Over the past few weeks, we all have bringing up a lot of points about reality and video games, specifically the similarities and differences between them. When I first began My Life as a Night Elf Priest, one of the first things that I noticed was the culture of World of Warcraft and how it is similar to culture of the real world. What fascinates me is that this culture developed by its players and not the developers of the game. Nardi explains how you can join a guild or tag along with a random stranger to participate in a quest. These types of interactions involve very little personal information, much like meeting a new person in reality or joining some organization. You are simply a name and a face. Then, she talks about how you may become closer and more intimate with certain players after meeting them in the game world, sharing personal information such as where you live or what you like to do outside of WoW. This resembles relationships and friendships all over the world. They develop the exact same way in the game, making the video game and reality very similar.
Even more interesting to me is how social ranks and class seemed to have developed in the game, at least according to Nardi. “Players consider some races ugly and some beautiful. …Players were very aware of the looks of their characters, noting that “hair matters” and that players carefully chose among interesting features such as horns or facial tattoos. Gender is also an important cosmetic attribute” (16). The fact that this social structure has developed in a video game community where real life race, gender, and social class are all hidden at least on the surface, shows how a culture can develop in a video game world just like in the real world. All the races started out on the same equal platform when the game was created, and it was the players that collectively decided which races were superior to others, perhaps based on looks and skills. Looks and gender are also important in the game which simply shows how much a video game can grow to model real life issues and concepts. What I think could be potentially interesting is if a game were to become large enough or popular enough for the opposite to happen and in game ideas were to extend to reality and become part of our own world.