I had an epiphany while playing the online game Forbidden Kingdom Online. Perhaps I belong to another kind of gamer school of thought, but it saddens me that in this too-fast-too-furious vacuum and gamer logic universe (die and you’re a piece of shit, live and you are god), I have observed that very few people actually take the time to know and understand the story of the game.
Of course and as expected, most of the population are caught up with leveling and making their characters so badass (no one wants to be called a noob) that really, now that almost everyone is already on their way to reaching the maximum level (the level cap is 60; majority of the players are now in the 45-54 bracket), some have already thought of giving up because 1) it’s getting boring, same thing everyday; 2) it’s difficult to upgrade and reforge gears, effort-wise and financially, because they’re based on random chances; and 3) truth be told, the game sucks with regards to its gazillion tech issues. The competition is just so fierce (as like any other online game) among those who spent a lot of moolah for the game, those who spent not so much financially but much more on the effort of finding and hunting character-developing materials, and those who are doing one hell of a combination of both. The act of relying on luck and chances just to be able to make your character one of the most kickass is just too much to bear sometimes. The game is a whirlwind of frustrations and anxiety- most especially for those who are really eyeing the prize to be on top and those who are striving to remain on top. And yes, it is also an El Dorado for trashtalkers.
There’s an in-game quiz bee activity in which players have to answer questions (all-around queries from game play to story line) with either a yes or no, and it’s called Imperial Academy. The story line neglect is so bad, players have to get a cheat sheet just so they can perfect the test.
It reminds me so much of what we are doing in real life, that, you know, games (and real life is a motherfucking survival game) are not always about winning. This is not to denounce competition; competition is generally healthy, makes us survive as a species, and gives us a sense of achievement. But there are a lot of instances where we are too preoccupied pushing ourselves up ladders (social, corporate, financial, you name it), especially mundane ones, that we forget what we are here for, why we are here.
I’d like to slow down my leveling and take the time to savor the story quests and the game play itself. I don’t want to reach level 60 and feel like it’s over too soon. I do not want to be a game zombie, just looking at the computer screen with my eyes glazed and my fingers pressing the same old keys and using the same routine strategies in battlefields and instances/events. I don’t want to be in the summit when I have been drugged the whole time I climbed. I want to be in the sixtieth level with a knowing smirk that I have conquered the game for what games are really for – to be well-enjoyed, well-experienced, and well-understood WITHOUT NEGLECTING ANY PART OF MY REAL LIFE.
I want to grow old having savored the weaving of my very own personal tale.
(Honestly, this is too much contemplation for someone who is just playing a game and not taking it seriously)
Vivien Marie Lopez