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Govs in Games with Dr. Richard Bartle

Posted Apr 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

Govs in Games with Dr. Richard Bartle

While attending the 2008 Indie MMO Game Developers Conference, Community Manager Laura Genender had the opportunity to hear Dr. Richard Bartle speak on the relationship between online games and governments; exploring both real life situations and hypothetical outcomes that may be on the horizon.

The first computer game I ever played was Nibbles, the 1991 MS-DOS version of Worm and Hustle published by CLOAD.  In Nibbles, I played a yellow snake that lived in a world of bright blue.  I needed to survive on a meager diet of numbers, overcoming environmental obstacles such as walls and my own body.  If you had told me then, as I eagerly wove my yellow snake toward the delicious number 14, that video game developers would one day be discussing the possibilities of government interference in virtual worlds…well, I would have called you crazy.  What use could kings and presidents have for my lowly number 14?

But this past weekend, I found myself seated at a roughly square shaped table, listening to Dr. Richard Bartle discuss possible scenarios of government regulations and controversies over MMOs.  Bartle, who co-wrote the first MUD back in 1978, has been making games since before Nibbles was a gleam in a developers eye.  As a man whos been at the helm since the birth of persistent online environments, Bartle has a lions share of ideas and understandings about how this industry works.

As MMOs gain more popularity, with big-ticket titles like World of Warcraft, the government is starting to notice the issues and possible profits that surround our online worlds.  Bartle first presented a scenario that is not just a “what if”, but a “is happening” across the seas in China.

Read more here.


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