Monday, July 25, 2011

Confessions of a Budding Gamer

Something new and slightly disturbing has been happening on themacinator homefront. This new thing is Glitch. I've written a few times about my struggles with addiction, and while I may sound like I'm belittling addiction when discussing things like baseball and Diet Coke, I don't mean it that way at all. If you read this (basic) defintion of addiction, you'll see where I'm coming from. Clearly, addiction is not ruling my life, which I am thankful for, but it's something I think about, and fight. I would love to turn off this A's game right now. It's ugly. And I can't. See #7: "Desire to cut down. Have you sometimes thought about cutting down or controlling your use? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use?" Answer: Yes.

So I've found a new problem. I am a beta tester for the new thing in MMO's, Glitch. I have never played, or wanted to play an MMO. I honestly don't really know what an MMO is, and am linking to the wiki because I have nothing better. It's my understanding that these are games, basically, where many people play online together. Sometimes, many people play online together for many, many hours. Massivly addicting multiplayer online games. Let it not be said that themacinator did not spend too many hours on her computer prior to discovering the MMO. I have been a screenager since I was a small child on a grey-scale Mac, and though you won't catch me reading an e-book, I do use the computer A Lot. A lot a lot. But I've avoided it as a source of Step 5: "Neglecting or postponing activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of your use?" for the most part. I do remember a time in my chlidhood where my sister and I would tell our parents that we had to wait till it was a good time to pause, or until we died, to eat dinner, or whatever we were supposed to be doing.

Glitch is my new addiction. I heard about it through some people on Flickr, including some people who left to become employees at Glitch. I heard it would be beautiful, and like no other game anyone had ever seen. So far, this has proved true. It's gorgeous. And it's like no other game I've ever played: it's not competitive. It's cooperative if you want it to be, and can be played alone, or in groups. Until the last two tests, there were no bad guys. There are a couple of bad guys now- the "Juju's," who look like upside down Jell-o cups and steal your stuff, and the "Rook," who attacks animals and requires cooperative play to stop. Get this: there are NO weapons. A pacifist gamer's dream.

Here is what I wrote in the Glitch Forum, a little paean to Glitchiness:

The discussion about herbs, and what they're good for, made me realize why I like glitch. I'm not much on the herbs myself, but I love going to the community garden and gardening. I collect purple flowers, and hand them out to others standing in there, tend the garden, keep a few rubeweeds and hairballs for myself for trips to nostalgia-land, and then head to a mailbox, where I send 1000c worth of mail to all of my friends: a flower per friend! I love a game where it's fun to hang out and make people happy.

The backstory, and so personal, envision my dia-de-los-muertes glitch lying on a therapy couch, is that I was traumatized as a young child my mother's repeated telling of how *she was traumatized by playing Monopoly. This was before the Civil War and the pieces were wood and metal, and her sister was (is) very competitive. When things didn't go according to plan, my aunt would throw these pieces at my mother, leaving painful marks. Therefore, my mother would not play boardgames with my sister and I, not even the quaint ones like CandyLand. I do remember Chutes and Ladders, but she also hates snakes, so maybe I made that up.

I grew up HATING competition. My sister and dad would play hours of hearts, but what a mean-spirited game! You gang up on people and dump hundreds of points on them! Ouch! Mean! Unfair!

The point is, Glitch is not only not competitive, it can be cooperative, and you don't even HAVE to play it like a game. It can be mindless niceness. I'm sure this isn't what draws other people to the game, and I can just put on my rose-colored glasses and assume that the other day when I dropped 100 planks, one at a time, that the person following behind me picking them up one at a time and not saying a word, was really actually quite grateful, but the point is, IT DOESN'T MATTER! I was having fun, not competing, being nice, and the game allowed for it! When I do those races quests with other people, and I've already done them, I wait at the finish line! I let people win! And I love that!! The game allows for it- maybe even encourages it! Or, if I win, the Glitch asks me if I want to do it again, and then I let them win the second time. WOOO! Anti-competition.

Of course, not everyone plays like this, which is also fine. But it's my ethic, and it's so Anti-American, and anti-real-life, it's just such a wonderful break, and fits right into my mindset. I can play, and lose too! Or share, at least.


In this little piece, you can see a tiny bit of the creative pieces of Glitch the funny herbs and the places you travel to where "Nostalgia weighs heavily on your shoulders." There are planks to drop, or splank with, and there's races that are OK to lose. Not everyone plays this way, but I do, and it's OK. So, how do I quit a game that let's me lose? That let's me opt out of gaming? The addiction that wins for losing?

So that's me in the upper left corner. If you want to sign up for Glitch (pusher!), I think you're supposed to do it through the homepage, and it requires Facebook. CLARIFICATION: only invites require facebook. I do not and will not have facebook. This game is not played on facebook. In fact, I got an invite without facebook. There are ways :)