Sunday, August 2, 2009


I have long been a computer gaming nerd, but I like to think I don't take it to extremes. I used to sit up through the night playing Age of Empires over a dial-up 56K modem, but that was college. Now I'm more casual. My brother calls me up on random weekends and we kill things on Civilization 4.

Recently, though, has come massive online multiplayer games courtesy of social networking sites like Facebook.

So I maintain my little farm with its chickens, sheep, fruit trees and countless plots of corn or rice (high profit, large cash flow).

I also kill things, rob things, blow things up and buy countless properties that I must maintain and protect from other roving bands of made men.

For awhile I had a castle and village in a place called Evony, but I couldn't seem to dedicate the time and effort necessary to compete on a global scale. I'd check in for a few minutes each day only to discover that neighboring players had spent far more time building and arming their little simulated worlds. Soon, they'd attack and I'd die. I repeated this process three times. Now I just tend my farm back on Facebook.

Then, by chance, I stumbled across Erepublik. I should love this game. The basic premise is that you are a simulated person in a virtual reality version of the actual planet. Each person has a job, trains in the military, takes part in politics and so forth. One can create a business, run for president or write a newspaper keeping track of the myriad intricacies of the game. Also a bit of a perk is that I can literally play for a few minutes each morning and accomplish the basics.

Sadly, Erepublik took gaming too far for me. The realities of the game too closely approximate real life - buying food, going to work, etc. Huge swaths of humanity are at this moment living inside this fantasy world working very hard to become the next president of a fictional United States. I was generally okay with this scenario allowing that others could write newspapers about things that weren't real and I could just accumulate some points and mess about a little. This did not last.

California was invaded and conquered by Indonesia. My US dollars were worthless and I couldn't buy food. I traded some cash on the open market and bought tickets allowing me to move to Peru and then back to the US, this time to Kansas. Within a few days Kansas had been conquered by Russia. I traded the last of my dollars to buy some food so that my simulated me wouldn't expire. Now I'm being asked to send messages to complete strangers to get tickets to move to New Jersey and keep fighting the good fight.

I have decided to die.

This really is too much. I have reached my limit of technological tomfoolery. I have embraced Facebook and the blog, but I will not tweet and I'm done with my cyberspace Kansas existence. I'll spend some time in reality for awhile and catch my breath. Meanwhile, in Erepublik, a man named Atticus will slowly succumb to starvation.

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