Eva, Madge and I worked together this past week for our online gaming evaluations and we all found that we had a few common earlier online experiences. We recalled how when chatrooms we first available, the first question you would get asked online was a/s/l?. For those who’ve never encountered this acronym before, it stands for age/sex/location and you usually never presented this information unless you were asked it. Of course no one could really know if I was lying but somehow I always felt that the internet was not as vast as it really was so anyone could really narrow down and find me and I alwas adjusted my age slightly to be older but always said female…I was what, 14? How did I know how 18 year old guys sounded online? Eva,Madge and I spoke about chatrooms for a while and got nostalgic but I couldn’t help but think how dangerous those chatrooms really were. I don’t go into any chats anymore mostly due to this fear that the person on the other end is not who they seem to be. What if that guy that I had a “cybercrush” on from romania really wasn’t a blond jock who liked the simpsons? The possibilites of who he could be are endless and terrifying. I suppose back then I believed everyone online was who they really were…maybe because I was a newbie to the internet, really hadn’t been exposed to much cyber crime coming from a middle/upper class home in new york, or really didn’t understand why anyone would want to be anyone other than themselves online. For the last reason I suppose I felt people really did want to connect with other people and hiding yourself would hinder that process. After creating a character in second life, playing wow and being apart of halo for xbox, I totally understand!
I do have to correct my statement in class the other day. I said second life was more my speed but not that I found it particularly enjoyable. I liked just walking around (and the sweet dance moves I could do) but that’s about it. I found alot of people who had inside jokes from the game and encountered more people I didn’t understand (language barrier and clashing personalities) than I think I ever have in the physical world. I felt out of place and really lost online…it felt like someone could violate me and I was powerless without my fists. I guess in retrospect my switch to halo seemed appropriate. The number one thing I learned from halo is that I do not have thumb/index finger/palm coordination. I had to move my head with one controlly and walk with another which took about an hour of getting used and even after that I was stuck almost always looking and walking at a wall. The game is very violent for those who aren’t familiar and has supernatural elements which I don’t quite get but despite those misunderstandings on my part, I found myself getting into the game more than I ever thought I would. I was frustrated when I couldn’t save someone or even jump from one building to the other. I used to thing me and video games never could really get along but I think I discovered more about myself by playing halo than I ever did hating it.