concluding his broadcast announcing that  Beyonce    was  pregnant.  This world is losing - join SETI while we may still have a chance with additional help...  Take care.......

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/03/08
Posts: 42

10/19/13 2:29:47 AM#19

To paraphrase the Buddha:  "The world sux!".


And the Nietzsche quote about the abyss staring back begins: "Beware chasing monsters in case you become one yourself."


Thank you for a wonderful column.



Advanced Member

Joined: 12/02/04
Posts: 2719

10/19/13 7:19:11 AM#20

Hope you find what your looking for OP.

Remember where all human beings from same planet same race brothers and sisters, men and women(which btw if men where smart enough(im affaid most airn't and acknowledge women as there equal, world would be alot better place to live in) whatever skin color you have ALL ARE EQUAL, religion or not.

Get rid of money material needs, in one word CAPITALISM<===EVIL hehe and world would be also better place to live in.

You eather GOOD or BAD, the choice is yours which one you wanne be.

Im btw Atheist and not closeminded:P

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