The Idea That Things Don’t End

So I’m reading Wired last night before I drift off to sleep and a little blurb catches my eye. It’s about MMPORGs:

“I want to see a game that is designed to run for only two years – with a two-year story arc – and a definitive end-date. Much like television watchers are fully aware that [they’re watching] the last season of Buffy, or that Firefly is definitely not coming back, the players would experience that bittersweet feeling of ‘it’s soon over’ rather than having something dragged out until it’s a mere zombie of its former self. Angel went on far too long, and as for 24 MMOGs can learn from this. Live fast, die young.”
Posted on
Alice Taylor, executive producer, BBC

What’s interesting about this is the idea and MMPORGs or any other online environment by default exist forever. It’s true that some online “communities” (good lord I hate that term) go on and on, but many come together, thrive and dissipate — I dare say in a fashion much like other forms of collective organization. In my experience, the vast majority of online “places” I’ve hung out have had a definitely rise and fall, beginning with BBSes in the early 1980s the Bad Subjects listserv in the 1990s and most recently with the apparent demise of the TapeOp board in favor of a much less alluring myspace group of the same name (though there is talk of rebirth and I for one would welcome it). Blogs will work the same way — some that are massive feats of determiniation that have been going for years will one day be abandoned in much the same fashion as those three-entry wonders that will forever populate livejournal.

It’s not even an internet thing. The last chapter of TAP is all about the fantasy of permanence that seems to come with the exteriority of modern media. And yet it’s just that — a fantasy. Media are just extended ephemerality. I’m surprised that people see them as anything but. So yes, a “timed” MMPORG would be a cool and different gimmick, just like the 24 “hours” in 24, but it would not make the temporality of the game all that different from what it already is.

Speaking of things that end, hats off to Sheryl Swoopes for coming out. As she said, now is the time for some of the men in the big money pro sports to come out — while they’re still playing. That would be a big step in the fight against homophobia.

3 replies on “The Idea That Things Don’t End”

  1. Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game. Examples would include Sony\’s Everquest and more recently something like Second LIfe. I\’ve actually never done one (my gaming is very limited), but they\’re really hot among the game studies crowd as objects of research and really advanced examples of online \”community\” (I still don\’t like that term).

Comments are closed.