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Posts with tag zany

World of Warcraft as evolutionary model

This must be the time of year for zany social theories about videogames. First, we heard that World of Warcraft might quality as being a religion. Then we heard that it might make for better citizens. And now, in an essay over at Gamasutra on the event of Charles Darwin's birthday, Noah Falstein suggests that games like World of Warcraft are actually models for evolution -- as we level up with experience points, our characters get stronger and more evolved, and we feel comfortable with that because that's exactly what we see happening in the world around us.

Technically, of course, you can't model Darwin's theory of evolution with a single character -- evolution isn't about one individual getting better, it's about a process of natural selection in a species over a period of time. To really model evolution, you'd have to play hundreds of alts, and quit them each time you ran into a problem, leaving you with just a few characters that worked really well. Wait -- maybe some of you are already doing that.

But Falstein makes good points in saying that certain elements of what Darwin described as evolution have shown up in game design as well -- the idea of specialization for certain character classes, tribal and national allegiances, and even the idea of memes (which are certainly widespread in WoW -- anyone ever heard of Chuck Norris or Leroy Jenkins?) are all drawn from Darwin's thinking and definitely embodied in the game we play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

WoW Moviewatch: World of Warcraft Addiction

Today's Moviewatch is a little different in that it's not machinima. It's a live action, satirical documentary created by adam3039 titled World of Warcraft Addiction. While we're pretty focused on machinima around here, Adam obviously put a lot of hard work into his creation, and it's defintiely got some laugh out loud moments in it. Besides, we should never miss a chance to have a little chuckle at some of the zanier accusations of WoW Addiction out there.

This is a spoof documentary, including a lot of over-the-top scenarios. The actors obviously work hard to mock/mimic some of the Jerry Springer-esque moments we see in documentaries, but it'd be hard to miss that they're, yanno, making fun of the stuff. The piece is a little longer than it needed to be, but I think the writer(s) spent enough time working on details to make it worthwhile.

The summary at the end, however, is probably the best part. I found a lot of appeal in the idea that our addicted-hero spends his time wandering the earth, living wherever he can find a stable internet connection.

Thanks to Adam for the tip!

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ..

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Moviewatch

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