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What surprises you about gaming? Have you ever played MMOGs before? Where did you start your gaming experience? Mario Brothers?

My gaming experience started way back in the day, playing the arcade games at the laudromat as a kid while waiting for the clothes to dry. My bother and I were banned from riding in the carts so my mother gave us a handful of quarters to keep us occupied. So we would take turns playing Centipede, Galaxy and the all-time-classic Pac-Man, which can currently be play at Classic 80′ Arcade Games. The ridiculous amount of money we spent playing arcade games led my parents to buy us the Nintendo (NES) which according to the Classic Gaming Museum was launched in 1985 and accompanied Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. Oh, how gaming has since evolved since then… now it’s online in virtual worlds with virtual people using virtual money.

Okay… so i tried Second Life, has first time user, it’s a little weird. And I am usually not one to judge but it’s a little weird. I have hard enough time staying engaged in my real reality and now I attempting to engaging in a virtual reality. I don’t think this will end well, but I am keeping an open mind. However it does remind me of the Law & Order SUV episode titled Avatars. In that episode a girl was kidnapped from her home, and through investigating, they discovered she was portraying a 14-year-old girl in a virtual world called “Another YOUniverse” creepy. And Second Life also reminds of the 2009 Bruce Willis movie Surrogates. The basic premise is set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots– sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. The cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates. This is Second Life come to life on the big screen.

No matter how my initial feels are about this, it apparently is serious business because there are countless stories about divorce, cheating and adultery in the online world that split up real life couples. Even a young, happily wife wrote about her experience with her husband’s virtual girlfriend in BoingBoing. Now on the flip-side online gaming helps people build character and self-esteem as Ethan Gilsdorf piece in Pschysology Today suggest. The U.S. Army even uses online war game as a recruiting tool. So massive multi-player online games (MMOGs) is not just another form of entertainment but a useful tool for individual or organizations.

And apparently it ain’t a man’s world. CNET News reported on a study released by Nielsen Entertainment. Of the 117 million active gamers in the U.S., 56 percent play games online. Sixty-four percent of those online gamers are female. The women got game! So what’s next for the game industry? I don’t know I am still getting my feet wet … okay maybe just the pinky toe until I get over the weirdness factor.


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