easy to think of the worlds created by MMORPGs as independent
entities, far removed and isolated from the real, tangible world.
You hear the phrase "It's just a game" both from the
insiders and the outsiders. There are players who use the phrase
to assert that the game is benign and a new technological past-time.
And there are outsiders who use the phrase to question why people
would do silly things, such as get married or sell virtual items,
in a make-believe world.
But you also hear the phrase "It's not
just a game". When outsiders utter this phrase, it is
almost always in association with a negative real-life situation
- marital infidelity, suicide, familial irresponsibility,
depression and so on. These outsiders argue that some of the
blame should be placed on these games. On the other hand,
there are players who also say this phrase. These are the
individuals who believe that the worlds created by MMORPGs
are not independent of the real world. In one way or another,
their virtual lives have affected their real lives for better
And in telling their stories, these players
answer the critiques of the other insiders and outsiders.
To the players who say that MMORPGs are simple past-times,
they show them that your virtual life is not always independent
of your real life. To the outsiders who think it's plain silliness,
they sweep away the superficial interactions to reveal the
deeper meaning of what appears trivial. And to the outsiders
who want to condemn these games, they tell some happy endings
that the media will never care to sensationalize because nothing
What follows is an interweaving of stories
submitted by MMORPG players. In each story, a player describes
how their virtual lives and identities have altered their
real lives and identities for better or for worse. And by
telling their own personal experiences candidly without being
polarized into superficial stances of black or white, these
players hint at the true complexity of virtual worlds.