Innocent Bystander

A little tech, a little current affairs, and my view on whatever has my attention at the moment...

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Don't Stay Out Too Late...

I like computer games, especially ones that you play online. I'm not talking about completing jigsaw puzzles over on (although that's enjoyable too). No I'm talking about something a little more action oriented, like storming a computer generated battlefied with a team of friends like in Battlefield 1942 or massacring those same friends in a holographic combat area like in Star Trek Voyager Elite Force. I even played Star Wars Galaxies for a few months, although I grew tired of the grinding monotny of trying to grow my character.

The ability to play against human opponents who think and act unpredictable as opposed to a weak computer drone has been a huge selling point for multiplayer games for quite a while now. Apparently it can even make the online gaming experience addictive.

Consider for example this story I heard about on the BBC. A Malaysian teenager was reported missing by his family, he was found 48 hours later in a cybercafe. He had been playing games there for the 48 hours he'd been missing! While that's not the big point of the story (which I'll get to in a second) the fact that he had spent the past 48 hours playing games amazes me. Being a gamer myself, I find that I can't sit for more than two maybe three hours before the repitive motions from playing games starts to make me sore and the chair I'm sitting in becomes uncomfortable... So how could he stand to sit and play for 48 hours?!?!

However in response to this story, the town of Subang Jaya outside the Malaysian capitol of Kuala Lumpur has decided to institute curfews on gaming in the towns cyber-cafes starting next year...

Oh but that's not all, if you want to operate a cyber-cafe that allows gaming in Subang Jaya you'll need to get a special license and also set aside a seperate area for gamers different from the area for other internet users. Finally, you'll need to shut down your gaming area after midnight.

Special teams will be deployed to enforce the new rules and cafes that don't follow the rules risk loosing their license. Supporters of the plan believe that it will reduce crime and help to prevent gamers from getting addicted... Gamers resent the intrusion (there's a shocker!).

I can't imagine any town in the US getting away with such an intrusion. Most people who game in the US probably do so at home on a broadband connection, and there's no way such a rule could be enforced on home users. I'm guessing that in Malaysia however there aren't nearly as many homes with broadband connections, otherwise affected gamers could just go home and log on...

The other thing that struck me about the story was down at the end. According to the article there are millions of gamers in some Asian companies, it's a professional sport in South Korea, and in China of all places there was a murder over a game...


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