Gary Alan Fine reveals in his book Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Worlds, “Players sometimes become so engrossed in the game that they may shelve their natural identity and temporarily adopt one of their characters” (11). I stare at my computer screen and decide if I want red or purple hair, if it should be short or long, and what hair style do I like. Choosing the way a person wants their character to look is very important as it represents oneself in the virtual world, even the name given to the avatar has significance. There is an intense connection between the player and their avatar. A large part of role-playing games is the interaction between the avatar and the player because they start to be an extension of oneself and people start to be them in an unexplainable way. It really is like having a alternate life. Role-playing games are so simple and complex at the same time, a person can easily become addicted to the world and daily life of their character.
R.V. Kelly 2 from Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games: The People, the Addiction, and the Playing Experience, asks the question, “Why would anyone abandon real life to immerse themselves in an invented universe?” (8). Kelly then goes on to explain his own addiction to the role-playing game he has chose to study and his amazement with his experiences. Role-playing games become very addictive both for the social interaction as well as the enjoyment someone gets from conquering a high level monster, getting better armor, or finishing a quest. The daily life of someone’s character can include such mundane tasks as cooking, shopping, picking out your clothes, fishing, swimming and so on. Why would some people rather do these acts in a video game world than in the real world because they just seem so much more exciting in the fantasy world.
Role-playing games are adventures that are experienced with friends that have been acquired throughout the exploration of the world. They’re bonds forged from many deaths, new horizons, hard work, and lots of fun. Through Kelly’s investigation and research he states, “For some players guild life is obviously the adhesive that sticks their eyes to the screen for months at a time, so it’s a fundamental component of MMORPG culture” (36). Guilds are a social structure within the game where people work together for a common goal. Kelly’s statement confirms the need for the social interaction to keep people playing the game. Part of the addiction to playing is the bonds formed with the other players. Role playing games are social networks with virtual bodies and all kinds of cool weapons and armor.
Gary Alan Fine says fantasy role-playing games parallel war games, educational stimulations, and folie à deux (6). These different aspects have attributed to the compulsion to play. To get farther in the fantasy world one has to fight unsavory creatures, which levels the character and makes them stronger. Every character has...