Bite size, high fructose corn syrupy, trans fatty, flashy, cheap, accessible pleasure.

8:23 PM Posted by Heidi

Now, let me start with a disclaimer. What I'm about to talk about is a heated issue on both sides of the coin and I want it to be known right now that I have seen and been on both sides and so my words are coming not from an objective standpoint, but an experienced one. I'm not a scientist, a sociologist or a psychologist; I'm just an average person who has been deeply affected by the subject.

In the world of today and I'd even say tomorrow and maybe next week, people are being flooded with wave after wave of bite size, high fructose corn syrupy, trans fatty, flashy, cheap, accessible pleasure. It's being researched and developed by scientists who know more than you or I do about what makes us happiest fastest, and how to concentrate and control the release and duration of the pleasure released by their products. Through trial and error they've deduced that instant gratification, as opposed to say, prolonged boredom, is what gets a consumer to keep coming back. Unless you're an accountant in which case you hate fun, but this is why they have Sudoku.

Now. How to deliver fun? How to get people to continue to purchase what you know they want continuously over the course of months, even years? Even further, to actively pursue other means of your brand of pleasure, thereby making you billions of dollars a second? Well let's look at the basic needs of a person. According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, a person's basic needs can be arranged in a hierarchy. Only once the previous ones have been satisfied, will a person begin to seek out the next. Let's examine these to find an audience for our fun, and then we can begin to concoct a fun that shoots straight to the core of the widest possible audience.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
1: Physiological Needs. These include air, water, food, and to not be freezing or burning to death.
2: Safety Needs. Having shelter and not having attempts made on your life very often.
3: Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness. Belongingness? Don't look at me, I didn't make it up.
4: Needs for Esteem. "Humans have a need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others." Being totally pwn in the fase of ppl who roxors.
5: Needs for Self-Actualization. Being, as the Army so cleverly snatched up as the most effective marketing slogan ever to exist, All You Can Be.

Hrm. Let's say our audience is about... between the level of 2 and 3, because we want to get people's money, not help them survive. So our pot of gold is alive, eats, breathes, drinks liquid, and lives in a residential domicile. People living places these days generally have computers, and most people with a computer have internets, and with the internet comes spending money online, and everyone who has spent money online has done so because they're too busy, lazy, or inconvenienced to go out and buy whatever it was outside of their comfy chair.

Eureka. Let's make a virtual reality for people who are busy, lazy, or loners and thereby spend a lot of time on the computer, and who are so under stimulated in life that to them a game world could feel like a brighter, flashier, more vibrant promise filled alternative to physical living, where they can be all they can be and much more. Wow, you know, I know a ton of people that fit that description, even in my own sphere of evil scientists. I'd say most of them could afford the cost of three twelve packs a month to escape their drab realities where they don't have to worry. Not that we care, but what can possibly be the harm in letting people feel empowered and totally pwn and rich and famous and vibrant and sexy, all for a low monthly fee of $14.95?

The only thing short of the pervious paragraph being the fucking Matrix is that it's full of Cyphers; all aware of reality, and not only choose, but pay to take the blue pill and stay immersed.

Slowly but surely the pot of gold begins to compare his or her other activities with the new reality and realize nothing can deliver that shot of happiness straight to the brain anywhere near as effortlessly, and begin to let everything else fade away until they are consumed. Interesting. The Consumer being consumed. The friends that they get to play with them become estranged on their own personal quests for glory, and their other friends go on with life without them. Their spouses; the entity that used to be their heart's reason for beating, has lost the exclusive rights to the club and must now compete for affection with virtual people.

It may even become more literal as they meet a charming adventurer of the opposite sex in the game who really "gets" them; who is just as flashy and shiny and sexy as they are now, who they would give all their epix and gold. Whom without the awkwardness of physical attraction, they come to feel deeply connected to on the inside, "where it counts". They fall in love with xDreamLover69x and get a divorce from their spouse, planning to move to Botswannawan to have the adventure of a lifetime together forever.

It's really not that uncommon. Such is the future of romance and dating.

So, evil scientist, let me tell you what the fucking problem is. No one knows how to retain their humanity when they have been immersed in a world of black and white with no right and wrong, where the goal is to get the shiniest things. This is all new turf in the realm of human entertainment. In essence you're taking ordinary people living in the ordinary world, and handing them the chance to be spoiled rotten, without rules, government, law, religion, or any other moral standards. You're creating another society, run by people who are uneducated on how to do it ethically.

Imagine everyone in the world being boundlessly rich and famous and sexy and immortal and exciting and the only thing to distinguish you from the 8000 other people that look exactly like you is how well you can kill something that is alive. No longer is a person compelled to be nice to anyone else, help anyone else, or even behave toward others as if they were their equal. Instead you get a world of assholes that would push you in the lava if you were closer to the epix than they were.

So someone find a scientist who will go and have an epic science battle with the evil scientists pushing their scientifically enhanced happiness, pull the plug on the big evil machines serving up the games, and free the masses from their doom! (By the way, I like to imagine the evil scientist as being just like a lab coat wearing Waluigi, of Super Mario fame. Waluigi number onnnnnneeee!)

Or, someone find a humanist psychologist or someone else with an education from books, to write a manual about how to live a healthy life for people who are content and have accepted being a participant in this new phenomenon of virtual living.

I'm not going to sit and balance everything I ranted on by representing the bright side of MMOs, because right now people don't need more reason to play. Also because my brain is numb from writing for hours and I just don't care anymore.

Thanks for reading!

P.S There is a very real change happening in not only the American society, but the global one. China has already federally regulated the use of MMOs, but I don't see that doing as much good as it is a disservice to those people. In the words of the philosopher that I just made up, you can either hit a child that does something that's bad for them, or you can tell them why it's bad for them in the first place and let them choose to be healthy.

Maybe what we need is a good spanking.


Post a Comment